HOME DÉCOR E-COMMERCE POISED FOR GROWTH
Home décor represents a growing, untapped market on the World Wide Web, according to a study released by Sullivan Marketing Group, Frazer, PA. Online sales of home decorating products are expected to accelerate over the next five years as e-commerce takes hold within traditional channels of distribution, technology enablers help overcome historical obstacles and new Web sites create more demand, the study says.
"Ecommerce: Opportunities & Challenges for Home Decorating Products" is a strategic assessment that focuses on issues involved in marketing complex products such as bedding, floor coverings, wall coverings and window coverings on the World Wide Web. The study examines the challenges and opportunities within the trade including department stores, mass merchandisers, home centers and non-store formats such as catalogs and toll-free telephone numbers.
Susan Gilbert Cohen, principal associate and author of the study says, "Home furnishings sites such as furniture.com, goodhome.com, and living.com are already demonstrating how spatial, tactile and other sensory dimensions can be experienced through innovative configuration tools and live customer service. Moreover, traditional retailers such as department stores, mass merchandisers and home centers are integrating e-commerce into their established channels of commerce to create a seamless shopping experience."
By contrast, independent retailers are approaching the Web cautiously. In a recent telephone survey, Sullivan Marketing Group found just 30 percent of independent retailers are using the Internet and only 10 percent have their own Web sites. According to Cohen, independents are using their sites primarily for marketing rather than transactional purposes.
Information on subscribing to this study may be obtained by contacting Sullivan Marketing Group at (610) 647-3707 or visiting www.sullivanmarketing.com.
MASTERVISIONS RECEIVES ADEX AWARD
Sally Tucker, Visionary Concepts, Inc., Branford, CT, has been recognized by Design Journal as a recipient of a 1999 Platinum Award for Design Excellence (ADEX) for MASTERVISIONS for Windows[TM].
MASTERVISIONS is an illustration overlay system for designing innovative window treatments that is used by decorators and designers worldwide. The ADEX awards are given annually to products exhibiting superior design based on form, functionality and style.
USP LAUNCHES WEB SITE, MERCHANDISING PROGRAM
U.S. Polymers Inc. (USP), Commerce, CA, has launched a Web site and new merchandising materials for its ShutterSmart program, its award-winning vinyl clad wood shutters.
"We are launching our Web site, www.shuttersmart.com, with an extensive advertising program both on the Internet and in traditional print media," explains Viken Ohanesian, director of marketing. In conjunction with the site, USP has introduced its new merchandising materials, which include a five-minute in-home videotape presentation and the ShutterSmart Shopper, a new in-home sales kit.
The company reintroduced its patented shutters as ShutterSmart in January (See D&WC, January 2000)
CAMATRON RELOCATES TO NEW JERSEY
Effective immediately, Camatron Sewing Machine Inc. has relocated to 1116 Edgewater Ave., Ridgefield, NJ 07657. The company can be contacted at (201) 941-5116; fax: (201) 941-4566.
The firm took possession of a 14,000-square-foot facility with state-of-the-art appointments that will enable it to do business on a more progressive level with maximum productivity and quality assurances built into the operation, according to Robert Ross Sr., president, and Robert Ross Jr., executive vice president.
Located in an industrial hub of northern New Jersey with access to the New Jersey State Turnpike, railroad facilities, major interstate highways and international airports, Camatron will be able to provide service and delivery schedules for all customers throughout the United States, Canada and the world, the company says.
SOUTHSTAR ANNOUNCES EXPANSION, IMPROVEMENTS
SouthStar Supply Co., Nashville, TN, has significantly increased and upgraded its office and warehouse space in its main facility.
"Our rapid growth over the past few years had us trying to put too much inventory in too small a space," explains Bill Starts, founding partner. "With Y2K bearing down on us as well, we decided to pull out all the stops and not just increase floor space but replace and upgrade virtually our entire facility and operations to take advantage of the latest technology available," he adds.
SouthStar distributes parts and supplies to the sewn products industry.
CAPRI LINE EXPANDS FABRIC STYLES
Meridian Home[TM], the brand name for window fashion products developed by ITA, Inc., St. Augustine, FL, has expanded its Capri[TM] product line with four new fabric styles.
