Function still biggest draw in entertainment
Heath E. Combs -- Casual Living, November 17, 2011
HIGH POINT - Attention to functional detail won points with retailers in entertainment furniture showrooms here.
While consoles were one of the first products to emerge as the solution for today's larger televisions, sources including West Port and Riverside introduced waist-high or larger sized consoles for taller televisions at the High Point Market.
Companies also continued to report the success of stackable console programs, and a number said corner consoles were becoming a growing part of their business.
At West Port, which is made its debut at market and is run by former Signature Home Furnishings leaders, President Albert Lin said metal and wood entertainment walls with center back panels and piers did well, especially the company's Elgin group.
West Port also did well with 46-inch-high consoles as consumers continue to want televisions elevated. Also selling were upholstered beds that can hold flat-screen televisions, which pop up out of the footboards for viewing.
At Legends, the recently introduced Palladium home entertainment gallery continued to be a hit with retailers at market, said Tim Donk, director of marketing. The company offered a selection of six three-piece media collections and a variety of finishes from rustic and Southwest to reclaimed wood.
Each of the collections - Cosmopolitan, Vineyard, Berkshire, Sierra, Tuscana and Empire - features consoles of 48, 62 and 76 inches, priced to retail between $399 and $599.
Most stores are offering about four stacks of three consoles, which is the minimum for incentive pricing. Donk said retailers like the program because it offers a lot of looks and takes up a minimum amount of space on retail floors.
At Walker Edison, a niche company that mostly sells ready-to-assemble, drop ship items to Internet sites, television stands with swivel mounts sold well at market.
Winners include mixed-media glass and wood groups in cherry and espresso with optional add-on piers, with a $399 retail price for the center console, the company said. Drop ship fireplaces with a retail price of $349 to $399 were also popular with dealers.
Lifestyle California reported success with wall units featuring hutch tops able to fit televisions of up to 55 inches. The company recently introduced four of the units, priced from $999 to $1,299 in a variety of styles including Louis Philippe and Mission.
While light finishes continue to gain steam in the marketplace, John Dekker, vice president of sales and marketing for the company, said dark finishes were still very powerful with consumers.
Riverside's big entertainment introduction at market was six waist-high entertainment consoles, 36 inches tall and 60 inches across, said Mike Charlton, senior vice president of product development. One reason those units have done well is because consumers want taller consoles that offer better television viewing, he said.
Riverside also has sold more corner consoles, which are big space savers for consumers, over the past 18 months, Charlton said. The company has about a dozen in its line.
Martin Home Furnishings reported doing well with its North American-made stackable console program. The company has expanded its Carlton group, initially introduced a year ago, to eight entertainment units, said Christine Takara, marketing director.
Recently added to the group are a 70-inch console and an additional promotional wood 40-inch television stand with no doors and that starts at $199. The company's pricing in the program goes up to $799. Retailers like it because it offers style and the shipping is affordable, Takara said.
Fairmont Designs also expanded its entertainment offerings at market with three groups that included magnetic swipe LED lighting in the piers. The groups also have storage for game controllers - including a drawer big enough to hold a Guitar Hero guitar, said Steve York, vice president of merchandising.
Fairmont also had success with six three-piece consoles, two in casual contemporary, one transitional, one contemporary and two traditional. Longer televisions also continue drive sales of longer consoles, including a new 81-inch model, York said.
At Riverside, a big focus in entertainment at market was waist-high consoles. The company introduced six in a variety of styles.