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Supplier Giants

Bath Accessories

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Allure Home Creation Boonton, N.J. $80 $83 -4% The company suffered from the impacts of the economy in the second half of the year; offset some declines in fashion side of business with growth in basics business.
2. Creative Bath Products Central Islip, N.Y. 52 55 -5 Offset some declines in sales from shrinking customer base by increasing export business with new customers outside the United States.
3. Croscill Home New York 34 55 -34 The exit of LNT and Mervyns "severely" hurt the company's category volume; working to regain business by refocusing on branded and private label bath programs.
4. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 27 39 -31 Market share in U.S. continues to dwindle in this category, as corporation streamlines offshore manufacturing and updates distribution systems.
5. Ex-Cell Home Fashions New York 13 20 -35 Sales fell steeply with the downtrend of full bath coordinate programs and in the wake of the exit by several major chains from the retail landscape.
Wrap-Up: With shoppers turning increasingly to basic looks and products, the bath accessory category lost some relevance in the slumped economy when consumers had less to spend on redecorating. All of the top five players here descended – some far more significantly than others. Longtime fashion houses Croscill and Ex-Cell struggled to compete in the category, while Allure and Creative Bath diversified their assortments to more successfully stunt their declines.


Bath Rugs

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Mohawk Home Sugar Valley, Ga. $196 $196 0% Made market share gains, offset by weakness in the bath category and lower retail inventories. Core programs made modest gains at existing channels.
2. MaplesRugs Scottsboro, Ala. 120 120 0 Increased placements at discount department stores and mid-price chains, but lost business with closings of LNT, Mervyns and Value City; additionally, all existing customers suffered slow sales.
3. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 61 88 -31 Market share in U.S. continues to dwindle in this category, as corporation streamlines offshore manufacturing and updates distribution systems.
4. Shaw Living Dalton, Ga. 57 57 0 Customer base shifted toward discount department stores and home center side of the business; prices also sharpened to fit trends in the economy.
5. Faze Three USA Columbus, Ind. 16 NA NA Parent company's acquisition of European bath rug maker Pana Textile helped USA unit obtain new business; added distribution center for faster deliveries.
Wrap-Up: Growth came to a standstill in the bath rug category, as four of the five top players posted flat sales for the year. But that was the good news considering the challenging economic climate over the year that created losses, including for suppliers in the related bath accessories and shower curtain categories. Bacova Guild dropped off this list and made room for Faze Three USA, which expanded its assortments in synthetics and cotton varieties.


Bath Towels

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Welspun USA New York $253 $235 8% Market contraction, the race at retail to embrace opening price points and a focus on new Welspun businesses in bedding and bath rugs left sales flat for the year.
2. 1888 Mills Griffin, Ga. 182 172 6 Strong position with Walmart proved an asset as consumers shifted to discount in the face of recession. Acquired assets of U.S. towel manufacturer Blair Manufacturing.
3. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 152 219 -31 A challenged economy was compounded by substantial changes in some retail programs. Bath category tonnage was down about 22%; unit prices eroded roughly 11%.
4. WestPoint Home New York 131 184 -39 WPH has given up the Costco towel program it had essentially owned for years. However, it gives WestPoint plenty of additional capacity for new business.
5. J.R. United Miami 92 97 -5 Suffered sales down with some existing customers, but offset with some growth in new solid color programs in the mid-tier and warehouse club channels.
Wrap-Up: Collectively, the top five category leaders actually lost market share — hanging on to $810 million in sales, down 10.6% from $901 million in 2007 as retail doors evaporated and customers shifted toward promotional and opening prices. Welspun USA, which debuted on the ranking two years ago, has ascended to the top spot. 1888 Mills — the only towel manufacturer still running some domestic looms — climbed to second place after several years at No. 4. On both counts, much is attributable to business lost by Springs and WestPoint.