Capri is a collection of natural texture woven fabrics that feature the look of hand-woven shades made from reeds, grasses and fibers. The latest additions are: Sienna, contrasting softly brushed fibers; Meridia, interlaced with chenille; Tropaz, alternating matte and glossy looking tropical grasses; and Venna, the look of reeds and grasses pressed, twisted and woven together.
The full collection now includes 11 fabric styles and 50 different neutral colors. IHDG RESTRUCTURES UNDER CHAPTER 11
The Imperial Home Decor Group Inc. (IHDG), Cleveland, OH, and its U.S. affiliates have filed voluntary petitions for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The petitions were filed January 5, 2000, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
The company says it elected to seek court protection to develop and implement a financial reorganization. During the process, the Imperial Home Decor Group and all company units will continue to operate normally, it says.
"With more than 40 percent of the North American residential wall coverings market, IHDG is the industry leader and is a viable company with solid future prospects," said Scott R. Levin, chief financial officer and acting CEO. "Our company is profitable on an operating basis before restructuring and integration costs, but company debt levels are too high and simply cannot be sustained," he said.
When IHDG was formed in March 1998 (See D&WC, May 1998), it took on debt levels that assumed continued sales volume in Russia and Eastern Europe, Levin explained. "Those sales were not realized due to the dramatic and unexpected economic downturn that occurred," he said. In addition, sales in North America and local markets in the United Kingdom were lower than anticipated in 1998 and 1999, Levin added.
COMFORTEX DEVELOPS MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY
Comfortex Corp., Maplewood, NY, has introduced the use of high-speed digital camera technology into its manufacturing process for cellular shade fabric. The company's Vision System provides split-second feedback that will automatically modulate fabric manufacturing parameters to increase efficiency and provide "tangible improvements to the quality and the appearance of our cellular fabric," says Tom Marusak, president and CEO of Comfortex Window Fashions.
The technology, developed and refined by a team of company and external technical consultants over the past 12 months, represents "a significant advancement in the manufacturing process of our cellular fabric," Marusak adds.
COMPOSERS CELEBRATE VIVA CAPTIVA
Comfortex Window Fashions, Maplewood, NY, has just completed its National Composer Alliance incentive trip to Captiva Island, FL. The trip was held November 4 to 8, 1999.
In order to qualify for the trip, each account achieved sales goals or recently had joined the Comfortex Composer Alliance. The Composers vacationed at South Seas Resort where they enjoyed a shelling excursion, a tour of Cabbage Key Island, a golf tournament and more.
In addition, the Composers were joined by Comfortex sales representatives and regional sales directors who earned the trip by achieving sales goals. The trip combined the right balance between fun and business updates and "provided both Comfortex Composers and our management team the opportunity to spend valuable time together," said Tom Marusak, president.
SHOWTIME WEST 99 ATTRACTS FABRIC LINES
Hundreds of fabric buyers and designers toured the showrooms at the Fall Showtime West 99 Fabric Fair, held November 1 to 3, 1999, at the California Mart, Los Angeles, CA, according to show sponsors. More than 150 fabric lines were featured.
Buyers who attended the show were introduced to the latest colors, textures and patterns available in fabrics. An important feature of the show was its Web site, www.showtimewest.org. Attendees were able to review up-to-date exhibitor listings, obtain room numbers and make online appointments.
Showtime West is sponsored by the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers® and its chapter, the West Coast Furniture Fabric Club.
IFDA GALA RAISES FUNDS FOR HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
The International Furnishings & Design Association (IFDA) held it Holiday Gala in mid-December 1999 at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY, and raised $15,000 for Habitat for Humanity through a silent auction.
The centerpiece of the auction was a week's stay for up to six people at a private chateau in Burgundy, France, donated by Felissimo Universal Corp. of America, whose flagship store is located in New York City. Other auction items included restaurant dinners and furnishing items ranging from bed linens to sinks.
The IFDA Gala is held annually in December to benefit a different charity each year. It attracts from 250 to 300 members and guests.
NEW LEN-TEX DISTRIBUTOR ANNOUNCED
Len-Tex Wallcovering, Walpole, NH, announces a distribution change for its Len-Tex brand of contract wall coverings on the West Coast.
Tri-Kes Wall Fashion, Sante Fe Springs, CA, assumed sales and marketing of the Len-Tex brand for Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Tri-Kes has represented the brand in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico for eight years. It has nine sales representatives on the West Coast.