Void in youth furniture creates opportunities

Posted in USA on Monday, 28 April 2014. Print

HIGH POINT — The demise of two major youth furniture brands could lead to new opportunities for vendors willing and able to fill the void on retail floors.

Void in youth furniture creates opportunities

HIGH POINT — The demise of two major youth furniture brands could lead to new opportunities for vendors willing and able to fill the void on retail floors. But the extent of those opportunities is unclear at this early stage. Young America, which Stanley recently announced plans to close if it doesn’t find a buyer, and Lea Furniture, which company parent La-Z-Boy is in the process of selling, together represent more than $60 million in youth volume, industry sources estimate. That’s a significant amount of volume in the overall youth furnishings category, which totals about $5.7 billion annually. How much of that business remaining youth sources capture will depend not just on their product styling, but also their quality and ability to ship in a timely fashion. Much also depends on whether Young America or Lea ends up getting sold in the coming weeks. But retailers apparently aren’t waiting to see how that plays out before making sure their own floors — and customers — are taken care of. At the April High Point Market, youth furniture suppliers said they received a number of requests from dealers that had just heard the news of Stanley’s plans to abandon its domestically made youth line. “We have definitely been busy since Stanley Furniture announced their decision to close its Young America brand,” said Angela Engel, director of sales for Newport Cottages, which offers cribs that retail from $975 to $1,845 and twin beds that start at $975. “It is nice to see how important U.S.A.-made baby and children’s furniture is for retailers, and that we fill this niche.” Young America’s cribs, by comparison, started around $899 while its twin beds retailed roughly from $749 to $899. Engel said Newport Cottage’s prices reflect the fact the line is made with 100% solid wood. Over the past few weeks, she said, the company has been discussing with its customers ways to capture the Young America customer and at the same time develop an “introductory price level and yet stay true to ourselves.” At the April market, Trendwood and Oak Design Corp., two other U.S. manufacturers of wood youth bedrooms, also saw new interest in their lines. “We will go after the youth market by using painted finishes on twin and full beds,” said Ismael Castellanos, president of Oak Design. The new finish options will be applied to twin beds that retail from $799 to $1,999 with storage. The company’s line includes both solid-oak and solid-alder designs. According to Castellanos, the made-in-America aspect of his line will be an advantage. “A lot of my retailers say this is what consumers are looking for — it’s a big category for their stores.” Chris Rovig, sales manager for Trendwood, said he saw some signs of new activity in the youth category in his showroom this market. But he also noted that the customer base for the design-driven Young America line is not the same as for his line, which is made mostly with Ponderosa pine solids and has a more rustic appearance.

Tags: Furniture

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