Blankets

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Sunbeam Boca Raton, Fla. $121 $109 11% Bucking the trend in the second half of the year, Sunbeam's sales were boosted by a colder start to the season in fall 2008 vs. the previous year
2. Berkshire Blanket Ware, Mass. 80 87 -8 Fourth quarter macro-economics ultimately caught up with Berkshire. Tom Bowles, ceo, said it could have been worse, but fabric and style innovations kept it viable..
3. WestPoint Home New York 56 76 -36 Trying to counter the retail-direct model by working on value-add products, such as the application of its Stay Bright technology to the category.
4. Charles D. Owen div. of Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 50 66 -24 Under pressure on replenishment programs as large retail accounts take such business direct.
5. Pendleton Woolen Mills Portland, Ore. 23 21 8 Buoyed by new national accounts, cold weather. Jacquard products continue to grow; fashion trend toward decorative blankets for top of bed contributed.
Wrap-Up: Cold weather at both ends of the year was a boon – as was the trend of using of blankets as top-of-the-bed fashion. These two factors helped suppliers avoid a more negative year than might have otherwise occurred considering that in a largely replenishment category retailers have been under-ordering replacement goods.


Comforters

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C $193 $259 -26% Drop fueled by a roughly 13% decline in tonnage and unit price erosion along with lost doors. Springs Global U.S. is becoming more focused on rebuilding its brands and private label business.
2. Croscill New York 78 95 -18 The bankruptcy and liquidation of major account Linens 'n Things further squeezed the options for a business that restricts distribution to department stores and specialty chains.
3. Royale Linens/Yunus Kearney, N.J. 65 30 116 The demise of Dan River hurt and helped. Although the home mill in Pakistan was stuck with unpaid-for merchandise, Royale/Yunus picked up some Dan River business.
4. WestPoint Home New York 57 77 -38 The migration of ensemble business at major retailers to direct programs and continued downward pricing pressure sent sales down by double digits for the third year in a row.
Wrap-Up: The comforter category was roiled by disruptions over the year. The implosion of major ensemble supplier Dan River left an estimated $20 million in goods stuck in ports or in the pipeline. Liquidations at Linens 'n Things and Mervyns flushed more fire-sale priced goods into the system. As choking amounts of inventory were still being digested, American Pacific Enterprises' bank abruptly pulled the plug on its operations in December, forcing more merchandise into an already overflowing stream — after retailers had already begun aggressively pushing back or cancelling regular orders.


Curtains/Draperies

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. S. Lichtenberg New York $153 153 0% Dollar volume was maintained as units grew; consumers reacted well to the better styling and fabrics available at lower retail prices.
2. CHF Industries New York 146 156 -6.5 Sales fell off as consumers cut spending. The company expects lower dollar volume next year as a major customer is taking a long-standing program off-shore.
3. Ellery Homestyles New York 65 48 35 Broad expansion of the Eclipse energy-saving, noise-reducing, blackout curtains across many retail channels.
4. Croscill Home New York 60 70 -15 Reduction of retail accounts, including major exposure at Linens 'n Things, cost dearly; somewhat offset by expanding lines of window hardware and accessories.
5. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 39 49 -20 Key customers such as Wal-Mart sustain window treatment category, as overall Springs business continues strategic reductions.
Wrap-Up: S. Lichtenberg moved into the top spot as Ellery Homestyles stormed into the Top 5 with its hit line of Eclipse products — which it continues to augment and extend with new adaptations. Other vendors worked hard to overcome shrinking retail landscape — Croscill in particular was hurt by the demise of LNT.


Decorative Pillows

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Brentwood Originals Carson, Calif. $128 $148 -13% Sales declined largely due to the exit of LNT and Mervyns from the business.
2. Spencer N. Enterprises El Monte, Calif. 56 NA NA Gained added placement with new and existing customers; had success with several new casual product assortments.
3. Arlee Home Fashions New York 50 45 11 Picked up additional business with mass merchant retailers and some other customers.
4. Westgate/HFI New York 24 NA NA Expanded placements, especially in the large decorative pillow and pet bed categories, with discount and mid-tier department stores, off-pricers and a specialty chain.
5. Newport/Layton Home Portland, Ore. 21 20 5 Carrying the company's growth were its higher-end outdoor cushions and pillows.
Wrap-Up: Once aptly described as "lipstick for the sofa," the dec pillow category lived up to its reputation as a recession-proof category for its affordable redecorating solution attributes. Spencer's expanded casual looks helped it steal the No. 2 spot from Arlee, while Westgate became the fourth largest player, taking Newport down to No. 5. Longtime list-maker Fashion Industries/American Mills dropped off the rankings.


