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Invista boiler project reduces air emissions

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 2.50.18 PMCamden, N.J.—Invista, one of the world’s largest producers of polymers and fibers, is seeing a significant reduction in air emissions as a result of its fully operational natural gas boilers at its nylon fiber manufacturing site near Camden, N.J.

Because of the $30 million project, Invista Camden anticipates a reduction in more than 50,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to removing more than 9,500 passenger vehicles from the road, according to EPA.gov. In addition, Invista Camden expects a reduction in more than 1,250 tons per year of other air emissions.

“This project signifies INVISTA’s continuing commitment to environmental excellence,” said Juan Flores, site manager at the Invista Camden plant. “In addition to significantly reducing air emissions, we expect the new boiler system to also increase the efficiency of Camden’s power operation.”

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Invista Athens earns OSHA VPP STAR

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 9.29.04 AMAthens, Ga.—Invista’s Athens site has once again earned STAR status—the highest designation—under the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). Invista, which was first certified in 2012, is one of only three VPP STAR sites here.

“This designation represents our employees’ ongoing dedication to safety,” said Shauna Devereux, Invista Athens site manager. “Every day, we strive for 10,000% compliance, which means 100% of our employees comply with safety requirements and regulations 100% of the time.”

OSHA awarded the VPP STAR recertification to the Athens site after a thorough third-party audit of the site’s safety and health programs, operations performance and safety record.

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Invista hosts ‘Why I Sell Stainmaster’ contest

STAINMASTER Facebook

Kennesaw, Ga.—Invista has launched its first “Why I Sell Stainmaster” contest, which engages RSAs via Facebook and encourages them to share what makes them passionate about selling the Stainmaster brand. The contest is meant to inspire other RSAs and provide helpful selling techniques and tools. To enter, RSAs should visit http://bit.ly/stainmastercontest and post either a comment or video submission that answers the question: Why do you sell Stainmaster?

The winner will be chosen based on which post receives the most “likes.” Tim Millsaps, channel marketing manager for Stainmaster, highly recommends video submissions as they are “more personable and much more engaging.”

The RSA Facebook page will serve as an informational resource in addition to the contest’s submission site. Millsaps said the company’s posts will contain relevant and technical product information. “Unlike the consumer web page on Facebook, we’re not going to be posting once or twice daily. What we’re trying to do is maintain focus on providing meaningful and useful information about Stainmaster to the RSA—a behind-the-scenes look, the technology involved to help build affinity for the brand—and to help educate the RSA more fully than the information they get from our consumer focused communication efforts.”

The company’s recent research found that 90% of all retail sales associates own a smartphone and nearly 50% of the RSA population matches closely with the current age group of Facebook users. The company recognizes that RSAs might have some down time during the day and will use this opportunity to connect with them through a popular digital platform they already like and use.

“If we are able to use Facebook as a communication method, it’s an extra platform we can use to educate RSAs on our products in addition to other methods including email campaigns and in-store sessions,” Millsaps said.

“We don’t want to pester RSAs,” said Gary Johnston, senior marketing manager for Invista. “We want to provide them the product knowledge and tools we offer that will help them be better at what they do.”

The contest runs through Sept. 30 and winners will be announced Oct. 21. The first place winner will receive an Amazon gift card for $3,000. Second and third place winners will each receive an Amazon gift card for $500.

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Spring ahead with seasonal promotions

March 30/April 6, 2015; Volume 28/Number 19

By Nadia Ramlakhan

karastanpromoAfter weeks of below-freezing temperatures, snowstorms and icy roads, the floor covering industry is ready to make a comeback. Just in case the warmer weather isn’t enough incentive to get shoppers in the buying mood, both manufacturers and retailers are welcoming the season with sales in an effort to attract customers.

Couristan

Couristan’s annual Outdoor Living Merchandising promotion runs through June 30, offering deals on a number of outdoor and indoor area rugs. In addition, the promotion features two merchandising display options designed to help drive summer sales.

The Without Walls unit showcases all 13 of Couristan’s weather-resistant area rug collections and holds 40 2 x 4 area rugs, giving retailers the ability to customize their assortments while allowing consumers to browse easily. An optional base with wheels is also available for easy movement between outdoor and indoor retail spaces.

