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Sealy Reports 11.8 Percent Sales Growth

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 Sealy Mattress Corp. has reported net sales of $364.6 million for the fourth quarter ended Nov. 27, an increase of 13.2 percent over $322 million for the same period last year.

Net income for the quarter was $16.6 million compared to $12.2 million during the same quarter last year.

For the year, Sealy reported net sales of $1,469.6 million, an increase of $155.6 million or 11.8 percent from $1,314.0 million in fiscal 2004. Annual net income was $73.7 million or 5 percent of sales, as compared to a net loss of $38.3 million a year earlier.

The 2004 net loss included a pretax charge of $133.1 million for recapitalization expenses.

"We are pleased with our 2005 results," said David J. McIlquham, Sealy's chairman and chief executive officer. "During the year, Sealy generated record sales levels as a result of continued strong consumer demand for our brands worldwide and new product introductions. That strong demand combined with our continuing focus on improving efficiencies in our facilities and our ongoing focus on working capital improvements allowed us to reduce our debt."

New Kroger Format to Include Furniture

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 The grocery giant Kroger is looking to unveil and expand its Marketplace concept, which includes furniture in its merchandise lineup, later this year with two stores just outside its hometown Cincinnati market, according to published reports.

The company plans to add eight more such stores by 2008. The Marketplace stores combine grocers with nationally branded furniture, linens and dinnerware.

Kroger currently operates 30 similar 110,000-square-foot stores in Phoenix and other Western cities.

About 40 percent of the Marketplace floor space is dedicated to nonfood items and products that consumers replace regularly, such as kitchen appliances, dinnerware, ready-to-assemble furniture, linens and decorative items likes picture frames, lamps and area rugs. Brands will include national names such as KitchenAid and Ashley furniture, as well as Kroger's in-house labels.

Marshall Field's to Convert to Macy's Name in September

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 Long-time, well-loved Marshall Fields will become Macy's on Sept. 9 and 10, 2006, according to Federated Department Stores chief Terry J. Lundgren.

Although the decision to convert all Field's stores to the Macy's banners was a controversial one, Lundgren has big plans for the Macy's chain, saying that he wants to advertise the new name in new ways so that it becomes a national icon rather than a traditional department store.

Goore's Opens Young America Signature Shop

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 Goore's Furniture and Accessories for Babies to Teens has opened a Young America Signature Shop in its Sacramento, Calif., store.

The signature shop, dedicated to Young America product, takes up about 2,000 square feet of the Goore's 32,000-square-foot store.

The store within a store features the Young America Built to Grow story through vignettes, a design area and a children's play area. Videos with stories about real children provide parents with information about the furniture in terms of style, safety and durability.

The design area incorporates accessory and bedding displays and is adjacent to the play area so parents can see their children while navigating, which includes photography of every piece in more than 20 collections. Parents can print out the selections they are considering, and when they are ready to place an order, a Goore's associate can determine instantly whether the furniture is in stock.

"Today's fashionable moms are interested in more than just buying furniture," said Ken Goore, president of Goore's. "They want to create an environment for their child. The Young America Signature Shop simplifies the process of choosing furniture that will grow with the child. Parents can see firsthand how pieces that are perfect for their infant today will work wonderfully for their teen in the years ahead. And at Goore's, we help complete the room with lamps, accessories, wall hangings, bedding and rugs."

Glenn Prillaman, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Young America, said parents want furniture that suits their child's personality.

"A child's room is a reflection of a future self," Prillaman said. "Parents are choosing furniture that not only suits their little ones today but that will adapt to reflect their unique personalities in the future. Moms can envision the atmosphere they want to create, but they want help putting together a total package to create a well-designed room for their child."

Environmental Sustainable Products Council to Meet

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 Started last October at the High Point Market, the Sustainable Furniture Council is making strides toward changes in the furniture industry by encouraging manufacturers to promote sustainable forestry and sourcing practices.

The council is planning a meeting during April market in High Point, but the time and place has not yet been determined.

Since the last meeting, Gerry Cooklin, chief executive of South Cone Furniture and the founder of the SFC, said all of the company's that attended have been contacted about membership levels and benefits.

"The response has been fantastic," he said. "We are also developing a memorandum of understanding with the Rainforest Alliance, that spells out the assistance and benefits they can offer to Council members."

The alliance works with companies and organizations in bringing responsibly produced goods to the marketplace.

"The Rainforest Alliance is very excited to see an industry led initiative to encourage and promote sustainable forestry and sourcing practices," said Daphne Hewitt, project manager for the Rainforest Alliance's TREES program. "We're looking forward to working with council members as they realize the benefits of this important initiative."

The SFC has two objectives – to assist manufacturers in adopting sustainable practices, and to promote sustainable products.

Cooklin said to meet the first objective, the SFC will guide members to full certification under wood harvesting standards established by the Forest Stewardship Council – the most respected sustainability standards in the world.

"Members who achieve certification will then join together to educate consumers about the value of sustainable products and show retailers how sustainable furniture raises their profile with a very desirable consumer demographic," Cooklin said. "The market for sustainable goods is growing quickly."
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