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Fall promos encourage a fresh start

Volume 28/Number 6; September 1/8, 2014

By Jenna Lippin

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.46.09 AMWith fall comes an opportunity to take time to start new projects, which, for many, includes new flooring. A number of leading manufacturers and buying groups consider a new season the perfect opportunity to offer incentives that will drive traffic into stores. FCNews spoke with some of these companies about a number of the top promotions to be featured in the coming months.

Abbey Carpet & Floor/Floors to Go

Abbey’s National Gold Tag Flooring Sale and Floors To Go’s National Flooring Extravaganza Sale, which will both run Oct. 1-31, include all the tools to help members plan a successful sale event. A free POP kit is available to participating dealers, which includes signage and sales tags. Options include selecting promotional products (a number of manufacturers are included in the events), re-pricing floors, creating showroom flyers, promoting the sales via member sites and advertising planning. Both groups also offer an option to participate in a direct mail marketing campaign to help promote sales events.

Beaulieu America

Beaulieu America will be continuing its Perfection Is Yours American Express reward card promotion through the fall, with the program concluding Jan. 3, 2015.

Qualifying Beaulieu America dealers will earn a $200 American Express reward card for selling multiples of 200 yards of qualifying Beaulieu America styles during the promotion.

There are a variety of Beaulieu America carpet collections and styles included in the program; among them are Bliss Perfection, Bliss Magic Fresh, Bliss Healthy Touch, Bliss Stainmaster with Magic Fresh, Bliss Indulgence and more.

Dealers should see their Beaulieu representatives for details and how to qualify.

Carpet One Floor & Home

Carpet One Floor & Home’s new collection of pink ribbon welcome mats—available in participating stores Oct. 1—marks the group’s 10th year of supporting breast cancer research. Twenty-five percent of the sale price of each mat is donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).

The Carpet One Welcomes Your Support campaign has been raising funds to support organizations and researchers searching for a cure since 2004. This year’s collection includes 15 new designs that make a statement of support in any home.

The collection will also include 12 designs created by interior design experts. These interior designers and stylists have tapped into their design styles and personal inspiration to create the first Designer Series of pink ribbon welcome mats. Each designer collaborated with Carpet One Floor & Home to develop a mat design that represented himself/herself.Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.46.17 AM

Flooring America

Through Sept. 15, consumers can buy select styles of Downs carpet in Flooring America stores at sale prices and receive free installation as part of the Free Installation Event. According to management, the Downs reputation for superior construction, exclusive styling and exceptional performance makes it a go-to brand for consumers, and they can now have it installed without any extra work or any extra costs.

The One Price Covers It All campaign, which will run from Oct. 2 to Nov. 11, will feature sale prices and no charges for extras on select Resista and Resista Soft carpet offered in Flooring America stores. Sale features include free room measure and estimate, free carpet delivery, free carpet and pad rip out and haul away, free furniture moving, and the first Stanley Steemer cleaning at no charge (at participating stores).

Karastan

National Karastan Month, which always occurs during the fall months, will run this year from Sept. 25 through Nov. 10. Mohawk is providing Karastan retailers with extensive resources to showcase the brand’s signature styling and help attract customers, including national advertising, retail advertising—including ready-to-use images, newspaper ads, magazine ads, direct mail inserts, radio scripts and web-based promotions—point-of-sale kits, finance offers, Imagination program and a cushion offer. The sale features consumer rebates and product discounts on the season’s most popular trends.

Mohawk

The upcoming annual Mohawk Anniversary Sale is exclusively available for Floorscapes and ColorCenter retailers. The promotion will run from Sept. 12 through Oct. 27 and offers a number of valuable incentives, including product discounts and cushion offers, cash-back incentives, consumer finance offers and enhanced Mohawk Infinite Reward points. The company is also extending a full mix of national and local advertising support and updated, eye-catching point-of-sale kits to promote in store.

Shaw

Shaw’s annual 30 Days of HGTV Home promotion features special financing and will run through Sept. 30. This year the company is offering 30 months of financing during the 30-day promotion. For retail sales associates, incentives have been added to HGTV Home flooring products by Shaw. Shaw will have social media support with daily giveaways during the promotional period.

