Bedding showrooms were bustling, new product introductions abounded and spirits were high at the winter Las Vegas Market. The mattress category received special treatment at the show. The market had a “Dream Big” theme and a number of special events, including a vacation giveaway and a Salute to Bedding reception, with entertainment and dancing held in the World Market Center’s courtyard, amid mattress displays from several vendors.
“This is a very busy market. There’s a real resurgence of demand,” said Bob Naboicheck, president of mattress maker Gold Bond in Hartford, Conn. “All the majors are here, as well as retailers from the Northeast and from up and down the entire East Coast. Retailers are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
After several furniture markets with a strong foam focus, innersprings regained the spotlight, although there was plenty of news in both core types. New collections and existing lines showcased encased coils, innovative spring unit designs, more and more memory foam and ever–“greener” latex.
Also drawing attention at the market: body–impression solutions and two–sided mattresses, eye–catching fabrics in new cuts and colors, juvenile bedding, adjustables and accessories with a little extra.
Springs bounce back
Innerspring introductions—many with newly engineered coils—were stars at the January show. Traditional box springs with coils inside and eight–way, hand–tied box springs played a supporting role.
Atlanta–based mattress major Simmons Bedding Co. showcased its new Beautyrest Smart Response Pocketed Coil in Beautyrest NXG and the new Beautyrest Elite line. Beds in the hybrid NXG line have suggested retail prices of $1,799 to $3,499 for queen sets.* The new Elite line has suggested retails of $1,099 to $1,999.
The new Smart Response Pocketed Coil has a “dual–action design that functions like two coils to deliver improved motion separation and individualized back support,” said Rolf Sannes, Beautyrest brand director.
Response from retailers to the new coil has been “enthusiastic, surprised and positive,” Gary Fazio, Simmons chief executive officer, said at a news conference. The introduction represents the start of a new corporate emphasis on accelerated product innovation, brand building and assisting retailers in improving profitability, Fazio said.
Therapedic International, based in Princeton, N.J., added a proprietary, one–sided LFK innerspring with a “live wire” on top to create a more flexible, conforming feel to its Kathy Ireland Home by Therapedic beds. It also added an improved HourGlass Back Support posture pad to the beds. The collection retails for $599 to $1,999.
Serta, with headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill., promoted the premium innerspring system in the top beds of its relaunched Perfect Sleeper line. The patented FlexZone Innerspring made of tempered steel provides flexible support where the body needs it most, according to the company. The new Perfect Sleeper line contains 13 beds priced from $599 to $1,299. The bed has been branded the “official mattress” of the National Sleep Foundation and was designed with input from that organization.
International Bedding unveiled IB Airsprung, a collection of innerspring beds created in partnership with the U.K. bedding brand. Some feature the exclusive Airsprung open–offset innerspring called Duraspring; others have wrapped coils. The top bed in the line has coil–on–coil construction. The foam–encased beds retail for $499 to $2,999 and have an elegant silver and white color scheme.
IB Airsprung is manufactured and marketed in the United States by IB using “the same unique brand attributes and valued heritage that have made Airsprung one of the most successful bedding producers in the U.K.,” said Dan Hige, president and chief operating officer of IB, which has headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
IB also showcased its Dr. Breus Beds—launched in April 2010 and now sold at more than 800 locations—and its redesigned heritage brands American*Pedic and Classic.
Sealy, headquartered in Trinity, N.C., rolled out the next–generation Posturepedic, which boasts a host of new features, including a titanium–alloy innerspring unit. The bed’s quilt pattern highlights the center third of the mattress, which has proprietary CoreSupport, a reinforced zone with what Sealy describes as “power–packed materials” to support the heaviest part of the body.
The new Posturepedic is backed by an “It’s Better on Springs” advertising campaign that includes three lighthearted television spots, one showing a succession of reclining, smiling couples exchanging knowing looks and satisfied sighs. The new Posturepedic line has suggested retails from $599 to $1,499.
