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Retailers unfazed by bedding bill

Andrea Lillo -- Home Textiles Today, July 30, 2001

Bill 603 may be on its way to becoming law in California, but retailers aren't losing any sleep over it.

Though its passing would result in a re-evaluation of how bedding products are made, as well as lengthen their journey to California stores, retailers familiar with the bill feel that much can happen between now and 2004, when the bill would go into effect. But, if the law sticks, most retailers say that it will just be business as usual.

"We're very comfortable dealing with rules and regulations on a local, state, as well as federal level since we have a presence in all 50 states," said Jan Drummond, spokeswoman, Sears, which has 83 full-line department stores in California. "This kind of situation is not unique."

Sears relies on its manufacturers to provide it with law-abiding product in the markets they will be sold in, she said, and manufacturers still have a few years to become compliant with this new law. "We're very comfortable that it will be fine, and that we'll ask them to provide whatever documentation we decide to require that confirms the compliance of the product with the statute."

Federated Department Stores, with Bloomingdale's and Macy's West locations in California, also supports the bill. "We don't oppose it; it makes good sense, the technology is there and it can be done," said Carol Sanger, vp, corporate communications. "No one wants to sleep in a non-flame-retardant bed."

With 27 full-line stores and 17 outlet stores in California, Strouds is very familiar with Bill 603. Rob Valone, president, pointed out, however, that though this bill affects only bedding product in California, it affects retailers nationwide. "This is an industrywide thing, not just a California thing, since a majority of retailers are doing business in California; if it's not in brick and mortar, then certainly it's via catalogs or the Internet, and all of those products would be affected as well."

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