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Cecile Corral

Shaw moves toward mass market

Further deepening its floor coverings with the launch of its first line of floor mats, as well as expanded bath rug collections, Shaw Living continues to expand its offerings that service mass merchant and home center retailers.

"If you look at the last five years, there have been somewhere between 3,500 to 4,000 locations added within those retail channels," said Jeff Meadows, division vice president. "We've really stepped up our mass merchant and home center offerings in every product category over the last 12 to 18 months, because that's where we see the business is moving. Mass merchants are where the rugs are."

Through its recent acquisitions of Georgia Tufters and The Dixie Group, paired with improvements internally to its manufacturing capabilities, the company has become completely vertical in all of its rug categories — bath, scatter, printed accent, wovens and indoor/outdoor mats.

While Shaw Living's current core retail customers for its rugs are independent flooring dealers, the company is hoping that ratio will eventually shift in favor of mass merchant and home center customers.

"Today, 70 percent of our customers are our core, and 30 percent are the mass merchants and home centers," Meadows explained. "But we think, in the next two to three years, it will be just the reverse. Our core will remain strong, but our mass merchant and home center customer base will expand dramatically."

To help it attain that goal, the company is enhancing its offerings of domestically made products with some imported goods from India and China. Right now, imported goods comprise 25 percent of its scatter rug business.

The company is "looking at different partnership possibilities overseas, but we're not at the point yet where we'd like to buy a factory," said Meadows.

He added that Shaw Living is on track with "the commitment we made two years ago to become a single-source vendor to our customers, and we think our future holds many new product categories."

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