SCHOU USA expands sales and distribution network

Company has showrooms in Chicago and High Point, N.C.

, the American subsidiary of the Danish-based SCHOU Company, has been building a stateside presence since incorporating in July 2006. Over the past six months, SCHOU USA has greatly enlarged its sales force and broadened its distribution network from New York and the Eastern Seaboard to the South, Southwest, Midwest, Pacific Northwest and California.

SCHOU sells a wide selection of Scandinavian furniture and accessories for outdoor living, competitively priced and delivered or under private label to a network of dealers and distributors across the nation.

 “We’re still on track with our original business plan,” said Christopher J. Curran, president of SCHOU USA. “In our second year, we’re ahead of many targets we set for ourselves, especially on the sales side. We expect to exceed our first year annual sales by 200 percent in 2007.”

Economic prosperity, home ownership, strong home sales, home renovation and an increased interest in the energy-efficient use of outdoor space for everyday living and entertaining, have combined to make outdoor furniture the fastest-growing segment of the home furnishings market. In recent years, though, competition from low-cost imports sold through mass merchandisers has limited profit margins for domestic manufacturers. In light of these developments, SCHOU has taken a fresh approach to the U.S. market.

“Our goal is very simple,” Curran said. “Use the best of our product lines, which always have a value-for-money proposition at their respective price points, to help SCHOU build its brand and restore some profitability to small retailers, who have encountered greater economic pressure from mass merchants in recent years.”

Established in 1963, SCHOU is a premier supplier to the European market and offers a different look and feel. Making the most of its differentiation is key to SCHOU USA’s domestic game plan. 

“The target markets for our outdoor furniture line are sophisticated, style-conscious young adults who are also price-conscious,” Curran said. “Because of our value proposition -- product and value for money -- we’re hitting a sweet spot in the U.S. market right now.”

SCHOU USA showrooms are located in Chicago and High Point, N.C. A Las Vegas showroom is slated to open early next year. The company’s warehouse in Greensboro, N.C., began building inventory in mid-May, a process that will continue through December to around $5 million in merchandise.

During the months of May and June, Curran and his sales staff completed a multi-state roadshow designed to introduce SCHOU USA’s outdoor product line to more customers throughout its sales territories. “One thing I promise every rep as we start this company is involvement from the top directly with the rep and the customer,” Curran said. “I want our customers to understand that this isn’t a sprint for SCHOU. It’s a marathon. SCHOU has been in the business for a long time across the pond. We aim to establish a solid, long-term business enterprise in North America, too.”

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