Down (& Down Alt.) Comforters

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Downlite Mason, Ohio $93 $91 2% Hospitality sector growth and exclusive agreement with PrimaLoft Luxury Down Alternative helped, as overall down maintained strength with key retailers.
2. Pacific Coast Feather Seattle 81 99 -18 A difficult year in which raw material prices shot up on synthetic fills and the company lost a major retail account due to Linens 'n Things' bankruptcy.
3. Blue Ridge Home Fashions Irwindale, Calif. 75 62 21 Expansion of Royal Velvet line, new accounts, private label programs with large retailers, and increased international sales helped the top and bottom lines.
4. Phoenix Down Totowa, N.J. 60 72 -17 Troubled Fortunoff and Boscov's hurt bottom line. John Fracatelis, ceo, said business picked up in December; continuing a "major program" is keeping company optimistic.
5. Hollander Home Fashions Boca Raton, Fla. 40 53 -25 Down alternatives did well as new product innovations came on line, offsetting slower sales in better goods. Credits new technologies for building placements.
Wrap-Up: Category leaders in flux, reflecting retail troubles. Downlite and Blue Ridge move up the chart at the expense of Pacific Coast Feather and Phoenix, respectively. Continued shift to direct imports by retailers on down comforters combined with consumer pivot away from higher-end products resulted in a significant contraction for the segment. Suppliers countered with new product development and more pointed marketing efforts on both the down and alternative fill sides. Some evidence for increasing brand clout in category.


Foam Pillows/Toppers

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Sleep Innovations West Long Branch, N.J. $283 $275 2.9% The company drove sales through expanded distribution and the addition of new technologies. Filed for bankruptcy in the fall, but plans to emerge during the first quarter of 2009.
2. Carpenter Richmond, Va. 225 210 7 In an unpredictable year, increased market share and added new customers. "Better Sleep" marketing campaign drives higher consumer awareness, demand.
3. Hudson Industries Richmond, Va. 46 40 16 Increasing non-traditional client distribution while decreasing brick-and-mortar clientele translated to growth. Emphasis on innovative therapeutics helped boost sales.
4. Sleep Studio New York 25 20 25 New technologies continued to build momentum and gain placement among national retailers. Online and catalog business is also growing.
5. Louisville Bedding Louisville, Ky. 24 27 -11 The econmy notwithstanding, Louisville's bed pillow business has shown growth. The company continues to push new/alternative channels of distribution.
Wrap-Up: As consumers reached for comfort in 2008, aggressive manufacturers of foam bedding products were able to capitalize. Product innovation and sharp marketing of the sleep and health benefits laid the foundation for a progress in 2009. Soaring petroleum prices throughout much of the year put a hurt on profits.


Kitchen Textiles

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Franco Manufacturing Metuchen, N.J. $72 $72 0% Maintained business with key retailers.
2. Town and Country Living New York 73 70 4 Experienced increases from roll-out of key private label programs, while gaining new business via its new Disney licensed products.
3. The John Ritzenthaler Co. West Conshohocken, Pa. 64 64 0 Sales suffered from economic downtrend but were offset by the company's acquisition of kitchen textiles and cleaning product designer and distributor TesArden LLC.
4. Elrene Home Fashions New York 25 24 4 Maintained core programs with regional and mass merchants; gained some new placement for seasonal offerings.
4. 1888 Mills Griffin, Ga. 25 NA NA The multi-national bath towel manufacturer completed a new integrated kitchen production facility at its Pakistan plan during the year.
Wrap-Up: 1888 Mills arrives as a newcomer for the Top 5 kitchen rankings thanks to increased production at the home mill in Pakistan. Business for many posed challenges over the year, but leaders managed to hold their own. Ritz equalized its losses with gains from the acquisition of Tes-Arden LLC. Town & Country got a boost from new Disney offerings. Elrene landed new business for seasonal goods.


