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Supplier Giants

Bath Accessories

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Allure Home Creation Boonton, N.J. $83 $83 0% Expanded private label programs to help maintain business.
2. Creative Bath Products Central Islip, N.Y. 55 55 0 Focused on less mature product areas, like housewares, storage and organization goods, to grow its business.
3. Croscill Home New York 45 45 0 Gained momentum in shower curtains and bath towels at the expense of bath accessories; maintained business with existing customers and core programs.
4. Springs Globa Fort Mill, S.C. 37 52 -29 Lost share as company in strategic repositioning, major shift to off-shore production.
5. Ex-Cell Home Fashions New York 20 18 11 Expanded free-standing accessory offerings and added full-bath coordinate programs, yielding new penetration at existing and new accounts.
Wrap-Up: Heavily reliant on resin, acrylic, plastic and other oil-based materials, the category saw stunted growth. Retailers avoided price increases, forcing suppliers to take the hit. Ex-Cell found its niche in free-standing goods. Croscill gained in related areas — shower curtains and bath towels — and Creative Bath expanded hardlines.


Bath Rugs

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Mohawk Home Sugar Valley, Ga. $196 $194 1% Maintained core programs and saw modest market share gains at existing channels; experienced steady business for its growing imported offerings.
2. Maples Industries Scottsboro, Ala. 120 120 0 Maintained core programs with existing retail customers; further growth stunted at hands of slowed retail for overall bath industry.
3. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 83 111 -25 Lost share as company in strategic repositioning, major shift to off-shore production.
4. Shaw Living Dalton, Ga. 57 57 0 Challenged by declining housing market, rising oil prices and devaluation of the dollar.
5. Bacova Guild Ltd. Cartersville, Ga. 25 25 0 Maintained programs with existing retailers.
Wrap-Up: The bath rug category saw innovation in synthetic fibers, as suppliers diversified product offerings with new technologies in construction and content. These new offerings helped garner added shelf space at retail — but have yet to translate into much higher sales for most. The business remained flat, but there is opportunity for growth next year as shoppers become better acquainted with these new fiber assortments.


Bath Towels

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. WestPoint Home New York $241 $335 -28% Transition continues under Icahn Associates, struggling in particular with branded vs. private label placements. Acquired towel production in Pakistan for retail-direct business.
2. Welspun US New York 235 NA NA Gaining ground, with Christy acquisition (2006) boosting upper-end business. The Nautica program helped ground solid business in the specialty segment.
3. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 207 247 -16 A difficult year for sales as equipment was relocated from the United States to South America, with portions of production still winding down in late 2006.
4. 1888 Mills Griffin, Ga. 172 160 8 Expanded capacity after Nakshabandi Mills in Pakistan became part of 1888 Group, and continues to produce out of its domestic facility in Griffin.
5. J.R. United Miami 97 87 12 Casa Cristina-brandedbath towel collection sold well at retail; and the company's own line as well as some upscale private label offerings also expanded share.
Wrap-Up: On the one hand, margins continued to feel enormous pressure. The wholesale relocation of its looms to South America by Springs freed up business for others, as did WestPoint's wind-down of domestic production as it shifted to its own offshore facility and other resources.


Blankets

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Sunbeam Boca Raton, Fla. $109 $109 0% Dollar volume sustained by incremental growth in unit volume; maintained business at most accounts.
2. Berkshire Blanket Ware, Mass. 87 85 2 Working on unusual blends and ease-of-care fabrics kept Berkshire on track in a relatively flat year, with blankets doing better than its throws category.
3. WestPoint Home New York 80 100 -20 Shift to offshore production and sourcing hurt dollar volume, as did retailer direct-source initiatives for commodity products.
4. Charles D. Owen div. of Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 63 81 -22 Lost share as company in strategic repositioning, major shift to offshore production.
5. Pendleton Woolen Mills Portland, Ore. 21 21 2 Slower than expected growth, but found highest increases in luxury fabrics and exotic blends.
Wrap-Up: A warm fall put a bit of damper on the marketplace, while many makers turned to high-end fabrics and blends to upscale the business in the effort to offset restrictive retail margins at discounters and big-box stores.


Comforters

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C $245 $323 -24% Springs packed up much of its manufacturing and relocated it to South America during the year, impacting business — as did pressure from retail-direct programs at its major customers.
2. WestPoint Home New York 110 240 -54 In first year under new ceo, company focused on its transition offshore and dropped unprofitable business. Sheeting plant acquired in Bahrain has begun some top-of-bed production.
3. Croscill Home New York 95 110 -14 The debut of Croscill's luxury branded collection, White Label, was a highlight; private label business for key accounts is balanced with building up branded business.
4. Dan River Danville, Va. 68 110 -38 Focus on integrating systems in the wake of its 2006 acquisition by GHCL of India. New exec team promises bevy of innovative introductions and new licenses in 2008.
Wrap-Up: As retailers looked to raise price points, multi-piece set business exploded, putting pressure on top-line sales for the comforters that filled them. Multi-pieces have some well-known drawbacks – weight and higher return rates chief among them. However, with the economy slowing and retailers fretting about consumer spending, manufacturers don't see a retreat from the room-in-a-box mentality.


