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Arlee 'throws' new line into product mix

Arlee Home Fashions is combining one of its top businesses, decorative pillows — which generated $63 million in sales in 2001 — with a new line of throws this April market.

Arlee had been supplying chenille throws to a few customers as a small private label program with a minimum of two plaid and six solid-color chenille throws.

But now, the company — whose other offerings include table linens, kitchen textiles, window coverings and soft decorative accessories — has decided to make throws one of its major product lines.

"We were in it for a while, but this year we decided to put a lot more effort into it," Bud Frankel, president and ceo, told Home Textile Today.

Arlee is launching a total of 38 skus of throws in a variety of chenille constructions.

Here's the breakdown:

  • Regular chenilles in nine colorways;

  • Jacquard chenilles with tassels at each corner in eight colors;

  • Tweed chenilles in five colors;

  • Very fine cotton chenilles in six colors;

  • And plaid chenilles in 10 colorways.

Each throw coordinates with a decorative pillow made of the same construction and featuring the same colorway and style. But no special packaging efforts will be put in place, as each throw and decorative pillow will be sold separately.

Frankel intends to grab a chunk of the throw business, which in 2001 generated a total of $290 million for the top five suppliers, who in general terms make up 75 percent to 80 percent of total U.S. sales of the total category, according to HTT's Jan. 7 Top 5 vendor report.

"The throws will add millions to sales of our company," Frankel said.

Targeting all levels of retail, he said the throws' price points include $7.99, $9.99, $14.99 and $19.99, depending on construction and size. Available dimensions start at 40" x 70" and run through 50" x 70".

Most of the line is imported from China, "which has the finest yarn available," Frankel said. Only the cotton chenille offerings come from India.

"Our company has been growing at a very rapid rate, so it was time for us to develop the throw business," he said. "We have an excellent supplier, and really it was the next step for us to go in this direction."

Arlee already gave some customers previews of the line.

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