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Team boosts Arlee club business

New York - Longtime supplier to mass market accounts, Arlee Home Fashions is amping up in the warehouse club channel with the help of a husband and wife team that together bring more than a decade of experience in the segment.

The multi-category home textiles company a year ago brought on board Carlos Lamourg and Marsha Cutler - married 10 years and coworkers for 15 - and assigned them to the newly created posts of sales manager of clubs and international, and head of product development for clubs and international, respectively.

Their efforts are coming to fruition with rollouts that started earlier this year and progressing into later this summer, this fall and into 2013. New programs are on track at several warehouse club chains here and abroad, including in Mexico and parts of Europe, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.

"They [Carlos and Marsha] are truly inseparable," said Sean Frankel, Arlee's evp, national sales manager. "They possess an understanding as related to warehouse clubs' shoppers and buyers that we really hadn't seen. It was really important for us to find folks who clearly understand the segment, and we are so pleased to have them with us now. They have made us a smarter manufacturer as a result."

Lamourg explained that "often there are assumptions made about the warehouse club customer - that they are looking for a larger version of something or a slightly different make than offered at the mass retailers. But that is not really addressing the interest level of most club shoppers today."

Arlee is "the right fit," Cutler noted, because the company - which this year turns 37 years old - "offers us a vast array of product. Their library of categories and constructions is huge."

For the next rollout, Arlee has several new products hitting warehouse clubs. Included are two-packs of decorative pillows, available in solid and chenille styles; novelty body pillows; and novelty backrest pillows. Retail pricing averages $16 to $18 on pillow packs.

More product categories to be added in future seasons will include floor cushions, soft window treatments and table linens.

Warehouse clubs are not an entirely new channel for Arlee, which has been working with stores in the segment for the past three years on a regional level for plush pet products. But Sean Frankel explained Arlee's pet division "operates very differently from our other categories," creating the need for a more focused effort and team to pursue the business for the company's other products.

 

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