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Executive forecast: Laminate—Enhancements aim to level the playing field

December 10/17, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 14

By Reginald Tucker

 

As WPC and rigid core products continue to generate interest among consumers—while seizing share from competing hard surface categories—laminate flooring producers are not sitting idly by. Many suppliers are launching innovations of their own in areas such as water resistance, durability and eye-catching aesthetics.

 

Roger Farabee
president, wood & laminate
Mohawk 

What is your projection for the growth of the category next year? We see the category growing in that 2% to 3% range.

What are the growth projections for your company in particular in 2019? We plan on exceeding the overall category growth.

What end-use segments and/or products will fuel this growth? We have been very strong in the home center segments, but now we’re actually seeing more growth at specialty retail.

Cite a few major company initiatives for 2019. Continued investment in the category. Many retailers are realizing they have an alternative to rigid vinyl that many customers prefer. They’re much more affordable, have better visuals and better waterproof properties.

Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in 2019. Ongoing pressure from LVT and WPC will continue to impact the laminate category. But we are committed to investing in this product segment.

Where do you see the greatest opportunities? We launched our first range of products using our GenuEdge pressed bevel technology, and we’re augmenting that in Mohawk and Quick-Step with additional platforms using the same technology with a milled bevel edge.

 

Drew Hash
Vice president, hard surface portfolio management
Shaw Floors

What is your projection for the growth of the category next year? We predict units will probably be down again, but dollars may be up slightly.

What are the growth projections for your company in particular in 2019? We expect to be up in dollars in the low single-digit range.

What end-use segments and/or products will fuel this growth? Definitely in the single-family arena, and that’s across multiple areas of the home. Consumers are becoming more comfortable placing the product in areas previously off limits to laminate.

Cite a few major company initiatives for 2019. We expect to launch a lot more longer/wider products and do more things, design-wise, that we haven’t seen before.

Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in 2019. The laminate category has done some things to make sure it can participate in the moisture-resistance story. Retailers are selling better, thicker, more moisture-resistant products.

Where you see the greatest opportunities? Definitely better end goods. Our business is heavily weighted toward specialty retail. To that end, we expect to see more activity in the 12mm product range as opposed to the 7mm to 8mm range.

 

Dan Natkin
Vice president, hardwood and laminate
Mannington

What is your projection for the growth of the category next year? Flat to low single digit decline.

What are the growth projections for your company in particular in 2019? Slightly above market rate.

What end-use segments and/or products will fuel this growth? Continued demand in new home construction and some retail demand.

Cite a few major company initiatives for 2019. Expansion of our award- winning SpillShield technology.

Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in 2018. As in all other categories—the economy.

Where you see the greatest opportunities? Continuing to sell the total features and benefits package of laminate vs. selling on a single attribute: waterproof.

 

Derek Welbourn
CEO
Inhaus

What is your projection for the growth of the category next year? We see the laminate category growing slightly (2% to 3%) as a total for 2019.

What are the growth projections for your company in particular in 2019? We continue to experience strong growth for our business as we claim share of the laminate segment.

What end-use segments and/or products will fuel this growth? We expect to see continued growth in our laminate lines along with Sono, our new German innovation in the rigid core waterproof market.

Cite a few major company initiatives for 2019. We have a new technology for our Sono product line that we will be bringing to market in 2019. We have invested in digital printing technology that we feel is category changing. 

 Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in 2018. The markets will continue their fast and furious pace of change in 2019 and beyond. We don’t try to be all things to all people; we choose to focus only on the products we can truly be experts in and add value to our customers.

 Where you see the greatest opportunities? The innovation of water resistance and continued focus on style and design complemented by low cost continue to assist laminate in holding its own.