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Forecast Q&A

Now that rugs and art have been added to the list of outdoor products, what piece is missing to make Outdoor Living complete?

Retailers

Luckino: The true outdoor room transcends the inside and the outside of the home. I do believe we have to focus on more accessories with more traditional looks to make this look as seamless as possible.

Galindo: Outdoor entertainment centers, or at least the cabinets for it. How about an outdoor mobile wet bar for parties or an outdoor butler's pantry that looks good and safely holds the chargers, linens, plates, glasses needed for entertaining?

Ehrlich: An outdoor kitchen with a real refrigerator and outdoor television, radio or electronics for having music right at your fingertips.

Aronson: Stylish outdoor slipcovers. We're just starting to see stylish freestanding outdoor fans and air conditioners.

Christensen: We have invested in lots of "shade options" this year — many of our customers cannot tolerate the sun. We're still looking for affordable outdoor fans and "air conditioning" to be used outside — when the temperatures soar, it is tempting to escape indoors.

White: I feel our biggest growth area is fireplaces. We have done a great job with SOJOE's wood burning unit. Weber's new Flame will be awesome.

Conine: Soft seating without wet cushions when it rains

Magnotti: I still feel the outdoor hearth is not where is should be.

Papp: The missing item that makes Outdoor Living complete is a greater selection in lighting. The ambience of outdoor lighting is very important and is slowly being addressed.

Wheat: Lighting as a category can still be expanded with oversize outdoor chandeliers to fit the scale of the furniture underneath it.

Richins: Outdoor lighting with style, function and affordability is needed. Lighting products that are easy to install for a patio, pathway or deck would be nice. Accent lighting for the deep seating groups are another item we can use.

Fruehauf: One of the main ideas from several of our salespeople was for some type of outdoor work area such as a desk or office type of furniture for outdoors. Another idea was more outdoor storage space including shelves and cupboards. Other ideas included products to keep insects and pests out of the outdoor room.

Manufacturers

Echols, BJI: I think the only thing that's missing is the total marketing concept to pull all these items together on the dealers' floor so the consumer can clearly understand the possibilities for the outdoor room. We can create the best products but the retailer must create displays that call the consumer to visualize these products in their back yard.

Engelage, Woodard: As for rounding out the outdoor room beyond furniture, I see a lot more accessories being demanded. Anything that will make someone as comfortable outside as in will be a focus.

Sundet, Homecrest: Consumers have a great selection of products in which to create the outdoor living space of their dreams, however, what is lacking is their confidence to pull their rugs, art and furnishings together.

Rehmert, Meadowcraft: Improved storage products.

Wells, Century: The challenge lies in marrying the look of fine indoor furniture with the technology to make it durable in an outdoor environment.

Orians, The HammockSource: Fashion, performance and comfort. Nearly everything imaginable is now found outdoors. Improving upon that which is already offered will present growth opportunities.

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