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Monday, May 14, 2012


What’s Up Next? Trend Forecasters Open Their Notebooks


BY JENNIFER MARKS NEW YORK – The winter/spring shows here and abroad offered no shortage of eye candy, with bright colors and rich textures emerging among several key trends. More will undoubtedly be on hand when the International Contemporary Furniture Fair kicks off here May 19 at the Javits Center. Several trend forecasters who will be part of the seminar series at the Surtex show, which runs in tandem

A floor covering seen at Hannover Domotex is made from yarns woven out of old papers.

with IFCC, shared their observations with HTT. Jennifer Castoldi, chief cre-

ative director of Trendease International, is seeing natural materials being mixed with synthetics as well as the use of existing materials such as plastic bottles and old papers to create yarns. “Paper is being used a lot in textiles and twisted into yarns for upholstery. The look is different depending upon the weaves and the colors,” she said. “I saw a Dutch designer who was creating pillows of paper yarns.” Angela Ringo, senior ediSEE DESIGN PAGE 2


| Vol. 33, No. 12 | $8.00

Demand Greeting Attendees at HD Hospitality Show BY WAYNE MARKS LAS VEGAS — Heading into the International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show in New York six months ago, many home textiles suppliers were optimistic about a backlog of demand in the supply line. Based on conversations with those preparing for the Hospitality Design Expo and Conference taking place here May 15-17, it seems they were right. President and ceo of Welspun, Barry Leonard, reported, “There’s a more positive feel in the business. Purchases seem to have picked up from pent-up demand.” SEE VEGAS PAGE 22

Alen Sands York Home Textiles Today’s series on Living -& Working – Legends continues this week with another interview with an industry veteran who has spent his life in the business and continues to manage the company he is involved with. Each interviewee is asked the same eight questions, reflecting both their experiences and their thoughts on the future…their own and the industry’s. BY WARREN SHOULBERG


ook up the phrase renaissance man in any dictionary having to do with this industry and chances are the first reference you’ll find is to one Alen Sands York. Literally born into the home textiles business — his mother Rose York is considered one of the true pioneers of the business and perhaps the first to create coordinated bedding ensembles – York has ALEN SANDS spent his fair share of time in the world of sheets and towels, but that hasn’t YORK stopped him from having parallel careers in advertising, public relations, shipStellar Alliance ping and marine activities, automobiles, alcoholic spirits, medical technology and other assorted endeavors. Not to mention his long-time proprietorship of the vintage Chinese junk Mon Lei. These days you’ll find him at Stellar Alliance, the importer and marketing company he founded and continues to help run as a partner. It was in Stellar’s midtown Manhattan offices that we sat down with York, who turns 80 this year, for our interview.

1888 Mills will launch a new sustainable terry program featuring the Coca-Cola brand at the HD Expo

Inside This Issue Magic Apparel Show to add Home Textiles .......................................... page 2 Back to the Future? .................................................................................. page 4 S’hrooming................................................................................................ page 4 Database: Utility Bedding........................................................................ page 9 Off-pricers Ross, TJX Lead April Comps ................................................. page 20




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Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012




Magic Apparel Show to add Home Textiles cessories and footwear resources. The Sourcing at Magic Home component is being developed in tandem with the China Foreign Trade Guanzghou Exhibition General Corp (CFTE), one of China’s chief exhibition organizations. In addition, the textiles show will feature exhibitors from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, SE Asia, China and the Americas, Sprouse told HTT. The show will take place Aug. 20-23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. “There really is no separation between [trends in] colors and

patterns,” said Sprouse. “We’re seeing more cross-shopping than ever before.” The show draws 80,000 attendees from 80 countries, with roughly 15% coming from outside the U.S. “In a lot of the larger retail organizations, there’s a confluence between home and fashion – especially with [in-house] sourcing organizations,” she noted. In addition, some 10,000 specialty boutiques shop the show and have expressed interest in expanding their product mix, Sprouse added. Sourcing at Magic Home will

intrigued by what she calls “rethought basics,” everyday items redesigned so that they become DESIGN FROM PAGE 1 must-haves. tor for interiors at Stylesight, “The strongest examples are give the nod to “the creation for the kitchen, from wonderfully of extreme dimension colored classic oven and through quilting and serving ware (as seen in stitching techniques The Conran Shop’s or intense fabric ma“Well Considered “ colnipulation. This focus lection) to the award on dimensionality has winning Joseph Joseph, emerged for upholblack + blum, Kinto, stered seating as a way Stelton Design House ANGELA RINGO to redefine the form of & others who have reStylesight the chair as well as prethought familiar items senting comfort in an (chopping boards, citextremely tactile way.” rus squeezers) to be at once be Trend Pulse’s Jo-an Jenkins, more useful and more exciting in publisher and chief creative, is design,” she said. “So wonderful

are these new products that they make someone like me - who has every kitchen item I need – I want to throw everything away and start again.” Dutch design forecaster Milou Ket is finding “more individuality and uniqueness, texture and imperfections, appreciation of craftsmanship.” Also important are “ecology and sustainability and interest in the process of how products are made.” Castoldi also noted a big interest in process, adding: “For the consumer the whole idea of being eco-friend is taking to take hold. It’s not so much manufacturers pushing it anymore. The consumer is staring to pull.” Nearly every the trend spoke of the impact of the economy on consumers’ attitudes toward their lifestyles and living spaces. Trend Pulse’s Jenkins said the reaction varies by demographic. “Except at the top end of the luxury home market, JENNIFER people are not CASTOLDI moving. In- Trendease Int’l. stead they are improving where they are,” she said. “There is a continued retreat to the comfort zone of nostalgia & domesticity with an increasing number of creative and sophisticated home products focused on traditional household skills such as baking and needlework.” However, at the luxury level, she sees “a high level of interest in innovative contemporary

L AS VEGAS — The addition of a dedicated home textiles area to the Sourcing at Magic show, which was announced last week, grew out of demand from the apparel show’s attendees, show organizers told HTT. “We did a survey after the February 2012 event and more than 50% said they’d be interested in seeing textiles and gifts offered,” said said Karalynn Sprouse, vp of Sourcing at Magic, which runs in tandem with the Magci apparel and footwear show. Sourcing at Magic showcases more than 800 apparel, ac-

feature fabrics, curtains, bed linens, towels, table linens, dec pillows and giftware. Deying Li, general manager of CFTE who has worked for China’s Canton Fair for more than 20 years, said: “Canton Fair is China’s biggest trade fair, and Magic is the largest, most wellknown fashion tradeshow in the U.S. So for us, and we believe for attendees, Sourcing at Magic Home is the perfect marriage.” For more information, visit or contact Ana Uribe at (310) 8577653 or auribe@magiconline. com. HTT

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Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012


OPINIONTodaY S’hrooming

Back to the Future?


T’S BEEN A W HILE since we’ve seen a company in the retail space like the one that Bed Bath and Beyond is evolving into — a multi-nameplate retailer that operates in a diverse array of product sectors. You have to go back to the late 1980s and early 1990s to find something similar, and even then the examples are … limited. Until it began spinning off properties in the early ’90s, Melville Corp. operated drugstore chains (what remains of the company is now CVS), apparel chains (among them, Marshalls, which it sold to TJX), footwear stores (including Thom McAn), toy stores, furniture stores and a little something EDITOR-IN-CHIEF called Linens ’n Things. On a smaller scale, Kmart Corp. owned The Sports Authority, Builders Square and Waldenbooks until the mid1990s. It seems more likely that Bed Bath will operate Cost Plus as a separate chain than absorb it. Heck, there are nearly 1,000 Bed Bath & Beyond stores in operation already. The roughly $964 million in annual sales generated by Cost Plus last year is just about one-tenth of the $9.5 million Bed Bath & Beyond’s nameplates collectively produced in the most recent fiscal year. But compared to its other acquisitions — the Harmon discount drugstore chain, buy buy Baby and The Christmas Tree Shop — this is a major pick-up. The other properties were small and highly regional when BBB purchased them. Cost Plus operates 258 stores in 30 states. But this move adds nearly $1 billion in revenues to the kitty in one fell swoop. It also drops another $36 million or so onto Bed Bath’s profit line ($989.5 million last year). I think, most importantly, it gives Bed Bath some exposure in a category that’s become a traffic-driving linchpin in other retail channels: consumables. Now, I doubt the retailer wants to sell Kraft cheese slices or Frosted MiniWheats. But Cost Plus does 29% of its business in “better” branded but valuepriced spices, sauces, coffee, pasta and, in some markets, wine. Just as the Harmon acquisition opened the door to an edited health and beauty assortment in Bed Bath stores, I suspect we’ll see a more sophisticated offering of consumables than now dot the chain. It’s going to be fun to watch. HTT

