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Bedding is not kids play for City Furniture

SUNRISE, FL -Kids bedding seems to be outpacing the adult segment at City Furniture here, an 11-unit Florida chain that had 1999 sales of $136.8 million.

"In our kids area, we're doing a good job, but over the next year we'll do even better," said Keith Koenig, executive vp.

One of the things that helps City, he explained, "is that we listen to the kids. They say 'I want this bed; and they're not talking about the furniture but the textiles."

Key suppliers in the kids area, he said, are Custom Designs, Kimlor and Southern Textiles.

In adult bedding, "We sell sets of linens from $700 to $800, and typically customers buy the whole thing as we show it." And what City Furniture's shows decorative bedding, not sheets at a price with top of the bed.

In an effort to enhance and expand its presence in the better segments of home textiles bedding, "we went to the home textiles shows to see how to display the products better. Now we're including shams and decorative pillows on every bed-as many as 15," Koenig related.

"We were also looking for something a little out of the ordinary, and [so] we moved into better goods like Croscill and Veratex six months ago."

Suppliers like Kimlor and Custom Designs, which are part of the mix, "didn't work all that well with those ornate bedroom sets. The new bedding is selling well and making the case goods look phenomenal."

One of the dynamics of what is happening in the furniture business is that through imports better ornately carved poster beds from China have come down in price where the mid-price customer can afford them. And the bedding has to relate in price, Koenig explained.

As for changes on the floor for both furniture, accessories and textiles, Koenig observed, "we're very collection-driven, and we can tell a winner pretty quickly-within 60 days. We don't change for the sake of change."

As a result, the rest of the merchandise mix also is long lived.

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