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Cecile Corral

Shifting channels nudge rug sales

Rugs of all sizes and price points found their niche on stores' sales floors in 2002, as numbers from HTT's annual The Facts study proved.

The industry — which includes accent, scatter and area rugs — experienced fervent growth during this one-year period of 12.5 percent to $6.3 billion — a rate that might seem surprising to some considering the sluggish state of the economy in 2002.

Several factors were attributed to this growth spurt, including a stronger concentration on imported goods, improved marketing efforts of smaller-size rugs and stronger placements at home improvement chains.

The study found slight shifts occurred in retail for market share, at times resulting in a sea change in real dollar volume.

Home centers felt the most substantial growth on both counts — market share rose by 2 percent, leading to a 58 percent leap in sales to $441 million.

Home specialty chains also gained. A 1 percent pick-up in market share yielded a 27 percent jump in volume, growing to $567 million from 2001's $446 million.

Those gains came largely at the expense of other channels, particularly two that historically have held the largest shares of this product category's market: department stores, which dropped 3 points to a 14 percent share; and discount department stores, which lost a point, dipping to a still-dominant 28 percent share.

Despite these losses, only department stores experienced a decline in actual sales volume, dropping 7 percent to $882 million for the segment. Discount store sales still increased 9 percent last year, to nearly $1.8 billion.

Distribution Channels Share 2002 % Sales 2002 $
sales in $millions 2001 2001
* Other includes interior designers, military exchanges and warehouse clubs.
1. Discount department stores 28% $1,764
29 1,618
2. Department stores 14 882
17 949
3. Mid-price chains 12 756
112 670
4. Home textiles specialty stores 9 567
8 446
5. Off-price chains 8 504
8 446
6. Home improvement centers 7 441
5 279
7. Variety/closeout 5 315
5 279
8. Furniture stores 5 315
5 279
9. Direct-to-consumer 4 252
3 167
10. Carpet/floor covering stores 3 189
3 167
11. Gift/home accent stores 2 126
2 112
12. Other* 2 126
2 112
13. Single unit specialty stores 1 63
1 56


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