The Outdoor Living merchandising display box comes free with an order of 20 rugs from the Afuera, Monaco, Dolce, Five Season, Recife, Tides, Cape or Urbane collections.

Flooring America

Flooring America is holding its Hard to Beat Flooring Sale, featuring select hard surface products at a 30% discount until April 26. Consumers who spend $1,500 on hard surface products will receive a free iRobot Braava and 18-month financing.

“This promotion has caused an incredible amount of excitement throughout our membership,” said Keith Spano, president. “Our partnership with iRobot differentiates us from other retailers and clearly lets the consumer know that Flooring America and Flooring Canada are the destinations where fashion and technology come together.”

The Your Style, Your Way savings event will run during May and June, and offers up to 50% off on select Tigressa Softstyle, Tigressa Cherish and the new Tigressa H20 product lines. Consumers can also save up to $500 on an accompanying hard surface purchase, plus 18-month financing.

Karastan

The promotional period for the annual National Karastan Month will run from April 23 through June 8. The company is providing its retailers with extensive resources to showcase the brand’s signature styling and help attract customers, including national and retail advertising such as ready-to-use images, newspaper ads, magazine ads, direct mail inserts, radio scripts and web-based promotions. Also available are point-of-sale kits, finance offers, social media content, lead generation support and a cushion offer. In addition, the sale features manufacturer rebates for the consumer and product discounts on the season’s most popular trends.

Mirage

Mirage Promo PHOTOBeginning March 30, the Mirage Spring 2015 Rebate Sale will take place at nearly 2,000 retail locations throughout the U.S. and Canada through May 23. Consumers will receive a $0.50-per-square-foot rebate on all standard Mirage hardwood floors, including Mirage Classic, Mirage Engineered and Mirage Lock products regardless of species, color or width.

“Spring is the perfect time to begin remodel projects and new construction, so this event comes at a perfect time,” said Luc Robitaille, vice president of marketing for Boa-Franc, manufacturer of the Mirage brand. “Thanks to the rebate offered on all of our flooring during this sales event, it is the time to save big while enjoying the quality Mirage floors are known for.”

Mohawk

Mohawk’s annual Love Your Floor spring sale will run from March 27 through May 11 and is available exclusively for Floorscapes and ColorCenter retailers. The promotion offers product discounts and cushion options, cash-back incentives, consumer financing and enhanced Mohawk Infinite Reward points for RSAs. The company is also extending a full mix of national and local advertising support and updated point-of-sale kits to promote in-store.

According to Mike Zoellner, vice president of marketing services for Mohawk, stores that participate in Mohawk promotions historically show an increase in sales. “Retailers who participated in the fall Mohawk Anniversary Sale reported eight times the sales increase of non-participating retailers.”

Stainmaster/Invista

Invista has launched its 2015 Sit, Stay & Save Event for retail specialty stores. Until July 31, retail flooring specialty stores across North America can host this exclusive promotion designed to increase foot traffic and push sales, as well as generate community involvement. The event gives retailers the opportunity to hold a Stainmaster carpet sale in conjunction with a pet adoption event at their stores.

Invista will send participating stores a comprehensive merchandising kit containing POP and advertising materials, and will help them partner with a local ASPCA-affiliated pet shelter to host an adoption event on the day of the sale. Retailers can register online at stainmasterlink.com.

Shaw

Through its Capture the Spirit program, Shaw is offering its dealers and RSAs several roll and pallet promotions as well as extra earning incentives. Shaw’s spring promotions are designed to drive the sales of its new introductions and programs such as Caress Patterns, Anso Color Wall and Life Happens with LifeGuard backing.

“We want our dealers to take the spring promo opportunity to engage with those new introductions to help drive their businesses as well,” said Heather Yamada, director of consumer marketing and merchandising. “It’s our chance to teach and show the innovative design and technology that make this year’s intros so valuable for business.”