Jennifer Marks

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’OU’ V E GOT TO LOV E the English language. A few months ago if you said the word “showrooming” to somebody in the industry they would look at you like you had a speech impediment. Now the word is all over the retailspeak world to describe Warren the process of shoppers up a real store Shoulberg hitting to scope out a product PUBLISHER/ and then buying said EDITORIAL DIRECTOR product elsewhere online. Ta r g e t h a s t a k e n the lead on this issue and has said it won’t be anybody’s showrooming sap, in fact dropping the Kindle reader from Amazon after deciding that shoppers were going to end up buying the thing at Amazon, so what the hell. And so, retail stupidity has now been taken to a higher plane. I get the whole thing that stores don’t want to be taken advantage of by bargainbesieged shoppers who will go to the end of the internet to find the cheapest price. It’s why stores are increasingly turning to private label, captured label and no-label merchandise in a bid to have something nobody else has. What I don’t get is when a retailer drops a product that consumers have been buying at their stores simply because some other store also carries the same product. They will willingly walk away from a sale that they were

probably making a decent margin on just to punish the supplier who sold it to the guy across the street. We’ve seen this behavior countless times in the apparel business. Back in the 1980s when Halston began selling its brand in J.C. Penney, department stores couldn’t run away from the label fast enough, despite the fact that it was a good seller for them. We’ve seen it in the jeans business, too, when Wrangler or Lee or Levi followed their customer down market and moved their brands into the discount channel. It’s the reason The Gap, which had once been almost exclusively a Levi’s house, branched out into private label. The department stores reacted the same way. And they all abandoned ongoing, successful — and profitable — businesses in the process. We’ve seen it in our own little home textiles world. When Fieldcrest opened up Royal Velvet to Bed Bath & Beyond and Linens’n Things way back when, Dillard’s largely dumped the brand, which was probably its single best selling program in bath. So now it’s happening again. Stores are going to drop products and programs because they are available online. And replace them with merchandise that probably isn’t viewed the same way in the consumer’s eyes. About a million retail years ago, the original Marshall Field — the person himself — said, “Give the lady what she wants.” These days, retailers who are dropping popular products for illogical reasons are adapting a much different philosophy: “Give the lady what we want.” HTT

5/10/2012 5:39:29 PM

Retail Briefs

Macy’s Coy on Martha in Reporting Strong Q1 sales BY CECILE B. CORRAL CINCINNATI — Home was among

the strongest performers at Macy’s Inc. during a quarter that beat Wall Street expectations, with the Macy’s stores’ Hotel and Charter Club brands singled out as the strongest private labels in the department. As for the future of the Martha Stewart Collection in home — or what will take its place should Macy’s drop the line as JCPenney launches Stewart shop-in-shops next year — cfo Karen Hoguet said: “There’s nothing I can say there,” during the company’s call with analysts last week. She was responding to an analyst’s question regarding Macy’s thinking “about anything with your vendor structure considering the given uncertainty” of the Martha Stewart brand’s partnership with the retailer. Hoguet also indicated Macy’s has gained from JCPenney’s nonpromotional price streamlining,

part of its strategic repositioning launched in February. When asked by another analyst how much comp lift Macy’s pulled from JCP during the first quarter, Hoguet replied: “In markets where we are competing against Penney’s, we have seen an uptick in business. It’s hard to quantify how much. But clearly we are getting a benefit from is what is happening there.” Omnichannel retailing is a big push for the company, and Macy’s currently has 80 stores equipped to fulfill orders from other stores to meet online demand. By this year’s holiday season, Macy’s will have over 290 store fulfillment locations, she said. “We think the sales potential for omnichannel approach is enormous, and in addition could enable us to improve productivity of inventory as well as store square footage,” Hoguet said. “We have barely scratched the surface here and we are very optimistic about the possibilities.”

Macy’s first-quarter sales totaled $6.143 billion, an increase of 4.3%, compared with $5.889 billion in the same period last year. Same-store were up similarly — by 4.4%. And earnings for the quarter were 43 cents per diluted share, an increase of 43% compared with 30 cents per diluted share a year ago. Quarterly operating income was up 6.4% to $391 million versus $330 million last year. Online sales — and combined — were up 33.7% for the 13 weeks, and positively affected the company’s same-store sales by 1.5 percentage points in the first quarter. For the quarter ended April 28, net income rose 38% to $181 million, or 43 cents per share. Sales for the total company increase 4.3% to $6.1 billion. Comps were up 4.4%. Hoguet said the sales strength in quarter was “very broad-based in terms of merchandise category.” HTT

Kohl’s Home Department Soft in a Tough Quarter M E N O M O N E E FA L L S , W I S . —

While home is not among its categories highest in productivity by square footage, Kohl’s still considers the home business “an opportunity” going forward. In the first quarter, the category reported a low single-digit decline that was somewhat offset by strength in bath and towels, tabletop and electric goods. To help buoy home’s growth, the 1,134-unit mid-tier department store is expanding the presence of the business in its new prototype in three stores — Atlanta, Houston, and Salt Lake City — this year, with plans to roll it out further. In the quarter, the three categories that out-performed the company average were men’s, accessories and children’s — the latter of which is currently being restructured and shrunken in square footage on the selling floor. “We are taking a little space away from children because it

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has the lowest productivity,” explained Wesley McDonald, senior evp, cfo, during Kohl’s earnings conference call last week. Kohl’s Corp. took a net income hit in the first quarter, ended April 28, with a 23% decrease to $154 million, 63 cents per share. Sales rose 1.9% to $4.2 billion, with comps up slightly, by 0.2%. Ecommerce swelled 34% to $250 million in sales. Private and exclusive brands comprised 53% of quarterly sales. Kevin Mansell, chairman, president and ceo, cited Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony as among such brands having generated “a higher penetration” in the period as well as “more mature brands” like Simply Vera Vera Wang. Transactions in the quarter were down 1.4% per store. Mansell explained the results reflect “the implementation of our strategy to initiate lower pricing in order to provide great-

er value to our customers. This planned action led to significantly lower gross margins for the quarter. Strong management of expenses allowed us to achieve our earnings goal for the quarter. We have accelerated new receipts into the second quarter to ensure we are well-positioned from an inventory perspective for the backto-school season. The combination of these two actions should allow us to greatly improve our sales for the fall season.” He added that the company “understands the changes we need to make to our merchandise” and pricing, layering in more opening price point items and value-added offerings with heftier inventory. In the quarter, Mansell said, “Our opening price point [offering] didn’t perform, and it was a function of us not supporting it with enough inventory” because of higher costs. “Now that costs are coming down, we’re buying into this at the right time.” HTT


Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012


Bed, Bath & Beyond to Acquire Cost Plus


ed Bath & Beyond announced last week that it will acquire Cost Plus, the 259-unit home furnishings and lifestyle chain based in Oakland, Calif., for approximately $495 million. The transaction is expected to close during the second fiscal quarter.

Bon-Ton Seeks New Chief Merchant


fter 20 years at The Bon-Ton Stores, Tony Buccina has decided to retire from his post as vice chairman, president-merchandising, as of Feb. 15, 2013. The 272-unit regional department chain said it has begun a search for a new chief merchandising officer. In related news, Bon-Ton has appointed Luis Fernandez to the newly created position of evp and chief marketing officer heading sales promotion, marketing, and e-commerce.

Kmart Expanding Sofia Vergara into Home


mart has launched a home collection by “Modern Family” actress Sofia Vergara, whose exclusive apparel line debuted at Kmart last fall. Sofia by Sofia Vergara Home bedding collection includes three-piece bed sets, 400-thread count sheets and dec pillows. The bath collection comprises fashion towels, rugs, shower curtains, soap dishes, toothbrush holders, lotion pumps and waste baskets.

Sears Launches Localized Specials in 12 States, Two Metro Areas


ocal deals are now available in 12 states as well as the San Francisco and Pittsburgh markets through, which provides shoppers with hundreds of local deals beyond the weekly Sears print circular or and shows in real time how many items are in stock at a particular Sears store. The company announced the launch of the service last week in Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Z Gallerie Partners with International Checkout to Sell Overseas


Gallerie has partnered with International Checkout to handle the retailer’s overseas operations including shipping, customer service and returns, the companies said. International online consumers can now shop at, add items to their online shopping carts, and click the International Checkout button to make purchases. On the check-out page, customers receive an all-inclusive price quote in their local currency, including the option to prepay duties and taxes at a guaranteed rate, and complete their purchase. International Checkout prepares the products for export and ships them to customers almost anywhere, according to the release.

5/10/2012 2:27:06 PM


Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012




Sharyn Blond Linens Finds Niche in Handmade Madeira Linens BY CECILE B. CORRAL F A I R W AY , K A N . — There is an unlikely yet steadfast link between this small, Middle American suburb of Kansas City and the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira. And it’s thanks to veteran home textiles designer and purveyor Sharyn Blond. H e r e i n h e r c o z y, 8 0 0 square-foot eponymous store — Sharyn Blond Linens — she has long created, presented and sold high-end, hand-embroidered Belgian linens made at a partner embroidery house in

the island’s capital, Funchal. Blond has worked with the same Portuguese facility for the past 15 years, and she travels there about three times per year to work closely with its artisans, including embroideresses and expert needlewomen, on developing her own branded line as well as custom orders for her clients back home. Originally, the business was started by the late home textiles embroidery legend Constance Leiter, who est ablished the store and started working overseas with a different Portuguese embroidery house.

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new rules.

Textiles account for roughly 80% of the mix at Sharyn Blond Linens, with small-scale decorative home furnishings filling in the assortment. At right, guest towels featuring Blond’s designs.

