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Industry Updates
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Part 3


Harlee International has introduced a new designer line of pine futon frames. The Sergio Dante Collection was shown for the first time at the Futon Expo in New Orleans. "They were the hottest items in our booth", said Chet Stoler, Marketing Director for Harlee. The collection consists of two new futon arm designs, the Laredo and the Cordoba, along with separate occasional tables.
The entire collection is a mid priced, heavy pine with a natural bees wax finish.
"The introduction of Harlee's new 'Generation 2' futon frames and designs were a phenomenal success." added Stoler. The Generation 2 frames feature a patented user friendly front operated mechanism as well as many other changes. "We were committed to bringing out the very best futon frame possible." said Steve Leichter, President of Harlee.


Harlee has added two more regional factory warehouses to better serve their customers on the East coast. The new warehouses, located in Edison, New Jersey and Fall River, Massachusetts, were stocked and opened just before the Futon Expo in New Orleans. "We are aggressively looking at further expansion in several areas of the country to join our regional warehouse in Dallas, Texas and main warehouse in California," said Steve Leichter, President of Harlee International.


The National Furniture Buying Index vaulted five points in May to 80, the highest mark recorded in the past several years, indicating a strong summer selling season is about to start.
"Just in time for summer, furniture retailers should see solid sales increases as consumer spending for major ticket items will jump," announced Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group.
"For the past couple of months we've seen consumers focus more on discretionary spending, as good economic news continues to come out," he explained. "A record stock market and virtual full employment are just two of the factors influencing shoppers today."
"Also a big force is the resurgence of real estate in many markets, and now consumers are seeing their property values increase. Psychologically, that is a strong influence in consumer financial confidence," Mr. Beemer continued.
"And, there's more. The full impact for the furniture industry is two-fold; not only will you see more shoppers in stores in the next few months, but those shopping will be inclined to spend more, giving retailers a double punch. Rising store traffic and increased average tickets brings prime opportunities for strong profits."
America's Research Group has been producing The National Furniture Buying Index for over four years. The Index measures consumers' furniture shopping plans for the coming year, based on thousands of interviews with home furnishings consumers each month. Typically, 80 percent of consumers interviewed have a specific furniture item in mind that they intend to purchase in the next year. The Index's mark stands for how many of the 80 percent that name a particular item. Marks at 70 and higher usually indicate strong consumer plans to purchase major household items.
Beemer is the author of the best-selling book, Predatory Marketing, What Everyone Needs to Know to Win Today's Customer, now available in paperback through Broadway Books.


Summer 1998
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+ Special Feature
+ Publishers Forum
+ The Road Not Taken
+ Futon Cover News
+ Futon Covers - Hot Topic
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