Deals for consumers

carpetlandusapromoWhile reaping the benefits from manufacturer promotions, retailers are also touting deals for their customers. For some, this season’s sales are a way to increase foot traffic after being forced to close due to snow days. “We’re hoping that everything is going to pan out,” said Gary Brown, owner of Carpet One Floor & Home in Springdale, Ark., whose spring promotions will focus on Relax It’s Lees carpet and Made in America hardwood. “We had a very strong January. February started really well, then the snow slowed things down a little bit. But I’m expecting a very strong first quarter.”

Brad Coty of Carpet Brokers of Missoula in Missoula, Mont., said after a long winter, people want to buy once the sun starts shining. “We always hold sales in the spring because it’s also tax return season, so if customers are thinking about doing something major in their homes it’s usually when they get that big check.” Coty makes spring cleaning easier for customers by offering 15% off carpet cleaning in March.

Aside from discounts on products and merchandising tools, other retail locations are offering labor and financing deals. At Carpetland USA in Davenport, Iowa, free labor is offered on any carpet purchase, excluding remnants and commercial grade, along with one-year no interest financing up until March 28. Other offers include 30% to 60% off hard surface materials and 25 free square feet of tile, hardwood, laminate and LVT with a purchase of 100 square feet.

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Invista names new regional managers for Stainmaster

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 12.40.23 PMKennesaw, Ga.—Invista Surfaces has promoted two employees into new roles to support Stainmaster carpet. Paul Adamske, national service manager, has accepted the role of regional manager for the Central U.S. territory. Sean Quigley, strategic account manager, has accepted the role of regional manager for the Eastern U.S. and Eastern Canada territories. Adamske and Quigley will work closely with Stainmaster strategic account managers to promote growth of the Stainmaster carpet fiber platforms and retailer programs.

“Paul and Sean have proven records of achievement in leading efforts to expand and support the Stainmaster carpet brand while servicing our Stainmaster Flooring Center and Stainmaster Showcase retailers,” said BiBi Lovell-Gadd, senior manager, specialty retail expansion team.

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Carpet: New innovations, processes refresh soft surface offerings

February 2/9, 2015; Volume 28/Number 16

By Ken Ryan

(First of two parts)

From advanced dyeing techniques to new manufacturing processes to the marketing strength of Stainmaster PetProtect, the carpet category created a buzz at Surfaces. A look at some of the top introductions:

Dixie Home

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 2.34.06 PMDixie Home expanded its Stainmaster PetProtect line with Rockport, available in a multicolor pattern, and Fantasia, a cut and loop that gives a high-end look like wool. Magic Moment and Serene Moment, two other new products, also come with the PetProtect system.

Paul Comiskey, president, said the prominent location on the main floor generated steady traffic. “We have seen all the major dealers. The reception has been very good.”

Stainmaster PetProtect, first launched in November 2013, saw resurgence in 2014. “There were two distinct jumps with PetProtect during the year,” he said. “It’s being marketed a lot better, and when national advertising kicked in, it took another jump.”

Engineered Floors/Dream Weaver

Dream Weaver Carpet and Engineered Floors introduced its line of nylon carpet—PureColor solution-dyed soft nylon fiber. This continues the same technology and benefits achieved with PureColor solution-dyed PET and PureColor PureSoft Cashmere solution dyed PET fibers. “We see this as the future of nylon carpet,” said James Lesslie, assistant to the chairman. “Our solution-dye technology has revitalized the polyester carpet market; now we are extending our solutiondyed manufacturing expertise to soft nylon fibers.” Unlike most nylon products currently on the market, Engineered Floors’ has built-in stain resistance throughout the polymer.

At Surfaces, the company introduced 12 products in varying color palettes, weights, styles and textures under the Dream Weaver brand. Triumphant Jamboree and Celebration Jubilee were two standouts. The space dye tufting Engineered uses in these collections creates a “flecking” that is interspersed throughout the carpet. “Flecking is really getting the most wow,” said Mike Sanderson, vice president of product marketing.

Show attendees also previewed new merchandising displays as well as a new PureColor soft nylon video that highlights the company’s large carpet production facility, known as the SAM plant.

Invista

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 2.34.00 PMMaggie Bidlingmaier, vice president, residential surfaces, called PetProtect “the hottest product in the soft surface category.” She would have few naysayers following Surfaces 2015, in which new mills added Stainmaster PetProtect to their programs and existing customers expanded their assortments.

