• Cecile Corral

Team Boosts Arlee Club Business

NEW YORK - Longtime supplier to mass market accounts, Arlee Home Fashions is amping up in the warehouse club channel with the help of a husband-and-wife team that together bring more than a decade of experience in the segment.
     The multi-category home textiles company a year ago brought on board Carlos Lamourg and Marsha Cutler married 10 years and coworkers for 15 and assigned them to the newly created posts of sales manager of clubs and international, and head of product development for clubs and international, respectively.
     Their efforts are coming to fruition with rollouts that started earlier this year and progressing into later this
Arlee is creatingArlee is creating several new fashionable collections that cater to shoppers of warehouse clubs a new distribution channel for the company. Solids and soft fashion looks are sold in sets of two and priced sharply, under $20.
summer, this fall and into 2013. New programs are on track at several warehouse club chains here and abroad, including in Mexico and parts of Europe, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.
     They [Carlos and Marsha] are truly inseparable, said Sean Frankel, Arlees evp, national sales manager. They possess an understanding as related to warehouse clubs shoppers and buyers that we really hadnt seen. It was really important for us to find folks who clearly understand the segment, and we are so pleased to have them with us now. They have made us a smarter manufacturer as a result.
     Frankel told HTT that last summer he and his brother, Arlee president David Frankel, made the decision to make a more dedicated focus to the club division. We identified it as a growth opportunity in the marketplace for us, both domestically and internationally. And the best way to pursue that channel was to bring in a new team.
     Lamourg explained that often there are assumptions made about the warehouse club customer that they are looking for a larger version of something or a slightly different make than offered at the mass retailers. But that is not really addressing the interest level of most club shoppers today.
     He said what he and Cutler know how to do is help warehouse clubs differentiate the product they offer on their sales floors versus what is sold at the mass merchants. We want to create a tailored product specifically for the warehouse clubs shoppers. Marsha and I have been selling clubs for past 13 years here in the U.S. and in Mexico, the U.K. and in Asia, and we have been successful at it.
     Arlee is the right fit, Cutler noted, because the company which this year turns 37 years old offers us a vast array of product. Their library of categories and constructions is huge.
     For the next rollout, Arlee has several new products hitting warehouse clubs. Included are two-packs of decorative pillows, available in solid and chenille styles; novelty body pillows; and novelty backrest pillows. Retail pricing averages $16 to $18 on pillow packs.
     More product categories to be added in future seasons will include floor cushions, soft window treatments and table linens.
     Sean Frankel noted that domestically, Arlee offers U.S. customers three distribution points: California, Missouri and Georgia.
     Oversees, the company has narrowed our vendor matrix for who we operate within the warehouse clubs sector so that we can be far more efficient with production, he continued. If you operate with too many vendors, it throws many more balls in the air. We are now more focused and keeping better control of the production line and being more efficient.
     Warehouse clubs are not an entirely new channel for Arlee, which has been working with stores in the segment for the past three years on a regional level for plush pet products. But Sean Frankel explained Arlees pet division operates very differently from our other categories, creating the need for a more focused effort and team to pursue the business for the companys other products.

Cecile CorralCecile Corral | Senior Product Editor, Home Textiles Today

Cecile B. Corral has been a product editor with Home Textiles Today since late 2000. She covers the area and accent rug, kitchen textiles, table linens, beach towels, decorative bath and decorative pillow categories, as well as some retail subjects.

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