“We wanted to make innersprings relevant again because there is much going on in those beds…,” said Martha Bass, Sealy assistant marketing communications manager.
Other Posturepedic features include wraparound LiftRight handles and a no–slip foundation fabric with raised grid to hold the mattress in place. Special display pillows have flap pockets to hold disposal pillow covers on the retail floor.
Restonic extended its ComfortCare line with ComfortCare Select, which has Marshall coils and the company’s zoned, signature Marvelous Middle technology. Other features include rich fabrics, specialty foams and, in the upper price points, microcoils. The beds are priced from $699 to $1,999.
North Brunswick, N.J.–based Mattress Development Co., owner of the Eclipse and Eastman House brands, added two new innerspring beds to fill top slots in the Ernest Hemingway collection.
“All who have seen it love it,” Stuart Carlitz, principal of Mattress Development Co., said when speaking of the Literary collection. “We promote the collection, with its luxury coil–on–coil construction, as a high profit center for retailers.” The two new models retail for $3,500 and $3,999. They are hand–tufted and feature premium components, such as Talalay latex, organic wool and Pima cotton, encased coils and a tri–level steel edge support.
Another introduction was the Eastman House Burgundy collection, which features coil–on–coil construction with encased coils, a coil box spring and linen upholstery fabrics. The beds retail for $999 to $2,999.
Licensing group Englander, based in Olive Branch, Miss., introduced Tension Ease, a three–bed line with wrapped coils, foam encasement and comfort layers of visco–elastic or latex. Prices are $799, $899 and $999. Englander also offered the HealthWedge foundation, sold separately for $150. The angled base slightly elevates the head and trunk to provide relief to sufferers of acid reflux.
Memory foam formulations and collections continue to make news. On the latex front, more mattress makers added beds with 100% natural latex cores. Regardless of type, foams had plenty of new cuts, contours, even adjustability and color.
Serta, introduced the iComfort Sleep System with gel–infused memory foam. The four beds are covered with ornately patterned super–stretch knits. The bed base and the angle–cut mattress border corners are covered in a contrasting, textural upholstery fabric. Retail prices range from $1,299 to $2,499.
Tempur–Pedic, with headquarters in Lexington, Ky., introduced the Contour collection, which replaces three firm to medium–firm beds in its lineup. The beds have new fabrics with greater stretch and updated border styling. They retail for $1,799, $2,399 and $2,999.
Luxury foam bed maker Magniflex, based in Prato, Italy, redesigned its Naturally Magniflex line to make it more appealing to North American consumers, said Stefano Marescotti, Magniflex chain development manager.
The beds have quilted, zippered knit covers and provide “the supportive feel of latex” via a zoned, visco–elastic Geofoam core made with soy–based content, according to the company. They retail for $1,100 to $3,400.
EcoSleep, a specialty sleep line made by Durable Products Co., in Fort Atkinson, Wis., concentrated on filling in upper price points with three new Eco beds—Plus, Luxe and Slumber—with 13–, 10– and 8–inch profiles, respectively. Retail prices are $999 to $1,499. The ticking is a four–way stretch knit containing Lenzing’s Tencel yarns.
Boyd Specialty Sleep added four beds to the Natural Flex specialty collection. Natural Flex Ultra has a higher profile and more luxurious fabrics and foams, according to the St. Louis–based company. The dramatically quilted covers have cashmere, natural cotton and Lenzing’s Lyocell yarns. The bed’s foam layers, which include Talalay latex, engineered latex and a tri–zoned FoamSpring base, all have extra breathability due to special “channel venting” contours, the company said. They retail for $1,499 to $2,999.
Natura World expanded its product lineup with Natura Organics, a group of seven mattresses made with organic cotton and wool, coconut coir, all–natural Talalay latex and all–natural Dunlop–process latex cores. Cotton thread replaces Kevlar and liquid latex is used instead of typical adhesives to bind layers in place. Two top beds in the collection incorporate 7 pounds of organic wool, silk and cashmere. Prices are $1,999 to $5,350.