Launched in November 2013, this expanded assortment and continued advertising, including TV spots, have really elevated the brand in the eyes of consumers. “We have a lot of momentum going, and maintaining the momentum is the goal at this show,” Bidlingmaier said. “Our goal is to be the premium choice in all carpet segments. Whichever segment you are in, the best choice is a Stainmaster carpet.”

Gary Johnston, senior marketing manager, said even if consumers don’t have pets, the product still has value because of the inherent stain resistance.

T.M. Nuckols, senior director of product strategy, performance surfaces, said in 2015 nine mills are launching PetProtect styles compared to only two last year. “That just shows the market reaction.”

Flooring dealers with PetProtect signage can tie in with an Invista-led pet adoption program run by the ASPCA. At the end of 2014, 300 retail locations participated, and Invista is looking to double that number this year. Invista will help dealers find the right animal shelter in their area.

In addition to PetProtect, several mills are coming out with new TruSoft products in 2015.

Lexmark

Tailored by Lexmark (FCNews, Jan. 5/12) drew a great deal of retail attention at Surfaces. The company said the technology fills the opening between everyday LCL products and expensive patterned goods with the end result being high style at a great value. It is tufted in 100% solution-dyed PET, which allows a range of looks, including wide plank wood.

“When you bring out something like this you have a good feel for it, but you never know,” said Ed Williams, president. “You have to grow up a little bit at a time. This is only our third year in residential.”

Marquis Industries

“Subtler, softer and more sophisticated is what is selling,” said Larry Heckman, CEO of Marquis Industries, which operates the Best Buy brand. The company’s new Soft Harmony and Soft Sensations products speak to this subtler, softer trend. Heckman said these offerings will provide dealers with a value price point ($8.99 to $10.99) that can move and make money. “Because chip polymer prices have come down, we can come out with some value prices.”

Mardi Gras is another introduction and features a cut pile, multi-color barber pole construction, tufted in the company’s Continuous Filament Solution Dyed Super Soft PET.

Phenix

Fresh off its incorporation into Pharr Yarns, Phenix came to Surfaces armed with its biggest introduction ever, according to Mark Clayton, CEO.

At the heart of these introductions is ColorSense, a proprietary process that delivers discrete yarn placement to produce a complex play of color. Clayton said individually colored yarns are carefully blended to achieve an overall balance of tone and fashioned into a sophisticated palette of multi-colored carpets.

“We positioned our company in the last couple years as a viable alternative for the customer and solidified that last year with retailers by building momentum,” Clayton said. “We want to expand our reach with independents but also increase our position with retail partners.”

Phenix’s new Artistry Collection, available in 40, 60 and 70 ounces, uses the ColorSense polyester fiber. Phenix also came out with new Stainmaster PetProtect carpets.

Stanton Carpet

Stanton debuted eight new products under the Atelier Icon brand that uses the Stainmaster PetProtect yarn system, marking the first time Stanton has marketed products under Stainmaster PetProtect. Additional introductions are scheduled for later in 2015, according to Jonathan Cohen, president.

In all, Stanton introduced 115 products. “We’re getting great feedback on everything we have here,” Cohen said.

Other introductions included the Block Island collection that features two wire Wilton patterns in undyed wool, with geometric patterns and a textural surface in five natural heathered tones. “We’re really trying to step it up with illustrious yarns and keep it in that wheelhouse of salable and different.”

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Antron teams with Tandus Centiva and Suzanne Tick to support Publicolor

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.18.32 PMDalton—Tandus Centiva has announced the Antron brand as a contributing supplier in its support of Publicolor to raise funding and awareness for the Publicolor Summer Design Studio. Suzanne Tick (STI) designs a collection of soft surface flooring products for Tandus Centiva. When a product from this collection is specified and purchased for an education project, Suzanne Tick and Tandus Centiva have each committed a $0.10 per square yard donation to Publicolor. Antron has committed to matching an additional $0.10 per square yard donation to Publicolor for products using Antron fiber.

