• Jennifer Marks

CHF Eyes New Markets

Flexes Line Extensions

CHF Industries is changing up its market week strategy.

The window division will mount a traditional presentation of new products — with some twists. CHF will show eight new Umbra beds and will expand its children's Green Gorilla organic bedding beyond kids to teens and young adults. It will show an edited trend presentation in fashion bath towels and accessories. The company will preview a design portfolio for its recently signed Peanuts license.

Otherwise, a good portion of the floor has been converted to private meeting rooms where CHF will meet with key accounts to discuss retail-specific programs.

CHF has been broadening its range. Last month, it exhibited its Alex Home licensed bed and bath program at Toy Fair, tapping a new channel of independent toy retailers. The company has built a new sales organization to address the single-store piece of the market. It showed last November at the New York Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show at the Javits Center with One Park Avenue, a line designed for the hospitality market.

The broader strategy is about adding to its brand portfolio and extending its channel reach for the long term.

Still, said chairman and ceo Frank Foley, "The overriding strategy maintains an emphasis on driving, developing and managing private label brands for key accounts. We are not de-emphasizing that at all."

Green Gorilla, which debuted last fall, will ship in April. The Blah, Blah, Blah collection — developed in conjunction with Joe Boxer impresario Nicholas Graham and also debuted at the September 2008 market — will ship in June.

The new Umbra beds are designed to appeal to a modern consumer with slightly more techno tastes. The point, said evp Joan Karron, is to entice consumers with product that is "worth their investment and has staying power." Pointing to the sameness that has become endemic in the face of the recession she noted, "We can't bore them into buying, and I think that's what happened this spring. That plays right into our hands. We love product, we love design, we love breaking the rules."

The new Peanuts license covers bed and bath, and will be iterated for young adults (Peanuts had a run at Urban Outfitters in apparel) as well as for adults and in more traditional children's motifs.

"Peanuts is a perfect, classic license for updated, modern nostalgia," said Karron. "It's a humorous, comforting and cozy brand suitable for this age."

Foley said, "Peanuts has so much art and so much product history across so many years, there's is something for every channel." CHF is prepared to begin shipping in August, he added.

In window, CHF will no longer present its eponymous, mass market brand separately from the specialty/department store Peri brand, said Janet Barragan, vp of design for window. Design direction will prevail, with tailoring important across price points.

CHF window also will display an energy-saving story, pulling together foam backed curtains, blackouts and inner lining products. "They all do different things at different percentages, and they're going to have different price structures," she said.

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