“These beds feel awesome, and oh, by the way, they’re organic,” said Ralph Rossdeutscher, president of the Cambridge, Ontario–based company.
Sleep On Green, an Italian producer with U.S. headquarters in Miami, made its Las Vegas debut at the winter market. The company’s all–natural mattress has layers of zoned 100% natural latex, coconut coir, wool and organic cotton fibers. The bed retails for $5,800 with a slatted birch bed base.
Pure LatexBLISS added what it calls the World’s Best Beds to the top of its lineup. The initial offering retails for $4,499 and contains the most latex of all the Atlanta–based company’s beds. Pure LatexBLISS also added a new line of all–natural latex beds. They retail for $2,599 to $4,299.
On the surface
The problem of body impressions was tackled head on by some mattress producers, who unveiled new engineering and marketing messages. Others put a renewed focus on two–sided mattresses.
Comfort Solutions did both. The mattress licensing group, with headquarters in Willowbrook, Ill., has added even sturdier construction and created a new tag line for its Extended Life brand: “The No Sag Mattress.” The collection retails for $1,099 to 2,999.
“What we’re saying with Extended Life is, ‘This is a bed that won’t leave a bad impression’,” said Owen Shoemaker, Comfort Solutions senior vice president. “Too many consumers have had bad experiences. It’s to the point that they come into stores saying, ‘I don’t want a pillow–top’. ”
Comfort Solutions also rolled out a two–sided mattress collection, the Advantage. The three–model innerspring line retails for $799 to $1,499.
“Our research showed that 46% of mattress shoppers think they’ve purchased a two–sided bed, but haven’t,” Shoemaker said. “While 74%, when shown a one–sided and a two–sided model, say they would prefer to own a two–sided bed. We think the public likes the idea of the ‘fresh side’ of the bed and with our Dual Seasons cover option, you can sleep on a cozier ‘teddy bear’ fabric in winter.”
Diamond Mattress said it has “declared war” on body impressions and is building beds with a surface that survives extended wear, said Sean Pennington, vice president of the Rancho Dominguez, Calif.–based company.
The fourth–generation family business made its furniture market debut in Las Vegas, saying it is primed for growth and moving beyond its roots as a regional manufacturer.
“We’ve invested $1.5 million in our factory in the last two years and are in growth mode. We cut our own foam and make our own coils,” Pennington said. “Our goal is to have two to three factories in the next couple of years.”
Diamond Mattress introduced two specialty sleep collections, neither with pillow–tops. Instead, the company offers Direct Contact technology, which puts stretch–knit covers directly over high–performance foams. The Cool Touch collection retails for $799 to $1,899 and has layers of open–cell memory foam over a CertiPUR–US–certified base foam. Hybrid beds have encased coils and foam. The company’s Ethos beds have a variety of constructions—a Talalay latex core or a combination of Talalay latex over polyurethane foam or hybrids with encased coils. They retail for $999 to $2,999.
Park Place Corp., based in Greenville, S.C., highlighted its new two–sided Legacy program. The rich–looking beds retail between $399 and $899. Top models have visco–elastic comfort layers.
“We have never stopped making two–sided beds,” said Park Place Vice President David Orders. “These are just good beds at popular price points—the type of legacy product we have sold by the truckload through the years.”
At Gold Bond, two Sacro–Support Encased Coil beds joined the company’s two–sided collection. The new beds retail for $799 and $899 and offer edge–to–edge support, with a border rod affixed to each encased coil. They sit on coil box–spring units, Naboicheck said.
Fun with fabrics
Throughout Vegas showrooms, there was greater use of dramatic accent colors, upholstery–grade fabrics, embroidery, and striking knit and quilt patterns. The hottest look in specialty sleep is textural, unquilted stretch knits with four–way stretch.
At Kingsdown, ladies–in–waiting ushered visitors into the company’s new, regally appointed permanent showroom in the World Market Center. The mattress maker has redefined itself as a portfolio of brands, which include Kingsdown, “My Side certified by Sleep to Live,” Sleeping Beauty and the diagnostic system bedMATCH.
