• Cindy W. Hodnett

Outdoor takes larger role at Las Vegas Market

4% of consumers plan outdoor dining set purchase this year

LAS VEGAS — Consumer lifestyles have become more casual, and so have the furnishings they are choosing for their homes, both inside and outdoors. (See Bob Maricich's video interview with Furniture/Today about increased outdoor offerings at Vegas.)

According to research from the Consumer Buying Trends Survey in the June 2015 issue of Casual Living, 3.8% of U.S. households purchased an outdoor dining set last year, spending $2.1 billion at retail. This year, even more households, 4% in total, have an outdoor dining set in their purchasing plans. Translated into actual numbers, 4.7 million households plan to buy a dining set in 2015.

Additionally, 1.9 million consumers purchased an outdoor conversation or chat group in 2014, spending $2 billion at retail. And for 2015, the leading consumer demographic for a planned conversation group purchase is households with incomes of more than $150,000.

Households ln the West and Midwest bought dining sets at higher rates last year than those living in the South or Northeast. In 2015, 4.4% of households living in the Midwest plan to buy a new dining set, as do 4.3% of those living in the West, 4% of those in the South and 3.2% of households living in the Northeast.

Casual is a category that’s demanding attention.

In response to the increased retail demand for casual furniture and accessory options, Las Vegas Market is expanding its outdoor product offering for summer and has dedicated two new floors (C-12 and C-13) to casual furniture, umbrellas, rugs, fire pits and accessories.

Noting that International Market Centers has seen a significant increase among indoor retailers entering the outdoor market, Craig Staack, vice president of home furnishings leasing for IMC, said that the expansion increases the efficiency of the market for retailers.

“These two dedicated floors are incremental to the large number of resources already showing,” Staack said. “Our buyers have been asking us to grow this category, and this summer, we delivered.”

Outdoor suppliers are introducing diverse product lines here that provide retailers with a mix of price points and design aesthetics. From poolside lounge chairs to conversation/chat groups and family-friendly sets for al fresco dining, the outdoor category is a sweet spot for many retailers, and manufacturers have upped their style game to accommodate.

Ebel Inc. is introducing two seating groups and four new table lines for a total of 61 SKUs. Mark Bottemiller, national sales manager, said new product will ship from the warehouse in early November, and container-direct product will ship in mid-October. Frames for Ebel’s line are produced in China, and cushions are produced in the company’s Jacksonville, Fla. facility.

Ebel is primarily known for transitional furniture, and most of the introductions this year are in that vein, with a leaning toward the traditional,” said Bottemiller. “We are a middle-upper end manufacturer, and for us, that means that the sofas in the new collections will have a list price of about $4,000.”

Agio USA is bringing Kolea, a modular seating option that doubles as serving areas, and the Franklin dining collection, to Las Vegas Market. A complementary fire pit is available for the Kolea group, while the trestle-style table in Franklin features a porcelain top with a laser-textured and painted finish.

The Leucadia group is one of the big introductions for Sunset West USA and features a natural wicker hue and numerous fabric options for cushions. Company official Wes Stewart said that Leucadia, as well as the Provence and Santa Cruz collections, are already shipping.

“Retail is from $599 to $899 for the club chairs,” Stewart said. “Our frames are produced in Asia and the cushions are domestic.”

Stewart said that Provence is a “sophisticated style wrought iron look” that has its heritage in classic European design, but is updated with a brushed pewter finish. He added that Santa Cruz is a medium brown wicker group with a traditional indoor furniture arm.

“This group truly closes the gap in indoor and outdoor living,” Stewart said. “It can go very island in feel or it can be very woodsy for mountain homes and cabins.”

Lafuma Mobilier has been producing its outdoor line in France since the 1930s. Company representative Emilie Cabrera said Lafuma is showing in Las Vegas for the first time and offering retailers a Made in France story as well as an innovative outdoor line backed by dozens of patents.

“We are introducing our 2016 collection, which will ship from March 2016 on,” Cabrera said. “We are introducing terrace dining sets and a brand new range of products called Privilege Range, in which we have two fabrics — Gem and Hedona — and 14 SKUs.”

Three new collections — Bellini, Sol and Luna — debut for O.W. Lee at market. The company is also adding 34 SKUs to existing collections. Retail prices range from $3,500 and up for a five-piece dining or deep seating group.

“We have one Italian farmhouse style, Bellini; one traditional style, Luna; and one rustic/modern style, Sol,” said Terri Rogers, president. “Our new intros will be ready to ship around Oct. 1.”