“We are pleased to join Suzanne Tick and Tandus Centiva in supporting Publicolor,” said Marc Ahrens, vice president of Invista’s Antron brand. “We are committed to adding value to society, and Publicolor’s efforts to increase student achievement align with our vision and values.”

“We are thrilled and grateful to partner with Tandus Centiva, Antron and Publicolor’s trustee, Suzanne Tick, on this program to benefit Publicolor’s Summer Design Studio, our unique 7-week literacy and math immersion program for high-risk students whom we teach through the scaffold of product design,” said Ruth Lande Shuman, Publicolor’s founder and president.

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Signs indicate solid growth in most sectors next year

December 8/15, 2014; Volume 28/Number 12

Carpet

By K.J. Quinn

Like a mountain climber ascending closer to the summit, 2015 is expected to be the year when carpet finally reaches the heights industry pundits predicted would come soon.

And why not? The AIA Billing Index, multi-family housing starts, single-family new construction forecasts and other key economic reports point to a better year for construction spending in 2015.

A number of industry executives are cautiously optimistic carpet sales will grow 3% to 5% across the board in 2015, with growth varying by end-use sector.

James Lesslie Assistant to the chairman, Engineered Floors

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 2.17.50 PMIt’s difficult to predict 2015 specifics. However, we expect growth in hard surface options to continue putting pressure on carpet categories.

The builder and multi-family sectors remained strong during 2014, but residential replacement business overall seemed to be soft. For 2015 to show positive growth, residential replacement volume will need to pick up.

Invista expects another positive year in 2015, with growth coming from key nylon 6,6 programs, such as Stainmaster PetProtect, as well as the expansion of our branded polyester programs. We will continue driving the Stainmaster PetProtect program with an expanded product assortment and continued advertising. This has proven to be a successful approach in meeting a specific consumer need. We will also introduce a refreshed product offering in our TruSoft and Active Family product categories in 2015.

T.M. Nuckols Senior director, product strategy, Invista

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 2.17.56 PMIt’s difficult to predict 2015 specifics. However, we expect growth in hard surface options to continue putting pressure on carpet categories.

The builder and multi-family sectors remained strong during 2014, but residential replacement business overall seemed to be soft. For 2015 to show positive growth, residential replacement volume will need to pick up.

Invista expects another positive year in 2015, with growth coming from key nylon 6,6 programs, such as Stainmaster PetProtect, as well as the expansion of our branded polyester programs. We will continue driving the Stainmaster PetProtect program with an expanded product assortment and continued advertising. This has proven to be a successful approach in meeting a specific consumer need. We will also introduce a refreshed product offering in our TruSoft and Active Family product categories in 2015.

Paul Comiskey President, residential sales, The Dixie Group

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 2.18.03 PMWe expected 5% to 7% of real growth this year, and we’ve been roughly flat. The industry pundits were all wrong. As we go into next year, I think the carpet market will eventually pop open and we’ll have a good year. A lot of us are thinking maybe 2% to 3% growth.

I think in 2015 you will see the builder and multi-family segments grow faster than the residential sector. What’s interesting on the builder side is seeing if carpet will continue to get its share or lose share to LVT.

The residential business is strong at the high and low ends. The low end is driven by multi-family housing and first-time home ownership and seems to be doing pretty well. People are also updating their houses for sale and market resale seems to be very good.

We’ve been fortunate enough to grow somewhat faster than the industry, and we hope to do that again next year. We are making major investments in the wool side of the business, particularly with the Masland brand. We continue to invest in tufting equipment as we try to provide new and innovative products and develop new markets. In the high-end part of the residential market we’re seeing patterns expand, so investing in new tufting technology will enable us to move into two- and three-color patterns.

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State of the industry: Carpet looks to play catch-up in tough year

September 15/22, 2014; Volume 28/Number 7

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.17.06 AMThe carpet category grew both in dollars and units virtually every year for 50 years. But the flooring industry was then hit with the worst recession in its history, and since then carpet has been slowly on the mend.

According to carpet executives, by the end of 2014 housing starts will have recovered 70% of 2006 historical highs, with 93% by 2015. The carpet industry has recently rebounded somewhat following a brutal, weather-related slump during the first two months of this year, albeit not as robustly as some had hoped.