Curtains/Draperies

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. CHF Industries New York $156 $152 3% Significant new programs shipped in fourth quarter, growing demand for interlined draperies, heavyweight goods and rich fabrics; price deflation seems to be easing.
2. S. Lichtenberg New York 153 140 9 Consumers are reacting to the better styling and fabrics available at lower retail prices.
3. Croscill Home New York 70 75 -7 Energy efficiency a growing area of interest keyed to lined and interlined goods; better fabrics are gaining as mid-tier and better retailers seek to trade customers up.
4. Miller Curtains San Antonio, Texas 67 65 3 Incremental gains from current accounts and new licensed line, in spite of price pressures and general economic slowdown.
5. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 54 75 -28 Lost share as company in strategic repositioning, major shift to off-shore production.
Wrap-Up: No leading supplier predicts a banner year in 2008, but several made gains in 2007 based on customer demand for energy-conserving heavyweight and lined curtains and draperies, as well as still-strong fashion trends such as chocolate brown in color and suede looks in texture.


Decorative Pillows

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Brentwood Originals Carson, Calif. $148 $131 13% Gained new real estate on store shelves; added several new styles to which retailers were receptive.
2. Arlee Home Fashions New York 45 50 -10 Took losses as many retailers reduced space allocated for the category; expanded focus and reach for related categories, like soft window and throws.
3. Newport/Layton Home Portland, Ore. 20 23 -12 Suffered as unit sales remained constant from the prior year but the average selling price per pillow dropped by about 10%.
4. Fashion Industries Griffin, Ga. 20 23 -13 Experienced a temporary void in orders from one major customer while that retailer reset its decorative pillow department.
5. Mohawk Home Sugar Valley, Ga. 20 26 -23 Exited the category in August to focus on floor covering offerings of area and accent rugs, bath rugs and mats.
Wrap-Up: The year precipitated sales losses — mainly from price wars — for most, but the leader, Brentwood, found growth. Mohawk Home called quits to its pillow fight in August, leaving elbow room for the many new suppliers clamoring for placement. Reduced direct imports by retailers opened opportunities.


Down (& Down Alt.) Comforters

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Pacific Coast Feather Seattle $99 $97 2% Synthetic fills passed 60% of the mix, but retailers at every level taking fresh look at natural down products. New product, Embrace, provided a comfort-and-function sell.
2. Downlite Mason, Ohio 91 82 12 Hospitality sector, exclusive PrimaLoft Luxury Down Alternative programs, and RestAssured natural down and feather cleaning process were business-drivers.
3. Phoenix Down Totowa, N.J. 72 71 1 Expanded placement within existing accounts — some volume changing from down to down alternative goods — and opened new markets, including hospitality.
4. Blue Ridge Home Fashions Irwindale, Calif. 62 58 7 New products including the upscale Hotel Grand down line and placement of the Royal Velvet line in a major specialty chain helped drive sales.
5. Hollander Home Fashions Boca Raton, Fla. 55 53 4 Units up 8%; market shift to down alternatives continues, with opportunity in better quality goods; Asthma Friendly line starting to grow, will maintain in 2008.
Wrap-Up: Synthetics still gaining, but the downturn in down seems to have bottomed out. The market will be tested as goose down prices continue to rise — even as many retailers seek better goods. Technological, health-oriented and fashion innovations will be tapped to expand margin dollars.


Foam Pillows/Toppers

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Sleep Innovations West Long Branch, N.J. $268 $280 -4% After years of strong growth, the industry giant stubbed its toe, hit by rising materials prices and a dispute with supplier Foamex. Upside: acquired Leggett & Platt's foam business.
2. Carpenter Richmond, Va. 201 155* 39 Another consecutive year of strong growth, driven by innovation and new technologies. After experimenting with the foam mattress category, Carpenter exited the business.
3. Hudson Industries Richmond, Va. 40 33 21 Picked up new business from majors, had an unusual surge in 4Q therapeutic pillows and pads. Expanding capacity and ramping up infrastructure to handle new business.
4. Louisville Bedding Louisville, Ky. 27 25 8 Foam business took off as part of overall increase in bed pillows, reversing what had been a lackluster foam performance in 2006.
5. Sleep Studio New York 20 NA NA Founded in 2006 by foam vets, the start-up in its second year picked up programs from some of the majors as it focused on new technology. Will launch foam mattresses in 2008.
Wrap-Up: As if the post-Katrina petroleum price increases of 2006 weren't bad enough, steadily rising costs weighed heavier on margins. Overall growth in the segment has slowed after several high-flying years of expansion, but the category is also one that offers opportunities in channels beyond the big boxes.