Known internationally for her designs for embroidered linens, Leiter’s work remains alive today and part of Blond’s portfolio. In fact, Blond kept Leiter’s name on the storefront for the first five years, but changed it to her own name a decade ago to reflect the new business ownership and direction. “Today, we continue to carry a lot of the same lines Constance had, but since then we’ve added new lines and new categories of linens,” said Courtney Gray, manager. A designer in her own right, whose career in retail spans about three decades, Blond is constantly developing her own designs, patterns and collection of embroidered linens and has over time made them the focal point of her offering. She uses

600 thread colors and 40 linen shades to create her vast collections of bedding, bath, table and kitchen linens. “Every stitch of her linens is hand embroidered — no machine is involved,” Gray noted. “She loves the business and all of its components.” Among her clients, which

include interior decorators, Blond has become known for the way she updates traditional patterns and looks with contemporary color schemes. “Coral and aqua are really Sharyn’s colors,” Gray said. “She loves those colors. They are her favorites. And she knows how to use them and other more mod-

5/10/2012 5:22:21 PM


Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012



Interior decorators are a key client base. Celerie Kemble worked with Blond to create an exclusive line of cocktail napkins and guest towels insipred by Kemble’s collection of vintage party hats.

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ern palettes on timeless patterns that can be adapted to reflect a particular customer’s tastes.” Her services include registries for bridal and baby as well as wish lists for customers, monogramming, and in-home consultations for bedding and bath décor and table settings. Gray has noticed “a change” in the store’s registry requests, which has shifted in Blond’s favor. “When people came to register with us, they registered for Constance’s linens. And they still do, but now they are registering more and more for Sharyn Blond linens,” Gray explained. Also growing in the business are orders for monogrammed goods. “People are crazy about monograms these days, so we offer them either hand-embroidered or appliqué.” Blond’s lines are sold at her storefront here as well as at a few, select stores across the country, including Lita Austin Foster in Palm Beach, Fla. and Sue Fisher King in San Francisco. The company also sells a limited


)D O O



assortment on Here, shoppers can peruse “select patterns” of in-stocks, including cocktail napkins, guest towels, and finger tip towels, as well as custom order bedding and table linens. Trunk shows provide another venue for the retailer. Staged at the private homes of customers across the country, Blond’s trunk show events run from one to three days and draw 50 to 100 area shoppers. Gray explained that for trunk shows, the company brings “in-stock merchandise for takeaway as well as all of our samples of table and bed linens to be able to show people our range of patterns, and then we show them the variety we offer in colors and patterns to choose from for a custom collection.” Interior decorators make up a growing segment of her clientele. Blond recently collaborated with Palm Beach, Fla.-based Celerie Kemble to create the “Celebration” line of cocktail napkins and guest towels inspired by the decorator’s personal collection of vintage party hats. HTT

5/10/2012 5:22:43 PM


Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012



Legend: Alen Sands York LEGENDS FROM PAGE 1

HTT: How did you get started in the home textiles business? Alen Sands York: My grandfather had started a feather company and in 1950 when I was 18 I started working with my mother there at the company, New York Feather Co. Rose and I worked as a team. She deserves the credit. I was a back-up guy, having worked in public relations and advertising. I did the design and

“The single accomplishment was helping to transform our dull, boring industry. I’m proud to have been part of the team with Rose that did this. It didn’t just happen, somebody had to do it.” — ALEN SANDS YORK, Stellar Alliance

she did the selling. Back then there weren’t any prints. Maybe there was some lace or embroidery, but there was no coordination of anything and everything was very basic. So there had to be somebody to start the process and that was Rose. She decided the whole industry was boring. The first thing we did was get the department stores to put pillows into the bedding department and we turned them into impulse items. Nobody else was doing it, but Rose was and I’m proud of what we did.. HTT: If you hadn’t gone into this field, what would you have done? ASY: I’ve done it. I had an ad agency with clients like Datsun and Saeco. I wrote for business publications in the shipping and marine industries. I was an importer bringing in beer from Hong Kong. I developed a car. We don’t design anything in this business because we’re an aftermarket industry. We style things. We have talented people, but they’re not designers. The only thing that differentiates me is that I’ve been in other industries and learned from other businesses. I’ve run parallel lives. HTT: When did you know you were going to be successful in this business? ASY: I don’t know if I am a success. The only thing I’m successful at is in sticking around

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and still being here. I consider myself a success in limited areas such as the medical devices I’m involved in developing in Germany right now.

I bought the junk in 1955 (now docked in Connecticut after a long run at Manhattan piers) with the idea of living in Cuba, but Castro came along and changed my plans.

HTT: What single accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?

HTT: What’s the single-biggest change you’ve seen in the industry?

ASY: The single accomplishment was helping to transform our dull, boring industry to what is considered the normal industry today. Back when I started, the sheet mills didn’t realize that comforters were the focal points of the bed and they could drive sales. We weren’t the only ones doing it, but we inspired everyone else. I’m proud to have been part of the team with Rose that did this. It didn’t just happen, somebody had to do it.

ASY: I haven’t seen anything new in the business for a long time.

HTT: If you had to do something over, what would it be and how would you do it differently? ASY: What I should have done is purchase other companies when I could have. We should have acquired companies with mills in the 1960s and 1970s. We were successful in some things and some things we bombed in. From a totally different standpoint, I probably should have never gone to work. I was an artist before I got involved in the industry. I was selling paintings and didn’t have to work.

HTT: If you could do one thing to improve the industry’s overall business, what would it be? ASY: Invent something new. I don’t have anything special yet, but I’m looking at the space and medical fields for input. Maybe we take a pill and we think we’ve slept the night. We need great new products, people will respond to color and design, but you need to go beyond just that. HTT: What’s your exit strategy? ASY: To stay around as long as possible. And I’ve done better in that respect than others. I will be 80 this year; Rose worked until she was 90. I have enough things to keep me busy right now. I want to keep doing this and many other things. There’s a TV show I’m working on… HTT

5/9/2012 3:12:01 PM

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Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012


Utility Bedding Shows Growth Amid E-commerce Boom




10% of the Home Textiles Universe

$25.72B $25.05B 2011 Home Textiles 2010 Home Textiles Universe Universe



UTILITY BEDDING Merchandise Mix, 2011 Throws

20% Blankets

Mattress pads


25% Sleep pillows



BY JILL ROWEN N EW YORK — Utility bedding made strides at retail with increases evident across the board. The term “utility” may only loosely fit the category as makers continue to use innovative constructions and technology to create specialty products. While these new-fangled products may demand higher prices, the push back from retailers is real. “Utility bedding is currently anchored by non-utility bedding specialty skus,” said Lonnie Schepps, svp, Sinomax. “There is so much new in the foam category — especially memory foam and its hybrids that utility bedding is almost an oxymoron. All of these are cannibalizing utility real estate. The newer skus are becoming the new basics.” “Foam is looking good,” agreed Dan Schecter, svp, sales and marketing, Carpenter. “That is primarily because the product continues to evolve. Gel is big. Products that are made to work on an ergonomic level are doing well because products such as these have real benefit.” The elephant in the bedroom is still rising material costs. “Increase on raw material has taken a toll on quality and product integrity,” said Schecter. “I think retailers are afraid to increase their retails in fear of not selling

product. The end result is their customer is getting something less than what they were getting a year ago.” “Business continues to be pretty strong at most of the major retailers,” said Jyl Davis, director of marketing, Downlite. “Unfortunately, although cotton has stabilized in costing, we are now fighting cost increases in polyester and goose down, which is making it quite difficult for cost/price management going



into fiscal 2012. Consumer confidence and spending seems to be stronger now in the domestics/home textiles area versus the past couple of years.” Similarly, wool prices are high, impacting the blanket sector. “I believe wool prices have peaked after two years of increases. However, they don’t show signs of falling the way that cotton has,” noted Robert Christnacht, Pendleton Home Division. Despite that, Christ-

nacht noted that business has been good. “With our blankets, people aren’t buying disposable products; they are investing in a generational product.” “I still see some cautious optimism out there with all the innovation engaging our clients, but perhaps a slower growth anticipated until third quarter,” said Schepps. “We feel bullish for the second half of 2012, although the election may somewhat dampen or perhaps slow down some growth temporarily.” “Basic bedding remains a unit and margin driver in home. Little markdowns and high turn make it a favorable category,” said Beth Mack, chief merchandising officer, Hollander Home Fashions. “Retailers are experiencing better sales and therefore they are will to try (test) new products.” According to suppliers, two retail sectors have scored the highest gains in the category: e-commerce sites and warehouse clubs. “The big-box stores and clubs have had the greatest gain as they are drilling down into the category and fortifying their basics,” said Schepps. The National Retail Federation reported in a recent survey that investment in online business surpassed investment in brick and mortar for the first time at some retailers. Suppliers are reaping the benefits as well. Schecter noted that retailers

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May 14, 2012

UTILITY BEDDING Distribution channels 2011 total retail sales: $2,685 million up 3.5% from $2,595 million in 2010 Source for all tables and charts: Home Textiles Today market research


Discount department stores Home textiles specialty chains Mid-price chains Department stores Direct-to-consumer Warehouse clubs Single-unit home textiles specialty stores Off-price chains Variety/closeout Other Total