“Most of us agree that, on average, the carpet industry in 2014 is up modestly overall after a 2013 that was up 3% to 4% over the previous year,” said Karel Vercryussen, president and CEO, Beaulieu America. “That’s not exactly a cause for celebration, but it’s encouraging in terms of sales and shipments. But, when considering where carpet has been heading these last several years, there is cause for some celebration.”

Tom Lape, president of residential, Mohawk, said there is, in fact, good news out there. “Consumers are coming back, and they are shopping.” He cited some encouraging housing and economic data as well, including existing homes under contract are the highest in 11 months, new home sales are bouncing back and mortgage applications are higher. “Mortgage apps were down double digits early in the first quarter and have bounced back.”

Noting that the residential carpet segment has been playing catch-up following the dismal start to 2014, Shaw president Randy Merritt sees the overall category as “close to flat” at this point. “The average selling price of carpet is down slightly for the first time in several years due to the influx of PET at lower prices and the general weakness in the remodel segment. The winter of 2014 was exceptionally harsh across the country and led to the slow start of the year. We believe this slowed the new home construction process, and we will need a strong finish to the builder business.”

Lape and others talked about a bifurcated market in which the commodity end of the category and the premium side are showing buoyancy while the middle of the market is most challenging.

Overall, James Leslie, assistant to the chairman at Engineered Floors, suggested macro forces favor an upward trend in buying. “There is pent-up demand out there. Even with millennials starting families later and buying homes later, there will be a breakout. The macro forces indicate it is going to happen. We feel we are in the best part of the year right now–September and October.”

Larry Heckman, president of Best Buy Flooring, agreed there is pent-up demand out there, but suspects some of the reluctance on the part of consumers is the result of unsettling events in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. “As soon as we get some [positive] news, we’ll have people spending money and buying. The overall pulse I get is that we’re up as a market.”Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.17.43 AM

In 2008, carpet represented 51.3% of the industry, according to FCNews estimates. By 2011, that number was 47.4%; by 2013 it was 46.9%. No one denies the gains being made by hard surfaces at the expense of soft surfaces, particularly in high-traffic areas in the home where hardwood flooring and LVT are being put down as “easy-to-care-for” alternatives.

“The multi family business is an example of where we are seeing more LVT going in places where carpet used to go,” Merritt said.

T.M. Nuckols, senior director of product strategy at Invista, added that LVT is taking away share from carpet by creating looks at price points previously not available in hard surface offerings.

Fiber

Polyester has grown significantly during the past several years at the expense of other fibers, especially nylon, and executives see that trend continuing.

As well, polyester has evolved from a nice value alternative to nylon to a strategic component of every carpet manufacturer’s overall product offering. Vercryussen said polyester is also shedding its image as the low-price fiber and is steadily closing in on nylon in terms of acceptance driven by improved performance.

Mohawk’s view is that its own triexta fiber and polyester are the growth platforms in today’s market. “Polyester really sets the foundation combo of value and performance,” Lape said. “We believe triexta is at the top of the pyramid for performance characteristics and design and styling, particularly the soft attributes. You can’t get that softness in nylon and polyester.”

Executives agreed that nylon, which still dominates the commercial marketplace, is not going away. “We recognize that even though polyester has come a long way since its introduction, there are still many dealers and consumers who prefer nylon,” Vercryussen said. “We think consumers are more ‘fiber agnostic’ these days, thanks to advances in polyester technology and similar warranties between nylon and polyester carpeting.”

Merritt said excess capacity in PET today is contributing to a very competitive environment. “There is very little staple polyester being sold. The industry is now predominantly filament—nylon, PET and some polypropylene.”

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.18.33 AMEd Williams, president at Lexmark Carpet, said the surge polyester has enjoyed in recent years may be slowing a bit; and with multi-family as one of the stronger segments, momentum may be swinging back toward nylon, at least in that sector. “In talking to various people there is a lot of work being done in the nylon area on the part of the mills,” Williams said.

Trends and innovations

The soft craze that hit the market a few years ago shows no signs of abating, and manufacturers are seizing that opportunity with ever-softer products that are resonating with consumers who can literally feel the difference. According to Merritt, credit goes to advances in tufting technology, which continues to evolve and produce aesthetically pleasing, stylish patterns. “Carpet is generally a soft product today—softer than ever.”

