Sure Fit: We'll do $300 million by 2005

Marvin Lazaro, November 19, 2001

Allentown, PA — Citing growth expectations of 20 percent to 30 percent a year, Sure Fit Inc.'s ceo and president, Bert Shlensky, is predicting the company will triple last year's sales numbers by 2005.

According to Shlensky, the privately owned Sure Fit, based here, posted $100 million in sales for 2000. This year's numbers are expected to be in excess of $125 million, a 25 percent growth rate, while the numbers for 2002, Shlensky said, are forecast to be $165 million, a 65 percent improvement from 2000 and a 32 percent rate over 2000. For a company that concentrates most of its effort on slipcovers, despite its dominance of the market, the growth is significant.

Sure Fit is known for its offering of slipcovers for sofas, love seats, dining room chairs, wingback chairs and recliners in a variety of fabrics ranging from cotton duckcloth to suede-like polyester. It also recently entered the decorative pillow arena. Shlensky said Sure Fit's continued growth stems from the company's philosophy of "Let's just keep doing it right."

Although the predictions of higher sales volume might imply higher price points for Sure Fit slipcovers, Shlensky said the focus of the company will continue to be on offering products to retailers and consumers that are fashion forward and have more value added to them.

"We do an awfully good job of offering better products at a slightly cheaper price point," Shlensky said. For proof, he noted that Sure Fit's average price for a sofa slipcover has been the same for the past four years. "Our direction is not an expensive one. Any time we go above $200 we seem to lose the customer."

In order to build consumer awareness of its wide range of slipcovers, Sure Fit's budget includes $13 million in aggressive advertising. The money will go toward television spots and ads in shelter magazines, as well as to support its mail-order catalog and website. The goal, Shlensky said, is to sell almost a million and a half slipcovers per year. The company has also taken a different tack when it comes to its corporate image, re-stating its business focus to "decorating solutions" from "home accessories."

Stemming from a request from a major customer, more diverse packaging, which highlights three lifestyle trends, is available. Classic, Luxury and Casual are the focuses of the new packaging, which is designed to help consumers differentiate between the wide range of product available.

"Our main challenge is to create awareness," Shlensky said, "so we've spent lots of time re-positioning our presentation.

"We've definitely gone through an evolution from a company that had mainly a mass merchant market focus to a true decorating company."

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