$1,591 $529 $216 $112 $60 $52 $40 $30 $32 $24 $2,685


$1,536 $511 $210 $109 $57 $49 $39 $29 $31 $23 $2,595


3.6% 3.4% 3.0% 3.0% 4.4% 4.6% 2.8% 3.5% 3.5% 2.3% 3.5%

Other includes home improvement centers, military exchanges and gift/home accent stores. 2010 figures have been revised.

are scrambling to get the sites up and running and to offer something different. “It should be interesting to watch the ‘web wars’ as time goes on,” he said. “This end of the business is one we have placed in high regard as a strategic initiative for the next several months,” said Schepps. “These sites have extremely liberal return policies permitting the customer to try and buy a greater assortment of pillows than she would purchase anywhere.” Schepps acknowledges that the venue comes with many complexities in mastering turnaround times and dispatching products. “We also find this to be a great representation testing ground for our clients to test our new innovations and qualify them for brick and mortar placement,” he added. “We have absolutely seen an uptick in business with our direct retailers — both online players only as well as the ecommerce sites for our brick

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and mortar partners,” said Davis of Downlite. “For larger items, such as feather beds and body pillows, the direct ship to the customer’s home is particularly enticing.” “We have a story to tell — our history and the work we do

tar will not go away, but it will have to be about the customer experience. The ecom business has been stronger in higher ticket items like mattress pads and comforters. The benefit to ecom is the amount of space dedicated to features and benefits, which is

“Basic bedding remains a unit and margin driver in home. Little markdowns and high turn make it a favorable category.” —BETH MACK, Hollander Home Fashions

with our Native American designs — and the web is a perfect place to really get into it,” said Christnacht. “Digital media is king and Hollander will be a leader in this category,” noted Mack of Hollander. “Hollander’s ecommerce (through retail sites) is growing at a rapid rate. Brick and mor-

need for the purchasing decision in basic bedding.” There is, in fact, a push to amp up communications to consumers on all levels. Davis noted that Downlite was increasing resources in its marketing and design staff and looking at “new and creative ways to merchanSEE BEDDING PAGE S7

Home Textiles Today


Websites That Help Consumers Get a Better Night’s Sleep Sleep has become a hot topic on talk shows, newspapers, magazines and on the web. Those in the bedding industry have created a number of consumer-friendly websites to get their own marketing messages across while educating the public. Protect-A-Bed’s site includes a primer on bed bugs and dust mites and offers an app for a “Bed Bug Plauge” game. Carpenter’s consumer site gives tips on the right tools for restful sleep,

Downlite makes the case for down products and their features and benefits. Mission Allergy features info from allergist Dr. Jeffrey Miller.

American Textiles reviews common allergens and solutions through its AllerEase brand. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) provides medical info and has offered a certification to a number of Hollander products.

The mattress industry’s consumer site offers tips on buying mattresses. Sleep expert Dr. James Maas holds court; Maas lends his name to products from United Feather & Down.

The women’s magazine highlights products with its Goodhousekeeping seal, including Aller-Ease offerings.

5/10/2012 5:30:18 PM


Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012


Encasement, Protective Products Keep Rising NEW YORK — Sales of protective bedding products rose over the last year, according to suppliers. While the big bed bug scare has subsided somewhat, it provided a push for the industry, where new technologies and solutions are continuing to inch the category forward. “At its core, the category protects consumers’ investment in bedding,” said Alan Eisenberg, svp, Protect-A-Bed. According to Eisenberg, business has grown as the company expanded from sleep and furniture shops and made inroads with home textiles retailers, including department stores and warehouse clubs. Multipiece packs — such as a student kit for college-bound kids — have been a success for the company. “It’s our version of a bed in a bag,

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and we’re finding they are selling well,” he said. Also on the upswing, its Luxury Sleep Story featuring a Eucalyptus-based fiber designed for sensitive skin. “It has been an exciting year in this area, with tremendous improvement in items that are protection focused,” said Fritz Kruger, svp, marketing, Pacific Coast Feather. “We’ve had a sig-

nificant introduction in fabrications in mattress pads, as well as a game-changing fiber in mattress pads, for which we have been getting lots of attention.” Kruger noted that the focus has shifted to core protection and consumer/sleeper issues. “In particular, waterproof and allergen products are very strong performers,” he said. Pacific Coast markets the AllerRest brand. The category overall runs the gamut from low-cost basics to higher end (and higher priced) solutions products. But there are consumers for every range. In fact, consumers in this category are the most proactive in all of retail: they have a problem and they want a solution. “There’s always a place for a low-cost product that does what

it’s supposed to,” noted Steven Hoffman, vp, new product development, Dream Weave. “Everything we sell is a solution. Our customers expect more and are willing to pay the price to get it.” Dream Weave is focusing on temperature regulating features and recently introduced a new technology that dries 50% faster than the nearest competitor, according to Hoffman. At Levinsohn Textile Co. a new terry product combines comfort with protection properties. “During the height of the bed bug scare, a lot of people came on the market making a lot of claims,” noted Adam Levinsohn, president. “We saw potential to grow with our expertise.” All-in-one combinations that solve a number of issues — a bed bug barrier with allergy-relief properties — are doing well, he said. For American Textiles, Blake Ruttenberg, svp, sales and marketing, said that the company doesn’t market to particular de-

mographics per se, but tries to “make a personal connection” with customers both in store, online and through social media. “About 60 percent of people go online to research a product before they buy and read up on features and reviews,” he said. “It is key to focusing on finding a combination of performance attributes based on sound science.” The company gets an added boost with a Goodhousekeeping Seal for its Aller-Ease products. At Sinomax, a new product has solved a prickly problem for memory foam in general. “We have just introduced the first washable Memory Foam pillow protectors,” noted Lonnie Schepps, svp, Sinomax. “They not only protect your own pillow, but will also add a hint of memory foam to enhance the sleeping experience. Unlike any other Memory Foam product out there is can be washed and dried at home on gentle cycles.” HTT

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Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012

Prices Up for Down; Duck in Demand

UTILITY BEDDING Top 5 Supplier Giants A Recap of the 2011 Utility Leaders (Sales in millions of $) 2011


% Change

Down and Down Alternative Comforters 1 Downlite $108 2 Pacific Coast Feather 80 3 Blue Ridge Home Fashions 73 4 Phoenix Down 44 5 Hollander Home Fashions 40

$88 86 70 49 37

23% -7 4 -10 8

Raw material costs plagued this category with both cotton and down prices at record levels. As was seen across the board in many categories, suppliers switched to synthetic and/or blended fills and shells. Emphasis on thread count largely abated.

Foam Pillows/Toppers 1 Carpenter 2 Sleep Innovations 3 Hudson Industries 4 Sleep Studio 5 Sinomax

$329 233 61.5 60 50

$299 234 57 60 NA

10% 0 9 0 NA

Foam continues to be among the strongest bedding categories, with increases at most of the top suppliers. Gel constructions swept the category, and manufacturers marketed toppers as a cost-effective alternative to buying a new mattress.

Sleep Pillows 1 Hollander Home Fashions 2 Pacific Coast Feather 3 Louisville Bedding 4 Downlite 5 Perfect Fit Industries

$204 141 73 38 36

$197 134 82 30 50

4% 5 -11 27 -28

Usually the darling among the bedding categories, sleep pillows pulled in good numbers. As was the case across the industry, manufacturers turned to poly and other fibers to offset higher cotton costs on shells and grappled with higher prices for feathers.

Mattress Pads 1 Louisville Bedding 2 Pacific Coast Feather 3 Hollander Home Fashions 4 Perfect Fit

$68 42 41 30

$69 39 41 40

-1% 8 0 -25

The most problematic of the bedding categories, with sales mostly flat to down, mattress pads suffered from the out-of-sight/out-of-mind syndrome. Where consumers sought pillows or foam, they overlooked this category of comfort sleep. Higher cotton prices raised retails slightly, but not enough to lift overall sales. SOURCE: HOME TEXTILES TODAY MARKET RESEARCH


NEW YORK — Just as cotton prices have stabilized, another commodity has given suppliers pause. Down and feather prices are on the rise, with estimates that prices have at least doubled since 2009. To offset the prices, some makers are shifting some or part of their products to less expensive duck feathers and looking at changes in construction. A recent Wall Street Journal article outlined the problem for apparel makers, but bedding suppliers (who typically use a much larger percentage of down fill per product) have been struggling with this issue for some time. A pound of white goose down which cost about $12 two years



“Down continues to rise and suppliers and retailers are continually evaluating their assortments,” noted Beth Mack, chief merchandising officer, Hollander. “Goose down has escalated much faster than duck down, so there is the anticipation that many specs will change from

“Down prices rose in 2011 and the instability and increases continue thus far in 2012.” — FRITZ KRUGER, Pacific Coast Feather

ago is now about $28, according to industry estimates. For duck feathers, prices went from about $9 to $19. Within this range are different grades and varieties of down and feather with one thing in common: all have increased in price. “Down prices rose in 2011 and the instability and increases continue thus far in 2012,” noted Fritz Kruger, svp, marketing, Pacific Coast Feather. “We anticipate a recovery in down as the focus shifts away from price promotion and moves toward an emphasis on superior value.”

