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Mohawk inks link with Laura

Mohawk Home last week signed on as Laura Ashley's new licensee for area, scatter and bath rugs and door mats with the product launch slated for spring/summer 2004.

Beaulieu had been the designer brand's licensee since 1998 for these same product categories as well as broadloom. But upon Beaulieu Rugs' sale to Springs Industries last year, Laura Ashley "let the licensing agreement expire" to accommodate a new supplier partner, Ivy Tan, senior vp, Fort Mill, SC-based Laura Ashley, said. Beaulieu of America, Beaulieu Rug's former parent, remains Laura Ashley's broadloom licensee.

Tan said through its new alliance with Mohawk Home, the designer brand hopes to gain rug placement for the first time in department stores and to deepen its business in home improvement stores. Currently, Laura Ashley's rugs and doormats have been sold only at one specialty store and one home improvement chain, she explained.

"Mohawk Home is the top distributor and the most suitable to do these products for us," Tan said. "You want to look for a partner who knows the product category well, has great distribution and is reliable, and Mohawk Home is all of these things."

With the ink on the deal still wet, details about the new line are still under development, said Merle Johnson, vp, marketing, Mohawk Home.

But Tan said there will be some synergy in design among Laura Ashley's other licensees, including Revman International for bedding and bath products and Town and Country Living for table linens, kitchen textiles, decorative pillows and throws.

"A designer name long established as an icon of our business, the Laura Ashley brand brings a unique point of view to home products with the ability to complement multiple lifestyle and design motifs," Johnson said. "We look forward to a long relationship with the Laura Ashley designers. Their archives are rich with patterns that will translate beautifully into rugs."

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