Mattress Pads

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Louisville Bedding Louisville, Ky. $90 $93 -3% Focusing on delivering value to keep up the top line.
2. Perfect Fit Charlotte, N.C. 44 48 -8 Added new technologies to enhance business in a declining sales environment.
3. Pacific Coast Feather Seattle 41 46 -11 Loss of major account Linens 'n Things hurt sales in an already difficult consumer market.
4. Hollander Home Fashions Boca Raton, Fla. 31 38 -18 Continued shift by retailers to direct imports on opening price point programs resulted in the loss of some lower-end products. Premium mattress toppers showed strong sell-through.
5. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. 26 34 -25 A favorable product mix offset some declines. Still, sales results reflect about a 15% drop on tonnage coupled with an approximately 11% decrease in unit pricing.
Wrap-Up: The category began the year with some promise as suppliers focused on sleep solutions and environmentally friendly offerings. As the economic landscape darkened, there was hope consumers would freshen their beds with higher-quality pads as an alternative to a pricey mattress purchase. While enhanced goods did gain some traction, it wasn't enough to compensate for a broadly declining market.


Rugs

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Mohawk Home Sugar Valley, Ga. $406 $373 9% Tapped new opportunities as competitors consolidated; gained added placements at home centers and discount department stores.
2. Shaw Living Dalton, Ga. 231 231 0 Customer base shifted, leaning more on discount department stores and home center side of the business; prices also sharpened to fit trends in the economy.
3. Oriental Weavers/Sphinx Dalton, Ga. 186 179 4 Expansion of the company's woven and patterned broadloom category opened new opportunities for rugs, as did the new "rug pad" product.
4. Maples Rugs Scottsboro, Ala.. 150 150 0 Increased placements with discount department stores and mid-price chains, but lost business with closings of LNT, Mervyns and Value City.
5. Nourison Rug Saddle Brook, N.J. 145 155 -6 Focused on high-end and mid-tier department stores, impacted by slower sales; also emphasized house and designer brands like Liz Claiborne and Calvin Klein.
Wrap-Up: The trend to discounters smiled on Mohawk Home and Oriental Weavers USA. Shaw came in flat as sales shifted to discounters and home centers while furniture and flooring outlets diminished.
The exits of LNT, Mervyns and Value City impacted Maples, which maintained business at its other retail customers with its 100% domestically-made goods. Nourison's high-end and designer brands buoyed business to limit its losses.


Sheets & Pillowcases

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C. $328 $440 -26% Sales was fueled by a roughly 13% decline in tonnage and unit price erosion along with lost doors from retail closings and major retailers' drive to more direct sourcing.
2. Divatex New York 165 178 -7 Lost account with LNT demise, but stayed off LNT's top 30 creditors list. Captured new business, but not enough to offset retailer push-back on replenishment programs.
3. Welspun USA New York 128 114 12 Ramping up in tandem with the launch of the mill's bedding facilities in Mexico and India, sheet sheets now account for 32% of the U.S. business.
4. WestPoint Home New York. 101 136 -36 Although sales are off, sheets will continue to be a critical core business that must ultimately be profitable under the Ichan mandate.
5. Royale Linens / Yunus Kearny, N.J. 60 70 -14 Tried to expand beyond promotional business, but as the economy soured found emphasizing opening price points opportunities. Shifted focus to more top-of-bed business.
Wrap-Up: Sheet suppliers headed into the spring '08 selling season loaded with value-added, performance and eco-friendly products in a big to enhance margin and inject excitement into a solid color replenishment business. The recession intervened and by the second half of the year, retailers were ordering replenishment at less than 100% volume.


Shower Curtains

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Ex-Cell Home Fashions New York $80 $90 -11% Suffered sales declines with the exit of LNT, Mervyns and Value City.
2. Maytex Mills Yonkers, N.Y. 77 72 7 Gained market share across all levels of retail with free-standing fashion and basic products at mid-level price points.
3. Allure Home Creation Boonton, N.J. 72 78 -8 Felt losses during the second half of the year; offset these declines with growth in fabric and PEVA products.
4. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C.. 28 40 -30 Market share in U.S. continues to dwindle in this category, as corporation streamlines offshore manufacturing and updates distribution systems.
5. Creative Bath Products Central Islip, N.Y. 30 34 -12 Sales sagged as economic downturn swept through most accounts.
Wrap-Up: The fashion side of the business waned in a basics-focused economy; the shrinking retail base hurt the sales of Ex-Cell and Creative Bath. Allure offset losses with gains in its fabric and PEVA assortment of eco-friendly shower curtains. The only gain in the group was by Maytex, which anted its presence at retail with mid-priced assortments.