Shaw’s second promotion for fall, Floor Now, Pay Later, will take place from Oct. 1 through Nov. 10. Also centered around finance, Shaw will be offering 24-month financing plus a $150 manufacturer’s rebate. This promotion will receive national advertising support and daily giveaways posted on Shaw’s social media sites. Dealers will have complete advertising packages and marketing materials. For the retail sales associate, Shaw has incentivized all Anso nylon products during the promotional period.

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Dealers optimistic about fall selling season

Volume 28/Number 6; September 1/8, 2014

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.42.40 AMThe harsh 2014 winter that disrupted business for many flooring dealers is but a distant memory, replaced by optimism built on a strong summer and the prospect of a robust fall selling season.

FCNews spoke to several flooring dealers who said business is good—in most cases exceeding expectations—and the outlook for the fall is even better.

Abbey Carpets Unlimited – Napa, Calif.

Not even a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Napa—the largest earthquake to strike Northern California in 25 years—can shake the momentum that Abbey Carpets Unlimited has been experiencing.

“We have been busy all summer and I only see our business increasing as fall arrives,” said owner Janice Clifton. “It might be a little hard to judge actual numbers this year because of the [Aug. 24] earthquake. I’m sure quite a bit of our business will be related to quake damage, but, even without that business, we are seeing a positive trend in sales across the total line of products. Once again, in our area we are seeing a much larger increase in hard surface versus soft surface floors.”

Enhance Floors & More – Marietta, Ga.

Elisabeth Stubbs, co-owner, is “extremely optimistic” about sales this fall. “In fact, other than January and February—horrible, horrible winter weather in Atlanta—2014 has been excellent,” she said. “Once spring began to arrive, sales became very steady and consistent.

“Another reason for our optimism is that we are moving into a new, larger (by 2,000 square feet) design center later this month. We are bringing in quite a few new product lines and will have some exciting grand opening specials from our vendor partners. And that will be on top of other events that we will participate in, such as the Mohawk Anniversary Sale, National Karastan Month, Shaw’s 30 Days of HGTV Home and the Shaw Floor Now, Pay Later promotion. We believe anyone who has been waiting and dreaming about their new floors will have no good reason not to purchase this fall.”

Through July 2014, Enhance’s sales are up almost 9% from the year-ago period, Stubbs said. “Hardwood flooring and luxury vinyl are up. We also do kitchen and bathroom remodels, and those are up significantly as well. Carpet is down a little, but we are selling more higher-end carpets. Tile and laminate are flat.”

Dillabaugh’s Flooring America – Boise, Idaho

“We’re looking at things remaining much the same as they’ve been—which is good,” said Casey Dillabaugh, vice president. “We’ve had one of the busiest summers in recent history, not just from a new construction standpoint, but also from a retail and commercial standpoint. When you factor all aspects of our business, we expect much of the same growth to continue, which is roughly 10% to 15% over the previous year. We’re seeing more and more clients wanting the full renovation experience, whether it be for one room or the entire home, and our ability to service that with flooring, granite, cabinets and window coverings definitely helps us continue to grow.”

Carpetland USA – Davenport, Iowa

Eric Langan, who operates nine stores in Iowa and Illinois, believes the fall selling season will be slightly above average this year. “We lost sales this spring due to the severe and lengthy winter in the Midwest. Since then, we have seen an above average summer and I believe we will see something similar this fall in regards to sales.”

Redi Carpet – Stafford, Texas

Redi Carpet specializes in the apartment industry, which means summer is its high season. “Our business this year is running 8% ahead of last year, including our summer season, which will wind down after this month,” said Jerry Hosko, president and COO. “Business overall this year has been good but not as robust as 2012 and 2013.”

Contract Furnishings Mart – Tigard, Ore.

Matt Bechtold, operations manager, said this National Floorcovering Alliance member is expecting a solid fall. “Business has been good so far this year, and we haven’t seen any signs that would lead us to believe it won’t continue. I do expect carpet sales to be soft as more and more customers are looking for hard surface products.”

Carpetland ColorTile – Rockford, Ill.

Housing starts are up in the Midwest, and although overall building permits are down, Carpetland ColorTile is seeing substantial growth in the nearby region with corporate and education renovations and new construction, according to Kevin Rose, president. “Cranes are moving again, [you can see changes in] part of the skyline in downtown Chicago, and that is exciting for us. I expect a strong end of the year and a solid first quarter into 2015. The retail and commercial sectors are both strong, and I don’t see that declining anytime soon. Hopefully the Feds will keep the interest rates low into 2015 and the economy can continue to slowly grow with more new hirings.”