goose to duck.” “Goose down is currently very expensive, based on worldwide supply shortages. But, synthetic fiber is also feeling upward costing pressure now based on oil costing,” said Jyl Davis, director, marketing, Downlite. “We have seen a shift away from goose down to duck down for some major pillow and comforter programs, as well as some down-specing in qualities and fill powers, in order to manage costing and price points.” “It’s an issue of contraction; there is just not as much supply,”

noted David Sweet, general manager, Eurasia Feather Co., a feather wholesaler. There is less goose being eaten and down is a by-product of the meat production. According to Sweet, a general ‘de-specing’ is taking hold in the industry. “In an effort to keep to a price that retailers want, the down pillow is now offered as a duck pillow and the duck pillow is now a poly product. The question is: will consumers pay more for down?” Sweet added that the shift to duck will impact that supply as well, and ultimately drive up prices. So, how has this increase impacted customers? “What holds true in general is also true in down,” said Kruger. “The consumer base that is price-oriented is struggling with the cost increases that are causing an increase in retail price points. Those consumers who value down have not been affected by the rising retail price points.” “There is and will always remain a down customer,” said Mack. “We need to make sure the message of ‘warmth without weight’ is conveyed to the consumer in order for them to understand the value.” According to Sweet, the consumption of goose continues to drop every year in Europe and the U.S., and even in Asia, though not as drastically. While goose down will not disappear as a commodity product, it may be destined to become a strictly high-end proposition for suppliers and retailers. HTT

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dise products.” Schepps believes that the customer is starved for greater education. “Our recently commissioned NPD studies told us that approximately 75% of all American do not know what memory foam is. The opportunity with education, POS ideas and value pricing remain a goal the whole industry needs to perfect.” For textile products, despite the growth in online business, there is always the touch factor to consider. “A pillow is the



third most personal thing a person owns,” said Schecter. “Your pillow is always happy to see you at night and always sorry to see you go in the morning. The pillow is an important comfort element and is just as important today as in the past. Yes! People still need to hug their pillow — after all it’s your best friend. It’s the hug-a-pillow argument for home textiles that is very different from buying something like small appliances online.” HTT

HTT’s new Database series replaces the long-running Facts series of category sales reports. The next Database report will appear on June 11 and will cover the sheets and pillowcase category.

May 14, 2012

Home Textiles Today


GLOSSARY OF TERMS Anti-microbial fiber and foam Treatment that inhibits the growth of microbial contaminates. Baffle Box Construction In a baffle box construction, the down product has boxes sewn into it, but the boxes have vertical strips of fabric sewn to the top and bottom fabrics, creating baffled walls between each box. The baffles allow down to move into the boxes initially, but help prevent the down from shifting from the boxes later. Batting Cotton, wool, or synthetic fiber wadded into rolls or sheets, used for stuffing furniture and mattresses and comforters and for lining quilts. Crimp Shape The “waviness” of a single fiber measured in “waves” (crimps) per inch. Crimp directly impacts the softness/ firmness, loft, and support of the fiber. More crimps per inch makes the fiber feel firmer; fewer crimps per inch makes the fiber feel softer. Cut Length The actual length of single fiber when it fully extended. Cut length varies depending on the processing of the fiber. Down Consists of the soft undercoating of waterfowl. It is three-dimensional and is composed of individual fibers that are connected to one another at a central point Down is an efficient insulator. It provides lightweight warmth while wicking away moisture, resulting in a consistently comfortable sleep experience. Damask Woven ticking produced on a loom. The design is woven into the fabric rather than printed on the surface. Denier The weight-per-unit length of a fiber measured in grams per 9000 meters. Lower numbers represent finer or smaller sizes; higher numbers represent coarser sizes. Common denier range for pillows is 6 to 10 denier. Density A measure of weight per cubic volume, usually expressed in pounds per cubic foot. Often referred to when discussing foam.

Down Alternative Down alternative is synthetic or natural fi lling material used in comforters and duvets, with insulating and warming properties similar to down. Feathers Two dimensional in shape, feathers from ducks and geese provide lightweight support and are uniquely resilient. Feathers conform to an individual’s sleeping needs. Fill Power Refers to the amount of volume — or space — of one ounce of down, which is measured under laboratory conditions. The more volume taken up by one ounce of down, the higher the fill power will be, and the higher the fill power, the more insulation the product will provide per one ounce. As the fill power of down increases, it is possible (and often preferable) to use less weight in the product while achieving the same warmth provided by heavier, less comfortable, products. Hand Term used to describe the touch or feel of fabrics (e.g., soft, smooth, springy, etc.) or a finished mattress surface. Latex A flexible foam created from a water dispersion of rubber obtained from a rubber tree or a man-made product. Loft Refers to the fluffiness of the product. The three dimensional nature of the down itself is what gives it loft. When a down comforter or pillow becomes flattened with use, its loft can be easily restored with plumping or shaking. Memory Foam A polyurethane based foam with open cells, meaning that air can pass into and out of tiny holes in the material. Higher-density memory foam softens in reaction to body heat, allowing it to mold to a warm body in a few minutes. Lower-density memory foam is pressure-sensitive and moulds quickly to the shape of a body pressing against it, returning to its original shape once the pressure is removed.

Microfiber Extremely fine synthetic filament used to produce very lightweight, soft fabrics. Polyurethane foam Synthetic flexible polyurethane used for mattress cores and as a cushioning material. As a core, it is the main support system. Generic term covering both polyester and polyether foams. Sewn-Through Construction The top and bottom fabric of the product are stitched together, helping to prevent the down from shifting. A product with sewn-through construction may have boxes, channels or other patterns. While all sewn-though constructions help prevent the down from shifting, a multiplebox construction generally will prevent more shifting than an end-to-end channel construction. Thread Count Total number of threads running in both directions per square inch in a woven fabric. Ticking A strong durable material typically striped, used to cover mattresses and pillows. Visco-Elastic Foam Also known as memory foam. Slow recovery urethane foams that are temperature sensitive. They conform to the body and distribute pressure according to body heat and dynamics. Bottom line: “It’s easy to forget, but we spend nearly one-third of our lives in bed and we should make our environment and sleep experience as comfortable and as tailored to individual needs as possible,” said Talbert. Adds Scheps: “Understand that your consumer is seeking a product that will perform as advertised – not just a sale item.” Finally, Schecter emphasizes, “The equipment you use to sleep— from your mattress to your bed pillow to your comforter — is vital in achieving a restorative night’s sleep. Sleeping is not a waste of time, but a pillar and necessary discipline for good health.”

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Protect A Bed_Full_Page_Ad.indd 1

5/4/2012 4:45:29 PM

You should be in it. FURNISH is an annual consumer buying guide to furniture, bedding, accessories, home textiles and outdoor products created by the editors of Furniture/Today, Home Accents Today, Home Textiles Today and Casual Living. We’re answering lots of consumer’s questions on construction, quality, styling, and pricing. Over 100 pages of stunning product photography and everything they need to make an educated buying decision. This year FURNISH will also include an online complement through THE virtual pinboard, “Pinterest.” FURNISH will be sold on newsstands across the US and Canada … over 100,000 copies.

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Make sure FURNISH is in your future.


Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012


> 1

Surtex Picks Up The Pace NEW YORK — Nearly 300 exhib-

itors will show surface designs ranging from traditional to cutting edge at Surtex, which takes place at the Javits Center here from May 20-22. That represents an uptick from last year’s show, which drew 277 artists and design studios. This year’s exhibitors include new artists as well as some companies that dropped out during the economic contraction but are now returning,

according to Penny Sikalis, show manager and vp of show organizer GLM. “Color is the biggest story from the previews I’m seeing,” she said. “There’s still a trend toward upbeat and happy.” Humorous designs as well as properties with inspirational words and phrases are also making a strong showing, she said. This year the show will include a trend theater as well as 10 sessions covering design and

business trends as well as licensing, licensee/licensor relationships, legal considerations and strategies, e-tailing, e-communications and social media. The full list is available at under “The Show” tab. “There’s a lot of valuable information, plus attendees will be able to meet with these companies because they will also be exhibiting at the show,” said Sikalis. HTT

2 3

4 5


1. Carol Van Zandt 2. DSW Licensing Co. 3. Tara Reed Designs 4. Lauren Wan 5. PRNT Studio 6. Pink Light Design

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5/9/2012 5:06:27 PM



Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012


Town & Country Living Inks Vintage Licenses – Vera and Fiesta N EW YORK — Multi-category

supplier Town & Country Living is going retro with the addition of two vintage licenses to its line — Vera and Fiesta. Both partnerships — The Vera Company for Vera and the Homer Laughlin China Company for Fiest a — are for kitchen textiles and table lines; but the deal with Vera also includes bath coordinates. The Fiesta collection will span tablecloths, placemats, napkins, napkin rings, runners, chair pads, tier curtains, top

treatments, accent rugs, towels, oven mitts, pot holders, aprons, dish drying mats, dish cloths, and scrubbers. Both lines are set to launch during the fall New York Home Fashions Market in September, with roll out for distribution in spring 2013. The Vera Company owns the prints, original artwork, scarves, trademarks, and copyrights of the late designer and artist Vera Neumann, known for the bold prints and patterns she created in the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Fiesta is known for its colorful line of brightly hued solidcolor tabletop china from the same era. For third-generation familyowned Town & Country Living, Vera and Fiesta represent the latest additions to the company’s roster of license partnerships that currently includes Disney, KitchenAid, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Royal Velvet, Paula Deen, Badgley Mischka, Better Homes and Gardens, and Country Living, among others.