Sleep Pillows

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Hollander Home Fashions Boca Raton, Fla. $184 $202 -9% While sales dollars decreased 9%, unit sales fell only 2%, reflecting a marked shift during the second half toward opening price point goods.
2. Pacific Coast Feather Seattle 130 142 -8 Despite the brand power of Sealy, Eddie Bauer and Cannon, sales of better product fell. Death of Linens 'n Things – a significant customer – further dampened sales
3. Louisville Bedding Louisville, Ky. 59 55 7 A bright spot for the company, this category rose to the occasion in a difficult year when retailers in all channels increasingly chased opening price point product.
4. Springs Global Fort Mill, S.C 62 79 -22 One of the few products still made in the U.S., obviating the currency exchange issues that have bedeviled other categories for the Brazilian-owned company.
5. Perfect Fit Industries Charlotte, N.C. 40 45 -11 Despite innovative introductions including nanotechnology and a proprietary fill, the year favored the basic and utilitarian goods.
Wrap-Up: New competition looms domestically. Downlite acquired a domestic U.S. pillow factory and racked up sales of $33 million in 2008, with an emphasis on synthetics and opening price point business. American Textile Company, while not ranked here, also ramped up pillow production significantly during the year. Retail pressures could drive a shakeout in 2009.


Table Linens

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Town and Country New York $174 $169 3% Increases came in private label programs; landed new customers for its Disney branded products; extended Badgley Mischka and Royal Velvet brands into table linens.
2. Elrene Home Fashions New York 72 72 0 Maintained existing core business with key retailers.
3. Bardwil Linens New York 61 60 2 Driving the business was the company's Lenox branded assortments and solid color microfiber table linens.
4. W-C Designs Anaheim, Calif. 15 NA NA Maintained business with high-end department stores and some specialty merchants.
5. Ex-Cell Home Fashions New York 10 18 -44 Sales losses came as mid-tier and department store customers reduced shelf space allotted to the category and as the retail landscape contracted.
Wrap-Up: Ex-Cell Home Fashions was hurt by the disappearance of some of its major table linens retailers, but several accounts fared better, even with only slim increases or flat sales. High-end and popular brands carried Town & Country through the year, as did they for Bardwil and W-C Designs. Elrene held the line with its core retail customers, spanning mass through home textiles specialty chains.


Throws

'08 Sales $mil '07 Sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. The Northwest Company Boca Raton, Fla. $93 $100 -7 Jettisoned approximately $9 million in unprofitable, non-licensed sales in 2008. While core sales increased, the slowdown in sell-through since mid-October weakened Q4.
2. Manual Woodworkers Hendersonville, N.C. 52 60 -13 Manual's diversified base of gift and specialty retailers eventually fell prey to the consumer spending slump.
3. Berkshire Blanket Sugar Valley, Ga. 22 24 -8 According to the company, innovations in microfiber technology helped offset problems, including the demise of Linens & Things.
4. Ellery Homestyles New York 21 NA NA Finding opportunities in a contracting market, Ellery makes its first showing in the throw ranking.
5. Biederlack of America Cumberland, Md. 20 36 -44 Reduced manufacturing capacity in alignment with restructuring. Eliminated unprofitable pieces of business, and realigned how it addresses each channel of distribution.
Wrap-Up: During the year, Mohawk Home shed this category (along with bedspreads and dec pillows) and Biederlack was seriously hobbled when Wal-Mart took a long-standing program off-shore. The former opened up the market-share race; the latter could provide a dark portent of things to come for category suppliers. Business will continue exist at the luxury end, but the especially heavy activity lies in the $10 and under price point area. The question for 2009 is what will happen to the middle as a recessionary economy sends retailers and consumers racing for bottom-of-the-barrel price points.


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