Ron Dunn, co-CEO, Alliance Flooring

Management of the group that operates under the CarpetsPlus and ColorTile brands is optimistic about the remainder of the year. “Based on the analysts we pay attention to and the RV tour we just completed, I would project sales will be up for those who go after them,” Dunn said. “There are plenty of reasons for this. Housing starts are up, which is the No. 1 indicator for our industry. New construction in general is up. Sales movement in existing homes is up. Remodeling is up.

“However, one of the problems independent retailers are experiencing is more and more consumers of all age groups are buying from the big box stores and national chains. Still, there is strong opportunity. Sales activity as a whole will likely be up 5% to 7%. This will be a strong fall for those who have not lost their competitive spirit and have established competitive advantages with their businesses.”

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Brisk fall for new product introductions

Volume 28/Number 6; September 1/8, 2014

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.36.31 AMSurfaces remains the preeminent launch pad for new flooring products, but the fall selling season for 2014 is proving to be fairly brisk as well with several manufacturers introducing new offerings for distributors and the specialty retail channel.

For example, Armstrong is beefing up its signature laminate and hardwood flooring lines. The company is adding to its Architectural Remnants laminate collection with Global Reclaim, 18 unique planks blending reclaimed exotic wood looks—apple wood, eucalyptus and maple—with dusty blush tones.

Within its Rustics Premium collection, Armstrong is introducing Forestry Mix, “a harmonious blend” of hickory, white oak and red oak, along with three colors, all with 24 planks displaying the varied stain characteristics of each species. To round out the new laminate offerings, Millwork Block features 18 planks that resemble premium oak strips, assembled into planks, glazed with stain and enhanced by an undulating surface treatment.

In addition, Armstrong is adding walnut and cherry to its popular American Scrape hardwood collection. The new floors have a lighter, more refined scrape with rich colors and wide planks resembling a vintage hand-scraped floor. The new walnut and cherry floors—available in 6-inch wide planks—include a light scraping style combining hand-crafted and timeworn textures.

Congoleum

Timeless from Congoleum is a new luxury vinyl plank and tile line scheduled to launch in October. Inspired by nature, Timeless recreates the finest intricate graining and textures with more than 100 wood and stone options that range from refined to rustic. The line features 45 Degree, a diagonal plank design that allows for a full diagonal floor or a unique herringbone or chevron. The Impressions collection from Timeless combines classic wood visuals with a natural leaf pattern overlay. These designs can be used alone or in combination with the Hickory pattern for a customized look.

DuChateau

Two new fall introductions are Olde Grey from the Riverstone collection and Weathered Black from Vinyl Deluxe Click. Olde Grey is an evolution of hand-sculpted hardwood flooring that blends in with both old and new interiors. Hand distressing and raised knots give Riverstone “a raw and organic contour that feels rustic yet modern,” the company said.

Olde Grey includes light and dark shades, hand sculpting around the wood knots, and wire brushing to create a finer texture.

Vinyl DeLuxe Click, DuChateau’s signature LVT featuring realistic texture, pattern and color, is intended to create the rich warmth of natural hardwood in a durable, low-maintenance alternative to its wood flooring collections.

FloorFolio

FloorFolio Industries is debuting a click flooring product for the first time. FloorFolio Click is marketed as a durable installation system featuring a snap-and-lock method with no need for an adhesive.

“Even though FloorFolio is late in the game to launch our click product, we felt we needed to be able to introduce a product that conformed to our core values of this company,” said Michael Freedman, president and CEO. “With FloorFolio Click, it certainly lives up to those expectations.”

FloorFolio Click is available in all wood and stone collections.

Horizon Floors

Horizon Floors is expanding its Montage European Oak series with the introduction of the Ferno collection, a distressed, handcrafted, lightly brushed hardwood floor with an eco-friendly natural oil finish. “Each plank enhances the inherent grain patterns of European oak and creates a classic look,” said Alex Shaoulpour, president.