Sandow Media Acquires Fred Segal Brand N EW YORK — Sandow Media,

parent company of Home Textiles Today, has acquired the worldwide rights to the iconic Santa Monica, Calif.-based Fred Segal brand. The acquisition includes the rights to all intellectual property, the development of a new e-commerce platform for, new retail stores worldwide and the development of Fred Segal branded apparel and products. Rooted in the Hollywood culture for more than 50 years, the Santa Monica and West Hollywood Fred Segal retail locations have been known for its trend-setting merchandise in gifts, apparel, beauty and home décor. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to continue building such a powerful brand with over five decades of heritage that has always remained authentic. Fred had a clear vision, which Michael [Segal, managing partner and founder’s son] built upon as he shepherded the brand, stay-

ing committed to his father’s core mission. My company is privileged to be entrusted with this legacy and will continue the Segal family’s vision as we expand the brand globally,” says chairman and CEO Adam I. Sandow. Michele Caniato, president of Culture + Commerce, Sandow’s design management agency, will manage all licensing deals for Fred Segal globally, and has already begun working with potential partners around the world to open new stores and develop unique Fred Segal branded products that reinforce its image as a style trendsetter. Dan Levin, who recently joined Sandow from the licensing agency Beanstalk, will head up Sandow’s new LA office to help oversee matters as vice president of Culture + Commerce. In an interview with fashion trade publication WWD, Caniato observed, “We are going to be very careful on how and

where we spread the Fred Segal name. Fred Segal is a brand with a lot of equity and is well known on the West Coast. We’re going to look to Asia and the European market, as well as Miami, Las Vegas and New York.” He also noted that within every apparel store, there are plans “to create a subbrand such as Fred Segal at Home.” On the decision to sell the brand to Sandow, Michael Segal noted, “Over the past 50 years, we have turned down multiple offers, never willing to risk our brand integrity, but after meeting Adam Sandow and discovering his passion for innovation and vision for Fred Segal, the decision was clear. We are excited to watch his team grow our beloved brand to new heights.” The current Fred Segal stores in Santa Monica and West Hollywood will continue to operate “ ‘as is,’ “ Adam Sandow told WWD. “They have the right to use the name.” HTT

PrimaLoft Ownership Changes Hands ALBANY, N.Y. — Albany Inter-

national Corp. has sold the PrimaLoft products business to a new entity led by former company president Michael Joyce with financing provided by Prudential Capital Group, which is a stakeholder in the new company. Employees of the new PrimaLoft Inc. will remain headquartered in Albany, with Euro-

htt120501_018_019 19

pean office locations in Ballo, Italy, and Munich, Germany. Joe Rumiesz, vp and general manager of PrimaLoft Inc., said the move will streamline and improve customer service, and accelerate product development. “The transition for our business will be seamless,” he added. Prudential Capital Partners principal Paul Meiring said the firm has worked for six months

with the management team on the buyout. “This company has solid business fundamentals and a strong management team that will drive growth,” he said. PrimaLoft’s high-performance insulations and yarns are manufactured in the U.S., Europe and Asia for use in outdoor and fashion brands, home furnishings, work wear and military applications. HTT

David Beyda, chairman, described Vera as “one of the most recognizable design influences in apparel and home furnishings. Her legacy of creativity and print design inspiration transcends generations, and will be a welcome addition to our brand portfolio.” Added Susan Seid, president of The Vera Company: “We are excited to be partnering with Town and Country Living, whose quality of product and commitment to growth perfectly support the legacy and

heritage of the iconic American Vera brand.” Bardwil Linens formerly held the licenses for the Vera brand in kitchen textiles, table linens, and bath coordinates. Of Fiest a, Beyda said he expects “our loyal retail partners will be very pleased with the colorful and unique ways that we are coordinating with Fiest a to give consumers breadth of product choices and a wide array of never before seen home décor accessories.” HTT

Belinda Carlisle Launches up-market Home Line, Seeks Additional Licensees L O S A N G E L E S — Grammynominated Belinda Carlisle, lead singer of the Go-Go’s, has launched her first home textiles line at Bergdorf Goodman and has appointed a licensing agent to expand her brand into other retail channels. The Bergdorf line, titled “Belinda,” includes blankets, throws, pillows, place mats, runners and napkins. The line also debuted at The Cross in London. Carlisle has signed Lisa Berline Wright of Tie In Pro as her exclusive licensing agent to develop programs for other retailers. Product categories include textiles, yoga, beauty and travel-

related merchandise. A portion of the proceeds from the licensing program will be donated to various charities including, Shuktara, a charity based in Calcutta, India, that provides care for abandoned children with disabilities. “Lisa’s demonstrated success, creativity and commitment to brand integrity make her the ideal partner to bring this licensing opportunity to top manufactures and retailers.” said Belinda Carlisle. “I am thrilled to be able to create beautiful products, support charities and bring new and unique experiences to consumers through the development of this new licensing program.” HTT

Iconix, Reliance Launch Iconix India NEW YORK — Iconix Brand Group Inc. and Reliance Brands Lim-

ited have finalized the formation of their joint venture company in India – Iconix India. For Iconix, the alliance marks the next step in the company’s global expansion strategy, which includes similar existing partnerships in Greater China, Europe and Latin America. Iconix is the parent of more than a dozen major brands, including Cannon, Royal Velvet, Fieldcrest and Charisma. Reliance is part of Reliance Industries Group, the largest private sector company in India. Iconix India will be based in Mumbai and like Iconix in North America will follow a business model that focuses on growing royalty revenue through existing and new licensing agreements with manufacturers and retailers. HTT

5/9/2012 11:48:25 AM


Home Textiles Today


May 14, 2012

BUSINESS TodaY Off-pricers Ross, TJX Lead April Comps BY CECILE B. CORRAL

N EW YORK — The effects of a

warm March and an earlierthan-usual Easter holiday did little to dampen comparable

weeks were: Costco with 4.0%; Duckwall-ALCO with 2.5%; Macy’s with 1.2%; and Target with 1.1% -- which for the latter represented its “strongest


2012 year-over-year


Five weeks ended April 28, 2012 (dollar amounts in millions) a The Bon-Ton Stores Inc Costco Wholesale Corp. b Duckwall-ALCO Stores Inc. Fred’s Inc. Kohl’s Corp. Macy’s Inc. Ross Stores Inc. Stein Mart Inc. Target Corp. The TJX Companies Inc.




5.5% 4.0% 2.5% 1.0% -0.5% -2.0%

$187.2 $7,250.0 $36.2 $147.6 $1,254.0 $1,928.0 $725.0 $95.2 $4,978.0 $1,800.0

$197.7 $6,800.0 $34.8 $141.8 $1,278.0 $1,920.0 $651.0 $96.0 $4,874.0 $1,700.0

2012 SALES

Johnson Redbook Index

-3.5% -5.0% APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEPT OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR Source: Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Average, a unit of Instinet, a Reuters company.

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2011 SALES



(5.3) 7.0 4.0 4.0 (1.9) 0.4 11.0 (0.9) 2.1 7.0

(5.0) 4.0 2.5 (0.3) (3.5) 1.2 7.0 (1.6) 1.1 6.0




April Same-Store Sales

sales for six of the 10 key retailers tracked monthly by HTT, yet created a challenging environment for the three mid-level department store chains on the list. Keeping their steady stride of strong sales were off-price chains Ross Stores and TJX Cos., posting the highest comp increases – 7.0% and 6.0%, respectively — for the month of April, “well ahead of expectations” for both. “Our continued ability to deliver a wide array of name brand bargains to today’s value-focused consumers drove broad-based merchandise and geographic gains in both periods,” said Michael Balmuth, Ross Stores’ vice chairman and ceo. TJX’s sales strengths were also “broad-based,” noted ceo Carol Meyrowitz, “as our U.S., Canadian and European businesses continue to outperform. Comp sales were once again driven by significant increases in customer traffic, which indicates that our values and offerings of current fashions and great brands are attracting and resonating with consumers.” The other retailers on the plus-side of comps for the four

2012 SALES

WINNERS AND LOSERS Same-store sales % change

WINNERS Ross Stores TJX Companies Costco Wholesale Club Duckwall-ALCO Macy’s Inc. Target Corp.

7.0% 6.0% 4.0% 2.5% 1.2% 1.1%

LOSERS The Bon-Ton Stores Kohl’s Corp. Stein Mart Inc. Fed’s Inc.

