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Ceramic: State of the industry, second quarter offers optimism for rest of the year

It is more than a coincidence: Consumer confidence is on the rise and ceramic tile manufacturers saw some of their highest numbers in the second quarter that they had in the last several years. Though the ice hasn’t frozen solid, the category has shown more than just stability with an increase in units sold.

No one denies the category took a hit when the housing market crumbled, but consumers seem to be back in the market for ceramic tile. “Both business segments have been impacted over the last couple of years, but as they rebound the future is bright,” said Kim Holm, president, Mannington Residential. “New technologies have opened the door for tremendous growth opportunities in the category.” Continue reading Ceramic: State of the industry, second quarter offers optimism for rest of the year

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Ceramic tile sales drop 20% for third consecutive year, new home construction is primary culprit

Not unlike flooring’s other categories, ceramic tile experienced a significant double-digit decline in 2009. In the minds of many ceramic executives, it was a year to forget. And while the economy played a prominent role, with the usual suspects being high unemployment, tighter lending practices, soaring foreclosures, falling home prices and a more cautious buyer, many industry pundits put the blame more squarely on poor housing starts— something tied very closely to this segment—rather than the overall economy.

By the numbers, ceramic tile in 2009 was down versus 2008 in the neighborhood of 24% in dollars and 22.5% in volume, not the greatest neighborhood to be in by anyone’s standards. For the year, FCNews estimates the ceramic floor tile market at $1.347 billion, or 8.3% of the total flooring market, down half a point from 8.9% in 2008. If that seems low compared to other estimates, keep in mind that FCNews considers only floor tiles, eliminating wall tiles from the mix. By all industry accounts, floor tiles represent between 78% and 80% of total ceramic tile sales dollars. Continue reading Ceramic tile sales drop 20% for third consecutive year, new home construction is primary culprit

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Commercial ceramic: Earliest rebound not until mid-2011

Ceramic tile producers continue to hit home runs when it comes to innovation, colors, styles and expanded product offerings. The plan of attack continues to provide distributors and retailers with the best product possible so they can be armed and ready for the recovery.

“We estimate the overall tile industry was down 20% to 25% in 2009, with the commercial sector down a similar amount,” said Lori Kirk-Rolley, senior marketing director, Dal-Tile. She estimated commercial in 2008 at about $950 million, dropping to between $750 and $800 million in 2009. “Driven by federal construction, the public sector was strong in 2008 and 2009. Education and healthcare were performing well, but those are slowing down from 2008. The hospitality, retail and corporate sectors are all weak.”

While Rolley expects the commercial segment to be down again in 2010, she expects recovery to begin later this year. “By 2011, we expect modest growth in the commercial tile sector. However, because tile is installed at the end of the construction process, we don’t anticipate seeing the impact of the recovery until 2012.” Continue reading Commercial ceramic: Earliest rebound not until mid-2011

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Coverings: Ceramic segment invigorated with innovation, style

ORLANDO, FLA.—The use of state-of-the-art technology to create innovative products has become standard practice in ceramic tile. And late last month Coverings 2010 served as the industry’s showplace for innovation, texture, style, color and education.

“We felt the momentum, energy and buzz of a show that, much like the world, is coming back from a really tough 2009,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of National Trade Productions (NTP), manager of Coverings. “We had many new programs we believe helped do that. The show was up 5% in attendance with 23,500 attendees, and up [about the same amount] in space as well.”

In a sign that the economy might be finally beginning to rebound, there were nearly 160 new exhibitors at this year’s show. “The fact that the number of first-time exhibitors nearly quadrupled from last year is irrefutable evidence that the show is an invaluable opportunity for both exhibitors and attendees.” Continue reading Coverings: Ceramic segment invigorated with innovation, style

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J.J. Haines to distribute Avaire porcelain tile

Omaha, Neb.—J.J. Haines is the latest major distributor to partner with the makers of Avaire porcelain tile. With distribution headquarters in Glen Burnie, Maryland, it will expand opportunities for the ceramic tile company from Pennsylvania to Florida.

“Our management, our salespeople, and our customers all see the value that Avaire product provides,” said Richard Cutting, ceramic marketing manager with J.J. Haines. “We showed the Avaire program at our J.J. Haines Loyalty Club meeting and the response was overwhelming.” He continued that a tremendous amount of displays and product were sold and the training session was standing room only. “Our early success with Avaire is outstanding, and we expect the success to continue to grow.” Continue reading J.J. Haines to distribute Avaire porcelain tile

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Ceramic producers launch upscale designs, colors

Crossville tileNowhere in the flooring industry is the use of high tech, state-of-the-art production advancements more evident than in ceramic tile. It seems as though manufacturers can make finished products look and feel like anything they want, whether it be the visual appeal of slate or the earthy tones of limestone. The following focuses on some of the more upscale products several porcelain and ceramic tile manufacturers have recently developed.

Crossville

UltiMetal is a high-end product combining the durability of Crossville’s porcelain stone with the glitz of metaillic finishes, noted Laurie Lyza, director of marketing, “The field tile has an almost minimalist look, but with a subtle fabric texture. The mosaics and decos have bold geometric patterns and more metallic sheen for that really high-end look.

“What differentiates UltiMetal from other metal tile products is its functionality,” she explained, “in addition to its aesthetic appeal. It will not scratch, etch, or stain as many metals do, and it is rated for commercial use. Continue reading Ceramic producers launch upscale designs, colors