Three new Kingsdown collections— King’s, Crown and Royal—were eye–catching with lush upholstered borders. Some beds have gold embroidery on burgundy velvet borders and thick quilted panels with large gold medallions and button tufts. The top King’s collection has coil–on–coil construction, double tufting and quilting. The Crown collection includes both all–foam models and tri–zoned innersprings. The Royal collection has wrapped coils and Omalon foam comfort layers. The beds start at $1,299 and top out at $13,999.
“We have brought the Kingsdown name back full force,” said Bob Hellyer, president of the Mebane, N.C.–based company. “These are the first new Kingsdown collections in two years.”
The redesigned Restonic HealthRest collection was all about texture. The group of all–foam and hybrid beds has quilted and unquilted panels with a popcorn–puckered knit design and contrasting brown upholstered borders with a thick, nubby honeycomb appearance. They retail for $799 to $2,499.
Sumptuous fabrics are always part of the story at E.S. Kluft & Co. The ultra–premium mattress manufacturer with headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., added a new colorway to the upholstery–grade fabrics adorning the Aireloom Preferred collection. The French blue Madeleine bed with delicate check fabric has 40 pounds of cotton in roll–edged, side–stitched and inner–tufted borders. It sits on an eight–way, hand–tied box spring. Retail prices range from $4,000 to $6,000.
At Comfort Solutions, the Laura Ashley collection had a new brand positioning: “Beautiful and Smart,” as well as new fabrics in fashion–forward shades of mimosa, ocean, plum, steel and blush. The 12–bed collection retails for $699 to $2,199.
Market visitors stopped short at Springs Creative’s Sleepskin display where they were greeted with a mattress cover sporting a bold guitar graphic. The Rock Hill, S.C., supplier introduced ticking in a supple polyester Spandex, inspired by athletic apparel. The fabric works best with foam beds and can be custom designed with digital or transfer printing, the company said.
“Companies are investing in expensive foams then covering them with thick fabrics that blunt the feel,” said George Booth, Springs Creative product manager. “It’s like putting oven mitts on to hold hands with your sweetie.”
Classic Brands highlighted the new Posturetemp collection. The visco–elastic beds upholstered in a dimpled knit ticking were dressed with a fashionable accessory, a green paisley foot scarf. The new beds retail for $999 to $1,599 and were part of several new offerings from the Jessup, Md.–based foam bed producer.
Seattle–based T3 Recovery Products, manufacturer of the T3 Recovery Mattress, the official mattress of the Ironman triathlon, showed its feminine side in the Lux collection. The pale blue beds have plush pastel velour borders and swag, five zones of encased coils, a variety of premium specialty foams, including Tellalux “pillow latex,” and covers made with engineered fibers. The new beds fill price points from $1,399 to $2,299.
Interest in products for infants and youth continues to grow and several producers brought out new juvenile bedding.
Organic Mattresses Inc. introduced its first youth mattress, which retails for $995 in twin (mattress only). The core is Dunlop–process latex that meets the agricultural standard for certified organic latex sap, said Walt Bader, president and chief executive officer of the Yuba City, Calif.–based company. An adult bed, the Cascade, incorporates the same latex core, and at $2,795, represents a new opening price point for OMI.
At T3 Recovery Products, Ironkids beds made their first appearance. Priced at $299 and $329, the beds’ foam cores feature layers of latex or visco–elastic and cores of polyurethane with plant–based content. The knit covers have kid–pleasing designs and carbon threads that promise tension relief.
Glideaway, which has headquarters in St. Louis, added tangerine and lime velour covers to its Sleepharmony Jubilee juvenile mattress collection. The beds (mattress only) retail for $249 in twin size and come with a matching pillow. Cores are 3–pound memory foam over a high–density polyurethane foam core.
South Bay International in Pomona, Calif., showed a new Viscokidz bed—a memory foam mattress with a zip–off “sleeping bag” pillow–top in brightly colored velour. It retails for $399 in twin (mattress only).