To meet the growing need for soft, Beaulieu America recently introduced two entries into the popular super-soft category: Bliss Vivid and Bliss Hypnotic. Both products are companion textures made of Tryelle, the super-soft PET filament fiber.

Best Buy’s Heckman said consumers are buying into the ultra-soft trend as long as the product delivers on performance with the latest in designs and colors, such as earth tones, brown grays and tan grays.

Nuckols said while ultra-soft products are hot, there is still a market for products that are soft, but not quite ultra soft.

In the meantime, innovation is the engine that is driving this soft trend.

Mohawk, for example, is reinvesting and expanding its triexta platform with up to 100 launches planned. “Triexta now plays in all levels of the market, all distribution channels,” Lape said. “It was launched in the ‘06 time period, which means it was launched in the face of the biggest downturn ever in flooring. That shows the legs of this product.”

Commercial

The commercial segment is up slightly in dollars in 2014 when compared to 2013, and probably flat to slightly down in units, according to industry executives.Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.18.58 AM

Jack Ganley, president of Mannington Commercial, said 2014 started off sluggish as companies took a wait-and-see approach before releasing dollars for capital projects. This hesitation was largely due to continued economic uncertainty.

Lee Martin, president of Masland Contract, a unit of The Dixie Group, said the overall commercial segment is somewhat more active than 2013 and certainly stronger than 2012. “My feeling is that the commercial segment is up in dollars and probably flat to a small increase in yards,” he said.

Much of the commercial growth is in hospitality and assisted living, although the overall healthcare segment has experienced a slowdown in growth, Ganley said, as that sector waits to fully understand the implications of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“We continue to see moderate growth in both the corporate and retail sectors, along with higher education,” he said. “Publicly funded K-12 and acute care facilities are lagging.”

Ganley said one of the major innovations/trends shaping the market in 2014 is the combination of carpet and hard surfaces. This blend, he said, “can increase long-term appearance retention through the installation of hard surfaces in high-traffic areas of a project, transitioning beautifully to carpet in open areas of a floor plan.”

As modular carpet continues to grow and take share from broadloom—it now represents about 50% of the commercial market—executives said there is increasing interest in different size formats and shapes. Additionally, there is “a fresh interest in innovative yarn processing to create unique textures and visuals,” Ganley said.

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RSAs honored in Stainmaster PetProtect contest

neal glazier
Neal Glazier and pet

Kennesaw, Ga.Invista is awarding $1,000 each to nine retail sales associates (RSAs) in North America who participated in its aligned retailer Stainmaster PetProtect photo contest.

“We thought the contest would be a fun way to recognize RSAs for their support of Stainmaster PetProtect carpet,” said Melissa Minihan, vice president of marketing for Stainmaster carpet. “Every day, RSAs are educating consumers about the unique benefits Stainmaster PetProtect carpet offers when it comes to solving pet issues in the home. We’re pleased with the product’s success in the marketplace and appreciate RSAs for sharing our story with their customers.”

The winners:

  • Neal Glazier, Schoch Tile and Carpet, Cincinnati
  • Brooke Johnson, The Floor Store of Va., Sterling, Va.
  • Andrea Lefebvre, Modern Group, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Morgan McCall, Barnards Carpet One, Delray Beach, Fla.
  • Crystal McLaren, Fitz Flooring Ltd, Invermere, British Columbia
  • Tonya Montgomery, Avalon Flooring, Brick, N.J.
  • Kim Peterson, RC Willey, Riverdale, Utah
  • James K. Rinchich, G. Fried Flooring America, Sarasota, Fla.
  • Jean Thimmesch, Excelsior Paint & Design Carpet One, Excelsior, Minn.

Entering the contest was easy. RSAs had to strike a pose with their pet wearing a Stainmaster PetProtect carpet pet tag and upload the photo to a special website. Judges awarded winners based on creativity and how the RSAs featured their pet in the photo. View the winning photos at http://www.stainmasterlovesyourpet.com/welcome2.html