Summer 2018 Las Vegas show was a typical quiet summer market. The consensus of Jay, Mike, and other vendors they spoke to, was that bedding there is very important and those spaces were very busy. The movers and shakers in that segment of the industry use Vegas as a very important sounding board to the direction their product is taking. The other place that we knew first hand was busy from start to end was Cozzia because of all the new intros. Just like in retail stores, those that work to bring new innovation will reap the re-wards of traffic and positive activity.
Like all parts of the furniture industry, the mattress industry is evolving. With over a billion dollars purported to have been sold on Amazon in mattresses last year, a reconfigured Mattress Firm, all those who sell mattresses whether they be brick and mortar or internet players are jockeying to make sure they stay relevant to the consumer. More and more millennials and others seem to be clicking and buying rather than hassle with the “old way” of testing and choosing a sleep unit. With many internet accounts, and several savvy retailers, now choosing to private label and ship direct with experienced players like Brooklyn Bedding (see Jay’s article), the landscape has been changing quickly. Las Vegas seemed to be ground zero on this discussion.
Another topic breaking at Vegas market that piqued my interest is the bankruptcy of Heritage Home. Where those parts fall out should be in the forefront of dealers and other manufacturers between now and October market. When I look at how Lane ended up as a brand name for United along with their acquired Simmons name and Ashley rolling out Berkline and Benchcraft labels.
Shows how dynamic the business has become when firms that dealers couldn’t live without are now just a name for promotional houses to use to gain prestige. In most of these cases, it was OUTSIDE money that thought our industry was backward and could be dominated by outside cash. Those of us that go way back remember Desoto Furniture, Singer Furniture, Mohasco, MASCO, Sun Capital etc. taking over and ultimately destroying old time furniture manufacturers. I guess when you’ve been around long enough what goes around comes around!!
On a positive note La-Z-Boy’s purchase of Joybird.com is another step in the evolution of the ecommerce industry. Should be a good marriage as a great, solid, mainline manufacturer buys a company that allows them a jump start in on the web. Both in wholesale and retail this could become the norm.
Then with all that said, Jake Jabs just keeps doing what he’s good at: opening stores and disrupting markets! I imagine the Southwest airline flights between Houston and Phoenix will be full with retailers wanting to see how AFW can take $200 million out of a mature metro market in 3 years time. Should be some real disruptions in south Texas in the near future!
In closing I would like to add my sincere admiration to the retiring Steve Riley at Nebraska Furniture Mart. Merchant, gentleman and friend don’t adequately describe his impact—but they are a good start to describe Steve. We wish him Godspeed in his next step but will miss his warm smile and witty remarks as he says, “let’s get going, I’ve got a lot of work to do”!
His shoes will be filled by a new dynamo, Shane Pohlman, who will continue to grow under Irv Blumkin’s tutelage. Since I grew up with Louie Blumkin as my mentor, I can speak with authority that Shane will learn well!
Hope all of you are able to enjoy these “dog days” of summer and kick tail on Labor Day weekend portending a great fall selling season.