Ferno will be sold through the company’s national distribution network.Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.37.01 AM

Inhaus/Classen

Inhaus by Classen is taking the wraps off a high-tech flooring product called “Neo,” which is Latin for “new.” Neo is created with wood-based biological materials without PVC, is free of chemicals such as chlorine or phthalates and is highly water resistant.

The product combines natural wood and food-safe polypropylene to create a highly stable substrate. The new production technology enables successful manufacturing without the use of additives such as plasticizer or chlorine and has the added benefit of no additional chemicals to off-gas into the home or environment.

“We view Neo as having the good attributes of laminate,” said Derek Welbourn, CEO. “The product is very robust and scratch resistant. It installs like a laminate, snaps together like a laminate but is similar to floating LVT, and highly water resistant.”

IVC US

IVC US is looking to “breathe new life” into the laminate category with Balterio—36 products arranged in three different style categories, including Traditions, Heritage and Metropolitan, with 12 new SKUs in each line.

The products are available in 8mm and 12mm thickness and varying plank sizes. Balterio offers a high-density core for dimensional stability, and is wear and moisture resistant. With IVC US’ PressXpress click locking mechanism, which was developed in-house, Balterio’s installation can be completed up to 50% faster than that of other laminate products.

Karndean

Karndean is launching LooseLay Series 3 with six new SKUs. Jenne Ross, product manager, said the new release is due to “overwhelming demand.” The products launch in mid-October.

Karndean is also introducing a new line of design strips compatible with the company’s portfolio of glue down planks and tiles. “Our design strips create a customized look that coordinates with any interior finish,” Ross said. “Furthermore, they are made from LVT, which means there’s no need to worry about cracking, discoloration or harboring dirt.”

In conjunction with these new products, Karndean is offering a bi-fold presenter sales tool. Each bi-fold presenter includes a physical sample of the new strips to help retailers sell Karndean product.

Kronotex

The company is making a big splash with its new American Concepts laminate flooring. The 57-SKU collection encompasses 7mm square edge to 12mm embossed-in-register handscraped products with a four-sided bevel and attached pad.

American Concepts’ “best of the best” wood visuals are intended to give independent dealers a brand and collection that will resonate with customers, and appeal to those who want to buy Made in the USA products.

Metroflor

For fall 2014, Metroflor will introduce Engage Premier Plank. With a 4.0mm gauge and an 8 mil wear layer with ceramic bead, Premier rounds out the “good” level of the company’s good (Premier)/better (Engage Essentials)/best (Engage Select and Reserve) platform.

The nine Engage Premier SKUs consist of maple and weathered, distressed oak looks with a fashion-forward modern wash.

“The Engage spectrum comes full circle with the addition of Premier,” said Russ Rogg, Metroflor president and CEO. “Its residential good looks coupled with Engage LVT’s performance attributes— easy, fast installation and low maintenance—offer the perfect package for both residential and light commercial applications, especially multi-family units and private offices.”

Engage Premier Plank is warrantied for 12 years residential, three years light commercial.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.37.33 AMMirage

Mirage has expanded its accessories portfolio with a new square-edged stair nosing line. The principal advantage of the new collection is its ability to adapt to contemporary designs without sacrificing the sturdiness and quality of Mirage moldings. The product is available on maple and red oak in 5- and 6 ½-inch widths with semigloss and Cashmere finishes in seven colors.

Mirage has also expanded its Imagine and Herringbone collections. The Papyrus, Linen and Rock Cliff lines in Imagine are now available in 3¼- and 4¼-inch widths on Old Maple with Cashmere finish. The company’s successful Herringbone Collection now includes a 5-inch width. Fourteen color options on different species within Herringbone are now available on special orders of at least 500 or 1,000 square feet, depending on the product.

Mohawk

The demand for commercial business continues to expand, particularly for modular carpet. To take full advantage of this opportunity, Mohawk’s Aladdin Commercial unit is launching six new products for specialty dealers.

Contemplate features seven solution-dyed nylon colorations that interweave to create visual depth and surface interaction.

Ruminate is an elongated, variegated loop pattern consisting of seven mottled multi-colorations.

Sweeping Gestures reflects the random, flowing weathering that occurrs in nature, while Onward Bound is based on urban architectures and landscapes.

Lastly, Commingle and Compound is composed of neutral colors mixed in with randomly chosen end-of-lot yarns diverted from Mohawk’s excess yarn lots.