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McKee Key Addition For Robb and Stucky

By Home Furnishings Business in on January 2006 Robb and Stucky added a furniture veteran with 30 years of experience to their executive roster this week, as it brought Stephen McKee onboard as its senior vice president and chief merchandise officer.

McKee most recently served as president and chief executive officer for Henredon Furniture Industries before joining The Fort Myers, Fla.-based home furnishings retailer. Previous to that post, McKee held several senior management positions at Gabberts Furniture and Design Studio and The Home Company.

"Robb & Stucky is poised in a terrific position in this industry and has the opportunities for continued growth and success in the future," McKee said in a company announcement released Thursday.

Lifestyle Premieres Youth Bedroom

By Home Furnishings Business in on January 2006 by Powell Slaughter

If you're going to foot the bill to bring hundreds of retailers to High Point, best give them something new to see, and that's what Lifestyle Enterprise did during the minimarket this week.

Fresh sights to see at the Forbidden City showroom included a forceful entry into the hot youth bedroom category.

The youth introduction featured seven bedroom styles, with bunks ranging from $499 to $699 at retail, and student desks that run from $399 to $599.

"I sat down and drew up this entire program in a matter of days," said Greg Noe, chief operating officer and group president at Lifestyle. "I worked with our CAD program to develop this with our source plants in Asia to have it ready in time."

Kathwari Steps Up as Chairman of NRF

By Home Furnishings Business in on January 2006 Farooq Kathwari, chairman, president and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors, has stepped up as chairman of the National Retail Federation.

Kathwari had been first vice chairman of the largest retail trade association in the U.S. He succeeds Arnold Zetcher, chairman, president and CEO of The Talbots.

Federated To Close Five Distribution Centers

By Home Furnishings Business in on January 2006 Federated Department stores will close five of its 31 distribution centers this year as part of its ongoing consolidation to realign its Macy's operating divisions.

The closings and consolidation will cost the company about $1 billion over the next three years. The company said it expects to realize about $175 million in cost synergies this year and $450 million in 2007 and beyond because of the May Co. merger.

Distribution center consolidations are consistent with Federated's previously announced estimates to realize approximately $175 million in cost synergies in 2006 and $450 million in annual cost synergies in 2007 and beyond as a result of the May Company merger.

The closings will impact 750 employees. The centers in Manchester, Conn., and Baltimore will close in June. Centers in Aurora, Colo., Portland, Ore., and Salt Lake City, will close in August.

"Advances in logistics and distribution center technology allow us to handle a larger volume of goods more effectively with fewer facilities that are more regional in nature," Tom Cole, Federated vice chairman, said in a release issued this week. "Streamlining our distribution center network to reduce redundancy and expense also is important to our ability to deliver value to our customers and shareholders."

The company will offer affected employees transfers to other Federated facilities, and severance packages will be provided to employees laid off as a result of the closings.

Expanded Outlet for Sleep Number Beds

By Home Furnishings Business in on January 2006 Specialty bedding manufacturer and retailer Select Comfort has expanded its partnership with two of the largest bedding retailers to market its Sleep Number beds in more stores.

Sleepy's and Mattress Firm announced this week a commit to boost the store counts that carry the Sleep Comfort Sleep Number line. The 123 additional stores are expected to have the product in stock by March.

According to a company statement issued Thursday, the additional store count expands the availability of the Sleep Number bed to 431 retail partner doors nationwide.

Minneapolis-based Select Comfort sells its product through about 400 Select Comfort stores, retail partnerships like the ones with Sleepy's and Mattress Firm, through direct marketing and via its Web site.

Sleepy's, based in Bethpage, N.Y., will now carry the Sleep Number bed in 138 stores throughout the Northeast. The retailer introduced the line at 45 of its Long Island stores in August. Sleepy's is Select Comfort's largest retail partner and operates about 400 stores.

Houston-based Mattress Firm, an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, will add the product to 30 of its Florida stores, expanding its distribution to 75 locations in three states. The retailer also introduced the Sleep Number line to select stores in August.

"We are very excited about the expanded relationship with Select Comfort and believe it will help both companies increase volume and expand market share," said Mike Bookbinder, executive vice president of Sleepy's, in the release.

Mattress Firm, an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., will add the Sleep Number bed to 30 of its Florida-based stores, expanding their distribution to 75 locations in three states. In August 2005, Mattress Firm introduced the Sleep Number bed at 45 of its stores located in Atlanta, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. The bedding retailer operates over 250 company-owned stores in 22 markets and supports an additional 50 franchisee locations in eight markets.

"Customer response has been extremely positive to the Sleep Number bed in the markets where we've introduced it, and we're excited to expand its availability within the Mattress Firm chain," said Steve Stagner, Mattress Firm's chief operating officer, in the release. "Our commitment is to offer the broadest selection and best customer experience in the industry, and the Sleep Number bed is an important addition to our mix."

Keith Spurgeon, Select Comfort senior vice president and general manager, said the initial phase of the relationship with Sleepy's and Mattress Firm was on track and the expansion of distribution was on target.

"By gradually increasing the availability of the Sleep Number bed at these retail locations, we are able to provide their sales professionals with the training necessary to support consumer interest in our products and help ensure our mutual success over the long-term," Spurgeon said in the release.
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