Bellini is a hand-forged, wrought iron collection with dining, deep seating and lounge pieces in 12 frame finishes and more than 75 stock Sunbrella fabrics. Luna is made from hammered iron tubing with hand-forged scroll work and Comfort Plush cushioning. Club dining, deep seating and lounge pieces are available. Sol also includes club dining, deep seating and lounge pieces in 12 frame finishes and more than 75 stock Sunbrella fabrics.

“The simple lines of Sol are in contrast to the detail of the hammered tube material,” said Paul Rogers, director of product development. “This juxtaposition sets Sol apart as a truly special and unique look that is modern, yet rustic.”

Plank and Hide has between 20 and 25 new SKUs for Las Vegas, and product will ship between October and March.

“We’re showing our revolutionary Sima material for outdoor, aluminum and steel pool tables, and modern rustic and industrial designs,” said Erik Mueller, CEO.

Patiologic has two new collections, five expanded collections and numerous new SKUs for Las Vegas, said Jim Sica, vice president. He said the company is showing transitional and rural industrial looks, contemporary aluminum folding furniture and firepits.

“We have new all-weather wicker collections with the sofas designed to retail from $649 to $1,199,” Sica said. “We also have aluminum, bar-height dining sets with fire pit flame features to retail from $1,399 for a five-piece set to $1,999 for a seven-piece set. We also have five-piece fire pit sets that retail from $999 to $2,999. Orders placed in early August will ship in early February, pre Chinese New Year.”

Mytek International is showing approximately 27 new SKUs at market. The product line is manufactured in Tijuana, Mexico,

“Our new style of patio furniture is unique because it may look like wicker, but is made of polypropylene,” said Mel McBroome, sales manager. “It is much more durable, recyclable and will last longer.”

Sun Garden USA is showing an ergonomically designed Easy Sun cantilever at market, as well as a European German-engineered cantilever.

“Our focus in going to this market is to see new retailers that may not go to the Chicago market,” said Larry Kaplan, vice president of sales and marketing. “We want retailers to see how our cantilevers add to the beauty of their customers’ backyards.”

King’s Rattan is showing new SKUs in traditional and modern designs in the medium-to-high end price range. E9 & Halo Canada is returning to the market for the first time in five years.

“Our entire lineup is new to market since the last time we exhibited at Las Vegas Market in 2010, and we offer a European-designed contemporary outdoor line,” said Laurence Estrada, company representative. “We are showing eight new outdoor collections, and the price range for our outdoor collections ranges from $2,600 for living groupings to $3,400 for sectionals to $1,600 for dining sets. Our outdoor wicker weave collections are made in Indonesia, and our outdoor aluminum products are made in China. All cushions are made in Canada.”

Klaussner Outdoor is addressing more moderate price points with sofas beginning at $1,299 retail.

“We have a representation of seven new collections,” said Len Burke, vice president of marketing. “Frames are produced in Asia and cushions in Asheboro (N.C.), and we can take orders on them now.”

At Hammock Source, five new SKUs of furniture, 16 decorative pillows, 13 curtains and three outdoor rugs will debut.

“We produce our line in Greenville, N.C.,” said John Powell, marketing manager for the company. “All items are available for ship except for the folding Adirondack, which is anticipated to enter into full production by late August.”

Zuo Modern is introducing 60 new outdoor SKUs at market, including the 2016 Vive collection.

“We are partnering with Sunproof for all of their upcoming outdoor fabrics,” said Zuo’s Serena Martin. “Our price range is moderate, especially for the design aesthetic. We have factories in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and India currently, and we can ship to retailers, drop ship to customers and offer full container loads.”

The official launch for the casual floors will be Monday, Aug. 3, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Designer, television host and author Jamie Durie will be the featured guest for the launch.

Cindy HodnettCindy W. Hodnett | Upholstery/Style Editor

As the Upholstery/Style Editor for Furniture/Today, I spend my work hours studying the sloping curves of sofa frames, the intricacies of fabric and the nail head trim and button accents that function as jewelry on a piece of upholstery. I research the companies that bring these things together for retailers, and ultimately consumers, and interview industry leaders about their business strategies and where they think furniture is heading in the future. And when traveling, I provide a sneak peek at what I'm seeing, whether at international markets or in High Point or Las Vegas.

I look forward to sharing what I see and I hope you'll feel free to do the same. Email me at chodnett@furnituretoday.com or follow me on Twitter @CynthiaWHodnett.

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