Top of Bed Turns Down across Categories
Price Deflation, Warm Weather Impact Most Channels
By Don Hogsett -- Home Textiles Today, 3/12/2007 12:00:00 AM
New York —
With American retailers taking down the price of product in an effort to lure consumers through their doors, unseasonably warm weather during the final months of 2006 taking a drastic toll on sales of any warmth-related products, and key home fashions products a deferrable purchase for consumers coping with higher prices at the pump or stuck in a house that's not worth what it used to be, sales of Top of the Bed products tumbled 7.0% during 2006, led by steep declines in comforters and comforter sets.
Overall sales of Top of the Bed home fashions declined to $3.1 billion last year from $3.4 billion in 2005, a shortfall of $237 million.
Leading the big decline in Top of the Bed, and a principal victim of the winter's warm weather, were stand-alone comforters, whose sales fell by 8.7%, to $575 million from $630 million the year before, a drop of more than $50 million.
And when comforters are bundled with other home fashions into bedding sets, the drop was almost as steep, 8.1%, to $1.8 billion from $2.0 billion in 2005, a slide of $160 million.
Put together, those two categories of comforters generated a drop in retail sales of about $215 million in 2006, part of it due to price deflation, even more to the weather. When the weather finally turned cold enough to entice consumers to buy, comforters and sets were widely being marked down by 40% or more in some stores.
But the disturbance didn't start or stop with the weather, and changing tastes took their toll as well. Sales of problematic categories like duvets came under pressure while quilts, once a rocket-hot darling, continued to slide out of favor.
This first edition of the Top of the Bed Facts shows duvet covers, a small upstairs niche product little understood by mass market consumers, slipping by 5.9%, to $80 million from $85 million the prior year.
Once a large, rapidly growing and highly profitable market, quilts continued their fall from grace, sales at retail sliding by 4.4%, to $478 million from $500 million the year before. Illustrating what's happened, a recent trip to Kmart showed the giant retailer had virtually abandoned the category. The space on its shelves once occupied by imported cotton quilts was taken this year by blankets, which appeared to gain in running square feet, especially helped by a stepped-up presence of micro-fiber product. No adult-size quilts were to be found, only a Disney novelty aimed at the juvenile market.
Picking up the slack, and continuing to stage a modest comeback after years of decline, were bedspreads and coverlets, helped in part by a fresh emphasis on puffed-up matelasse looks. With consumers apparently tiring of the looks that have stocked retail shelves for years, or looking for greater value in an era of price deflation and the price that's ultimately paid in de-specced product of lower quality, consumers found a Top of the Bed product they're liking better. The group was the only one to gain in retail sales last year, up 2.9%, to an estimated $180 million from $175 million in 2005.
Top of Bed
|Categories||2006||2005||Change||% of total 2006||% of total 2005|
|Comforter sets/bedding sets||$1,825||$1,985||-8.1%||58.2%||58.8%|
|Distribution Channels||2006||% of total||2005||% of total||% change|
|Home textiles specialty chains||$523||16.7%||$575||17.0%||-9.0%|
|Single-unit home textiles specialty stores||81||2.6%||80||2.4%||1.3%|
|Discount dept. stores||1,195||38.1%||1,350||40.0%||11.5%|
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