Kitchen Textiles

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Franco Manufacturing Metuchen, N.J. $72 $71 1% Maintained core programs with existing retail customers.
2. Town and Country Living New York 70 65 8 Increased retail placement for solid colored and printed programs.
3. The John Ritzenthaler Co. West Conshohocken, Pa. 64 63 2 Maintained core business with existing retail customers.
4. Elrene Home Fashions New York 24 20 20 Made gains with new business at several major retail stores, particularly discounters, as competition decreased.
5. Style Lab (Avonhome )Braintree, Mass. 9 13 -31 Upon being acquired by Style Lab/Atico mid-year, the company refocused its efforts in new product areas, like bedding and dinnerware.
Wrap-Up: For those who wanted to, there was money to be made in kitchen textiles last year, aided by several factors: retailers' willingness to direct-import less than in the past, especially seasonal goods; a call for more innovation and interesting product offerings that employ new materials and often higher price points; and new shelf space dedicated to the category at the store level.


Mattress Pads

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Louisville Bedding Louisville, Ky. $93 $90 3% Innovative FireDefender product helped boost sales in the company's largest division, even as volume in traditional quilted mattress pads was somewhat flat.
2. Perfect Fit Charlotte, N.C. 48 48 0 Innovations like the Ionx product line that encourages "regenerative sleep" helped offset a tough climate in both the mass and mid-tier channels.
3. Pacific Coast Feather Seattle 46 44 4 Incremental placements expected to grow in 2008; latest programs show room for feature-rich higher price point product lines supported by robust marketing.
4. Hollander Home Fashions Boca Raton, Fla. 40 40 0 Drove units up 5% to maintain dollar volume; shifted production to company plant in China; premium quality toppers showed strongest sell-throughs at key mid-tier retailers.
5. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 27 38 -29 Lost share as company in strategic repositioning, major shift to off-shore production.
Wrap-Up: New business was clearly to be had in 2008 for companies investing in technological, fashion or luxury product features. Comfort, health, safety and brand power are key factors to countervail the general price-point erosion of recent years as manufacturing continues to shift offshore.


Rugs

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Mohawk Home Sugar Valley, Ga. $373 $336 11% Improved placement and business conditions at home centers; and improved market share gains at discount and department stores.
2. Shaw Living Dalton, Ga. 231 231 0 Challenged by declining housing market, rising oil prices and devaluation of the dollar.
3. Oriental Weavers/Sphinx Dalton, Ga. 179 207 -14 Challenged by declining housing market, rising oil prices and devaluation of the dollar.
4. Nourison Rug Saddle Brook, N.J. 155 NA* NA* Focused on servicing department store and other higher end and mid-tier customers with own house brands and designer lines Liz Claiborne and Calvin Klein.
5. Maples Rugs Scottsboro, Ala. 150 150 0 Maintained all placements at core customer base, including discount and mid-level department stores; overall sales remained steady.
Wrap-Up: As housing slowed, impact was felt in the area and accent rug business. Mohawk made strides by focusing entirely on floor coverings and away from secondary home textiles categories — throws, blankets and decorative pillows. Oriental Weavers/Sphinx took big step back due to economic pressures. Newcomer to this list — Nourison -— took the place of Springs Global, which exited the category in 2006 when it sold its Spring Decorative Floor unit to C.S. Brooks.


Sheets & Pillowcases

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. $415 $546 -24% The twin punches of retail-direct and the relocation of production to South America (which reduced overall capacity) took a bite out of Springs' share.
2. WestPoint Home New York 240 325 -26 Hard-hit by retail-direct programs and big-retailer disinterest in brands other than their own captive labels, WestPoint closed down most U.S. production.
3. Divatex New York 178 169 6 Acquired by Himatsingka, an Indian maker of high-end fabrics that later acquired DWI Holdings. Will add Himatsingka's new bedding plant for top-tier goods.
4. Welspun New York. 114 NA Deepened share of U.S. sheet market with focus on performance products and by more retail-direct business. Will use top-of-bed to expandt in bedding.
5. Royale Linens Kearny, N.J. 103 NA In first year under Yunus Group, broadened offerings, firmed up retail-direct and headed into the fashion bedding business.
Wrap-Up: The volume sheeting business has been utterly transformed in recent years into a retail-direct, commodity model. Manufacturers seek ways out of the thread-count trap by emphasizing performance fibers and new-tech finishes. Organic and eco-friendly products are touted, while at retail the business remains one of thread-count oriented, solid color sheet sets.