(5.0)% (3.5)% (1.6)% (0.3)%

quarterly comparable-store sales performance in more than six years,” having received “an earlyseason boost from the combination of warm weather and an earlier Easter,” explained Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and ceo. “Target’s underlying sales trend remains quite healthy, as guests respond to a unique combination of fashion and great prices, combined with the convenience and value created by our remodel program and 5% REDcard Rewards.” April marked another consecutive month of comp increases

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. Costco Wholesale Corp. Duckwall-ALCO Stores Inc. Fred’s Inc. Kohl’s Corp. Macy’s Inc. Ross Stores Inc. Stein Mart Inc. Target Corp. The TJX Companies Inc.

$453.5 $23,420.0 $117.2 $500.5 $4,243.0 $6,147.0 $2,357.0 $303.4 $16,537.0 $5,800.0

a. Reporting periods vary among retailers. b. Costco’s April comp results are for the U.S. division and do not include the positive impacts of inflation in gasoline prices or the

for Duckwall, which said shoppers have been noticing its improved product offerings and value proposition. “Sales were positive in all lines of our commodities division as well as our furniture, plastic storage, decor, giftware, and hardware departments,” said president and ceo Rich Wilson. “Warmer temperatures during the first quarter also helped to drive an early spring season and contributed to strong increases in several of our seasonal departments such as outdoor living, horticulture, and sporting goods.” E-commerce remains a key driver of business for Macy’s, which saw its online sales for and bloomingdales. com combined jump by 29.9% in April and 33.7% in the first quarter, “positively affecting” the company’s same-store sales

2011 SALES

$452.2 $20,540.0 $113.2 $484.4 $4,162.0 $5,889.0 $2,075.0 $303.5 $15,580.0 $5,200.0

0.3 14.0 3.6 3.0 1.9 4.4 14.0 (0.1) 6.1 11.0

0.3 NA 1.7 (0.4) 0.2 4.4 9.0 (0.4) 5.3 8.0

negative impact from foreign currencies. Including those impacts, comps for the month were up 4.0% in the U.S. division, 3.0% in the international division, and 4.0% for the total company.

by 1.5% points year to date. Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and ceo, said Macy’s continues “to see the power of our omni-channel strategy in driving sales online and in the stores.” The Bon-Ton Stores took the hardest comp hit in April, down 5.0%, despite efforts to offset weather and holiday impacts. “While sales from our Community Day event, which was shifted to the end of April this year from February last year, exceeded the prior year’s results, the overall impact on April sales from this shift and other adjustments we made to our promotional calendar was disappointing and we have taken corrective action,” explained Brendan Hoffman, president and ceo. Still, there was good news for the soft home category, which

was among Bon-Ton’s best performing businesses along with hard home, fine jewelry, shoes, cosmetics and accessories. Online sales here, too, were a bright spot. “We are pleased to see continued growth in our e-commerce business, which posted double-digit sales increases,” Hoffman added. Home was also an area of strength in April at Kohl’s, which nevertheless posted the second-biggest total company comp dip — 3.5% — among key retailers. And specifically linens were singled out as one of the four segments with the strongest comp sales results in the month at Stein Mart, even though the mid-tier chain saw its total company same store sales were negative 1.6%. HTT

5/8/2012 3:18:15 PM




Home Textiles Today

May 14, 2012

NRF: Retailer Container Traffic TJX, Ross Update Guidance On Increases expected Through Heels Of Strong Back-to-School Season WASHINGTON — While May will

be a flat month compared to a year ago, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to see solid year-over-year increases through this summer and the back-to-school season. This is according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released last week by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. “Consumers are spending despite gas prices and other economic concerns, so retailers are stocking up to meet the demand,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF vp for supply chain and customs policy. “These numbers show imports growing through the back-to-school season and

even into beginning of the shipping cycle for the holiday season. That’s a sign that retailers are expecting a good year.” Global Port Tracker covers the U.S. ports of Long Angeles/ Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston and Savannah on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast. These ports handled 1.18 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in March, the latest month for which afterthe-fact numbers are available. That was up 14.1% from February, traditionally the slowest month of the year, and 8.5% from March 2011. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo

container or its equivalent. The first half of 2012 should total 7.3 million TEU, up 1.9% from the same period last year. The total for 2011 was 14.8 million TEU, up 0.4% from 2010’s 14.75 million TEU. NRF projects 2012 retail sales will grow 3.4% to $2.53 trillion. “The economy is on the mend and all the leading economic indicators continue to point the way toward positive growth,” noted Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates. “2011 was a year of uncertainty that resulted in virtually no growth in import volume, but we are witnessing a resurgence of confidence and demand.” HTT

Same-store sales

May Comps Off To A Middling Start NEW YORK — Same-store sales Johnson Redbook Index were up 2.6% in the first week First week of May, year-over-year % change of May, according to The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales InWEEK DED EN 5/5 5/12 5/19 5/26 MONTH TARGET dex. Department stores* 1.9 1.9 2.1 Month-to-date, May was up Discounters 2.9 2.9 3.2 2.6% compared to May of last Redbook Index 2.6 2.6 2.8 *Including chain stores and traditional department stores year, relative to a revised target Source: Johnson Redbook Index of a 2.8% gain. Month-overdepressing effect on the year-over-year growth month showed a 1.3% drop, rate,” she continued. “Some Mother’s Day buyrelative to a target of a 1.1% drop. Redbook’s retail sample missed its target in ing was evident in sales of gifts and cosmetics, the first week of May, said Redbook analyst Cat- however, merchants anticipate the full effect of the event to occur in this coming week.” lin Levis. Retailers are also expecting people to shop “Mother’s Day falls a week later this year than last, complicating comparisons for the first for school graduation in the coming weeks. week; the one-week shift in Mother’s Day had a HTT

April Comps

N EW YORK — After reporting

comparable store sales that were “well ahead of expectation” in April, Ross Stores and TJX Cos. have both updated their respective guidances for the coming periods. Based on its above-plan sales “as well as favorable margin trends for the first quarter,” Ross’ vice chairman and ceo Michael Balmuth said the Pleasanton, Calif.-based chain is now estimating earnings per share for the 13 weeks ended April 28 to be 92 cents to 93 cents, up from our prior guidance of 89 cents to 91 cents. “This updated range represents a projected 24% to 26% increase on top of a 28% gain in last year’s first quarter,” he noted, adding that Ross will provide de-

tailed sales and earnings guidance for the second quarter with its first quarter earnings release and conference call on May 17. Also thanks to its above-plan sales and “strong flow-through to the bottom line,” Framingham, Mass.-based TJX now expects its first-quarter earnings per share to be approximately 54 cents and full year fiscal 2013 EPS to be in the range of $2.26 to $2.36, “both of which are above our recently raised guidance and up substantially over last year,” said ceo Carol Meyrowitz. “We remain extremely well-positioned to take advantage of buying opportunities in the marketplace and offer consumers ever-changing, compelling selections at excellent values.” HTT

QVC U.S. Posts Solid 1Q ENGLEWOOD, COLO. — Direct to consumer retailer QVC’s U.S. division saw first quarter sales rise 4% to $1.2 billion as average selling price and gross margin also increased. Liberty Interactive — parent company of QVC’s television and ecommerce operations in the U.S., U.K., Japan, Germany and Italy —said the increases were largely driven by a shift in the mix to apparel. In the United States, ecommerce revenue as a percent of total revenue grew to 39% during the quarter ended March 31. The division’s operating income rose 8% to $171 million. For the total company, sales rose 7% to $2.6 billion and operating income jumped 21% to $213 million. HTT


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Home Textiles Today


The United States is Welspun’s biggest hospitality market, but the company also does a lot of business in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, which he indicated is a growing part of what it is selling in the hospitality space. Business has increased in Europe, Leonard said, adding, “It depends on the country.” At the Vegas show, Welspun will maintain a focus on sustainable products and continue new product introductions in this area. JS Fiber introduced a new booth at the New York show in the fall, but president Mor-

May 14, 2012

ris Long said Q4 was slow. He attributed that more to cyclical factors inherent in the industry rather than a slow environment and said JS Fiber was up 12% year-over-year. Through its purchase of Creative Bedding, the company is now marketing the Fossfill pillow, which has a worldwide patent and is a known brand in the hotel business. “If you’re a Fossfill customer, you’re always a Fossfill customer,” said Long, adding, “The washability is great and makes a great healthcare pillow as well.” Positive reports on business seemed universal, but some suppliers reported larger gains than others. Brian Berk, president,


Howard Elliott Collection, told HTT, “Our Q4 showed a 20% increase over Q4-2010, and Q1 followed similar suit. Based upon commitments we are beginning to receive and production planning we are currently processing, we see the balance of 2012 resulting in very strong sales.” Berk said he sees a lot of progress in working new construction projects on an international basis. As one would expect, both construction and renovation help drive demand for hospitality textiles, and many exhibitors are finding potential in both. “We are seeing new construction projects enter the pipeline.

