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  • Clint Engel

Art Van Furniture goes deeper in outdoor

Clint Engel, Staff Staff -- Casual Living, May 6, 2011

A private labelA private label group offered in the new Art’s Backyard departments of Art Van is also shown on the retailer’s website at $999 for seven pieces.
Art Van Furniture is moving deeper into the outdoor furniture category as it rolls out Art's Backyard departments in all of its 34 full-line showrooms.
     The Warren, Mich.-based Top 100 retailer said the new area has the look and quality of "high-end catalogs at Art Van prices," with what it calls the largest in-stock outdoor furniture selection in the state.
     More than 1,000 items are featured, including goods from Michigan manufacturers Lloyd/Flanders and Woodard, as well as from Jimmie's Rustics, NorthCape International, Siesta/Sinoc, South Sea Rattan, Treasure Garden and other sources.
     Last month, Art Van opened Art's Backyard areas of roughly 4,000 square feet in several of its largest stores in Warren, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Novi, Taylor, Sterling Heights, Petoskey, Ann Arbor and Traverse City, Mich. Other locations eventually will have departments ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 square feet, and all full-line stores will have the category represented, the company said.
     Art Van has carried outdoor furniture before but it was a limited lineup focused on lower price points, said Jim Sica, director of seasonal products for Art Van and Art's Backyard. He projected the outdoor category could grow to $10 million to $20 million in annual sales within two years.
     On its website, Art Van is showcasing outdoor with goods such as a promotional seven-piece dining set for $299, a five-piece wrought-iron Woodard dining set for $899, and the Lloyd/Flanders Weekend Retreat Collection with a sofa in Sunbrella fabric that retails alone for $1,599.
     Sica said traffic and sales have been brisk since the early April launch.
     "The better goods are way outpacing the promotional goods in sales and even units," he added.
     In a press release, Art Van founder and Chairman Art Van Elslander said today's outdoor furniture is built from more durable materials than in the past, which means it "will look as good in 20 years as it does today with no or low maintenance. Plus there has never been a wider selection of sectional sofas with deep seats, oversized chairs, ottomans with extra storage, coffee tables and end tables plus accessories to match the fabric on the cushions of the furniture."

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