Shower Curtains

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Ex-Cell Home Fashions New York $90 $85 6% Captured more market share for both the basic and fashion sides of the business.
2. Allure Home Creation Boonton, N.J. 78 75 4 Expanded eco-friendly, trend-right assortment with an emphasis on PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate)-made goods.
3. Maytex Mills Yonkers, N.Y. 72 62 17 Obtained more market share, gained new product placements and experienced strong sell-throughs.
4. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 38 45 -16 Lost share as company in strategic repositioning, major shift to off-shore production.
5. Creative Bath Products Central Islip, N.Y. 34 34 0 Focused on less mature product areas, like housewares, storage and organization goods, to position its business for growth.
Wrap-Up: Some of the leading bath product suppliers sought refuge in the shower curtain category in 2007 as other coordinate segments, namely bath accessories, took the back seat as placement slimmed down at retail. Free-standing goods, unattached but color-friendly to open lines of bath accessories and towels, were drivers of the business as the call for less "matchy-matchy" styles dictated bath fashion.


Sleep Pillows

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Hollander Home Fashions Boca Raton, Fla. $204 $200 2% Units up 6% with opening price points key, especially in the second half; solution-driven products such as Asthma-Friendly line, NextLife eco-line vital to 2008.
2. Pacific Coast Feather Seattle 142 136 4 Brand power of Sealy, Eddie Bauer and Cannon part of the growth story, as new marketing, p.o.s. displays and packaging help boost sell-throughs.
3. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 74 98 -23 Lost share as company in strategic repositioning, major shift to off-shore production.
4. Louisville Bedding Louisville, Ky. 55 50 10 Down alternative fills helped drive gains in bed pillows, making it a fast-growth segment for the company.
5. Perfect Fit Industries Charlotte, N.C. 45 40 25 Major new private label programs, plus the branded Jockey line, helped produce a surge in bed pillows, with synthetic fills leading the way. Displaced WestPoint in the Top 5.
Wrap-Up: To spur growth, there was no substitute for innovative product design, dedicated marketing and improved in-store presentation. The marketplace was shaken up by the freefall of the Springs Global position and the 11% dip in sleep pillow business at WestPoint Home, which opened the way for Perfect Fit Industries to enter the Top 5.


Table Linens

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Town and Country New York $169 $163 4% Continued to grow core and seasonal offerings.
2. Elrene Home Fashions New York 72 65 11 Made gains with new business at several retailers, particularly larger chains, as competition decreased.
3. Bardwil Ind. New York 60 59 2 Upscale brands Lenox and Liz Claiborne continued to be bright spots; while new private label programs also buoyed sales.
4. Style Lab (Avonhome) New York 22 55 -60 Upon being acquired by Style Lab/Atico mid-year, the company refocused its efforts in new product areas, like bedding and dinnerware.
5. Ex-Cell Home Fashions New York 18 23 -22 Suffered losses as mid-tier and department store retailers reduced store shelf space devoted to this category.
Wrap-Up: It was either a lose-big or win-big year for the top five table linens category players. Avonhome – now Style Lab – set its sights elsewhere; Ex-Cell lost less dramatically, as some customers trimmed shelf space. But Elrene reported double-digit increases by landing new placements, Town & Country gained incremental business, and Bardwil drew strength from both branded and private label programs.


Throws

'07 Sales $mil '06 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. The Northwest Company Boca Raton, Fla. $100 $93 8% "Elated to hit that milestone," said ceo Ross Auerback of attaining $100 million in volume. Sales buoyed by activity in juvenile and sports licensed product lines.
2. Manual Woodworkers Hendersonville, N.C. 60 60 0 Continues to deliver in the gift and specialty area with throws that fit almost every category of interest.
3. Mohawk Home Sugar Valley, Ga. 43 57 -25 Exited the category in August to focus on floor covering offerings of area and accent rugs, bath rugs and mats.
4. Biederlack of America Cumberland, Md. 36 38 -6 In the midst of repositioning, the company dropped some discounter programs and some of its sports licensing, redirecting to more upper-end business.
5. Berkshire Blanket Ware, Mass. 24 25 -4 After reaching the Top 5 in 2006 with extremely fast growth, 2007 volume for Berkshire plateaued in a difficult retail climate.
Wrap-Up: The category saw a market shift as Northwest revved up its sports license line — the same categories that Biederlack exited. The latter also said goodbye to one discount program, while it picked up a higher-end department store line. With Mohawk now out of the picture, '08 will surely see more shake ups.


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