While the numbers may not be as big as they once were, they are still very positive indicators that our industry is strong and moving in the right direction,” said Ken Koneck, public affairs manager at Valley Forge Fabrics. “We have seen tremendous pent up project demand exploding in our industry now that the supply of credit has been loosened. Projects are also moving very, very quickly as concerns still linger over a tightening of the supply of credit.” Valley Forge focuses on sustainable products, with its Fresh and Living Fresh collections making up more than 50% of its running line products, which are priced in line with non-sus-

tainable counterparts. Valley Forge will be introducing several new collections at the Las Vegas show including: Earthshine 3 & Earthshine 4 drapery, Delicious Blackout, 2 International Specifier Textures Collections and Rockstar Texture both for upholstery and Captivate & Mesmerize Collection for drapery. Bruce Cohen, owner of Boca Terry, agrees that there is an increase in construction and also sees a positive trend in renovation. “Many new construction projects that were put on hold in 2009 and 2010 have received financing, so we do see a trend of new construction, especially SEE VEGAS PAGE 23


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5/10/2012 4:46:28 PM

News 360 Park Avenue South, New York, N.Y. 10010 Tel: (646) 805-0227; Fax: (646) 365-2307 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jennifer Marks 10 Ocean Blvd #8B Atlantic Highlands, N.J. 07716 (732) 204-2012 | PUBLISHER/EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Warren Shoulberg (646) 805-0226 | SENIOR EDITOR Cecile B. Corral 428 Bianca Ave. Coral Gables, FL 33146 (305) 661-7493 | MANAGING EDITOR Julie Murphy (646) 805-0224 | CONTRIBUTING GRAPHIC ARTIST Desiree Nunez (646) 805-0233 | DIRECTOR OF MARKET RESEARCH Dana French (336) 605-1091 | ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, ACCOUNT MANAGER CHINA Jeff Reeves (336) 605-1009 | ACCOUNT MANAGER NORTHEAST/MIDWEST/ WEST COAST/CANADA Mary McLoughlin (646) 805-0227 | CLASSIFIED AD SALES Spencer Whittle (336) 605-1027 Karen Hancock (336) 605-1047 MANAGER, EUROPE Mirek Kraczkowski Tel: 48 22 401 70 01; Fax: 48 22 401 70 16 | MANAGER, INDIA Kaushal Shah Cell: 91-9821715431; Tel: 91-22-6663 4597 / 24988658 Fax: 91-22-66634596 | ONLINE SALES MANAGER Penny Schneck (336) 605-1084 | PRODUCTION MANAGER Rich Lamb Tel: (336) 605-1074; Fax: (336) 605-1143 | rlamb@ DIRECTOR, WEB OPERATIONS Chris Schultz | (336) 605-1076 | MANAGER, CLIENT SERVICES, WEB ADVERTISING Dan Sage | (336) 605-1080 | E-MEDIA PROJECT MANAGER Missy Axe | (336) 605-1005 | DIRECTOR OF AUDIENCE MARKETING Allison Ternes (704) 573-9007 | PRESIDENT, FURNITURE TODAY GROUP Kevin Castellani (336) 605-1034 | FOUNDING EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Carole Sloan 1979-2011

SANDOW MEDIA PRESIDENT AND CEO Adam I. Sandow CFO/COO Christopher Fabian VP CREATIVE AND EDITORIAL Yolanda E. Yoh EVP, GROUP PUBLISHER James N. Dimonekas SUBSCRIPTIONS: U.S.A. (866) 456-0405 All other countries: (515) 247-2984 FAX SUBSCRIPTIONS: 1-866-310-7181 THE BUSINESS AND FASHION NEWSPAPER OF THE HOME TEXTILES INDUSTRY® 360 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010 Telephone: (646) 805-0227 Fax: (646) 365-2307 USPS 497-490 HOME TEXTILES TODAY (USPS 497-490) (ISSN 0195-3184) is published 29 times a year except for the weeks of 1/16, 2/6, 2/20, 3/12, 3/26, 4/9, 4/23, 5/7, 5/21, 6/4, 6/18, 7/2, 7/16, 7/30, 8/13, 8/27, 9/17, 10/1, 10/15, 10/29, 11/12, 11/26, 12/10, 12/24 by Furniture/Today Media Group, 360 Park Avenue South, 17th fl., New York, NY, 10010 a subsidiary of Sandow Media LLC, 3731 NW 8th Ave, Boca Raton, FL 33431. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. HOME TEXTILES TODAY copyright ©2012 by Sandow Media LLC. Annual subscription rates: U.S. and Canada $169.97; 1 year, other countries $325.99 for surface mail . All payments must be made in U.S. currency. Subscription inquiries: HOME TEXTILES TODAY, PO Box 5879, Harlan, IA 51593-1379. Phone: (866) 456-0405. HOME TEXTILES TODAY and THE BUSINESS AND FASHION NEWSPAPER OF THE HOME TEXTILES INDUSTRY are registered trademarks of Sandow Media LLC, used under license. Sandow Media LLC does not assume and hereby disclaims liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions in the material contained herein, regardless of whether such errors result from negligence, accident or any other cause whatsoever. (Posted under Canadian International Publication Agreement No.40624074. Sandow Media/CDS (Mint Hill) POSTMASTER: Send address changes to HOME TEXTILES TODAY, P.O. Box 5879, Harlan, IA, 51593-1379 Email: Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: RCS International; APC; PO Box 503, RPO West Beaver Creek, Rich Hill, ON L4B 4R6

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May 14, 2012

Home Textiles Today



overseas. Deferred maintenance occurred in 2009 and 2010 as well, so there is a major push for renovation.” Boca Terry saw double-digit growth in Q4 2011 and in Q1 2012 and Cohen believes the hospitality business is doing very well. “Rack rates are up, occupancy rates are up, and there is new construction. In addition, our spa business has expanded.” Standard Fiber’s vp sales and marketing, Shawn Berry said: “The hospitality renovation pipeline is growing, while the new build sector is still having issues regaining its form in the U.S., especially the larger projects. Most of the big franchisor groups are looking to Asia for a larger share of new construction projects and have numerous planned/funded projects. Since we are focused on private label, growth in the various segments helps our partners grow, and our hospitality business going forward.” At the Vegas show, Standard Fiber will be showing its new mattress protection options, with both DreamTec mattress encasements and hypoallergenic, waterproof mattress pads and protectors. The company will also highlight some operational savings for hotel operators by developing its products to “quick dry,” via additional technologies that Berry believes are now gaining interest in hospitality, especially for fill type products. With the laser-like focus on price waning somewhat from the worst days of the recession, eco-friendly and sustainable products seem more in demand, exhibitors said. But price and sustainability aren’t necessarily incompatible according to Karen Nilles, hospitality product development manager for 1888 Mills. “Sustainability does not always mean that you have to pay a premium. Properties can purchase linen products that reduce overall chemical, water, and energy costs in laundering which is good for the environment as well as their own bottom line,” she said. 1888 Mills will show the Whole Solutions terry program “that eliminates the need to launder before first use,” she added. “The towel is treated with a proven, safe anti-microbial finish that ensures a clean and fresh product out of the box.” The company will introduce a new line of textiles made with recycled PET plastic. “Our biggest product launch at the HD Expo will actually be a new sustainable terry program featuring the Coca-Cola brand and re-

JS Fiber will market the FossFill pillow at this year’s HD show.

Standard Fiber will showcase its new mattress protection options in Vegas.

cycled PET yarns. Our booth will feature both terry and sheeting product that has been woven with these RPET yarns,” Nilles said. Jannice Cameron, vp of marketing, at Hollander Home Fashions agrees that reasonable prices and sustainability aren’t always in tension. “Price and service remain the drivers but customers are interested and seeking both value and green options simultaneously.” She also told HTT that Hollander had a solid Q1 and expects continued growth throughout the year. As part of that growth goal the company will be marketing its Memorelle, Superside, Arctic Fresh Down and Crypton products at this year’s show. Keith Sorgeloos, president/ceo, Home Source International, expressed many of the same sentiments as his colleagues as HD Expo approaches. “Ren-

ovations are leading the way in 2012,” Sorgeloos said, “and one of the least expensive ways to refurbish, rejuvenate and renovate a property is through the guests’ experience of seeing, sleeping and bathing with new and fresh bed and bath textiles. So we are beginning to see movement in re-decorating and providing a facelift with fresh linens.” Like many of his counterparts, Sorgeloos reported that construction is strong in Asia. Home Source will be highlighting a patent pending rocking bed at HD Expo, a regenerated lighting series, and believes its bamboo bedding and Microcotton towels will continue to lead the way for hotel textiles. The company will also unveil a “Made in America” manufacturing platform in the second half of 2012 that will cater to the hospitality industry. HTT

5/10/2012 5:36:36 PM

INTRODUCING AUGUST 20–23, 2012 LAS VEGAS CONVENTION CENTER Home Textiles • Décor • Home Accessories

UNITING THE FASHION AND HOME COMMUNITIES A compelling mix of international and domestic resources, providing an unparalleled opportunity to connect with hundreds of sourcing exhibitors, executives, designers, purchasing agents, private label retailers, and product development teams representing the entire spectrum of home textiles, décor, and accessories. TEXTILES







Kathleen Jack

Pamela Thompson

Attendee Relations 310-857-7652

Attendee Relations

Attendee Relations 310-857-7650

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Director of International Sales 310-857-7568

International Business Development Manager (West Coast) 310-857-7648

Sales & Marketing (East Coast) 212-951-6722


HTT_May14th_Sourcing Magic.indd 1


5/8/2012 4:50:25 PM

Home Textiles Today May 14th Issue  

Home Textiles Today May 14th Issue

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