Naturepedic launched a line of allergen–free youth mattresses with steel innersprings and organic cotton fill and fabric. The Chagrin Falls, Ohio–based producer of natural bedding offers waterproofing with Food and Drug Administration–approved food–grade plastic. Retail pricing opens at $699 in twin. The company also brought out new pillows retailing for $49 and mattress toppers retailing for $159—with organic cotton covers and organic cotton fill or washable, biodegradable polyactic acid fiber fill derived from corn. All products are domestically assembled by Amish craftspeople.
The rise of adjustables
With each recent furniture market, mattress makers have been putting more emphasis on adjustable bases and building more adjustable–compatible mattresses.
Tempur–Pedic rolled out a new ad campaign promoting its Advanced Ergo Adjustable base, which is designed to handle the heaviest mattresses, said Kaci Prunty, retail marketing manager. It retails for $1,700 in queen size.
Reverie introduced the high–end, adjustable base–friendly Comfort Sleep System mattress with a core of patented latex cylinders that are color–coded, zoned and re–arrangeable. The bed, which retails for $4,000, works with any of Reverie’s adjustable bases and has a long life—both the zippered cover and the core cylinders are replaceable, according to the company.
“This is a new and different product for specialty sleep retailers,” said Patti Ark, general manager of the Silver Creek, N.Y.–based sleep products importer. “The adjustability of both the core and base make it perfect for pregnancy, for those with shoulder, hip or back issues, for post–surgery patients, for any number of conditions.”
Hollandia International and Therapedic continue to partner in the introduction of high–end adjustable bed sets built by Hollandia. The new iLight bed adds “mood ring” ambiance to the bedroom with built–in LED lighting in the headboard and night tables that changes hue with the touch of a button. The Hollandia Collection for Therapedic iLight bed has a Platinum–Luxe adjustable base. It retails for $18,000.
“We want to make you smile when you go into your bedroom,” said Avi Barssessat, chief executive officer of Hollandia, based in Sderot, Israel.
Vivon Life in Hayward, Calif., introduced the Vivon Prestige adjustable bed with all of the moving parts integrated into the mattress itself, plus a fully integrated massage system in partnership with Brookstone. The core is BioSense foam with bio–based content, green tea and charcoal. The adjustable mattress is available in three models, priced from $949 to $1,299. There are five Brookstone massage modalities and six motors in the queen size.
Serta showed a new Ergomotion adjustable base with its gel–infused iComfort foam bed collection. The $1,500 base has massage capability and is attached to the mattress via Serta’s patented zipper system at the foot of the bed, said Johnny Griggs, vice president of sales for Santa Barbara, Calif.–based Ergomotion.
“Retailers love walking up and seeing it’s adjustable but there’s no chrome bar, just this hidden zipper,” Griggs explained.
E.S. Kluft & Co. rolled out the Luxury Latex collection, which has a “more pliable, conforming” Dunlop–process latex core designed to work with adjustable bases, Kluft said.
“There has been a real outcry for adjustable–friendly mattresses with a clean look that don’t buckle as they bend,” he said. Beds in the collection retail for $3,500 to $5,000.
Accessories with something extra
In an effort to diversify revenue streams, increase dealers’ profit margins and meet consumer demand for products that protect against bedbugs, allergens and germs, manufacturers continue to roll out new accessories such as pillows, protection items and bases.
South Bay displayed an unusual memory foam pillow the color of charcoal—because it contains charcoal from bamboo wood, which the company said helps the pillow absorb moisture, purify the air and prevent bacterial growth. It retails for approximately $130.
At Cedar Grove, N.J.–based FabricTech International, the focus was on PureCare Celliant, a mattress and pillow protector line containing the performance fiber Celliant, which is said to increase oxygen levels and aid rest and recovery. A five–sided mattress protector retails for $119; pillow covers are $29.
CKI Solutions, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, offered its Back to School Survival Kit retailing for $149 in twin XL. It includes a pillow encasement, quilted mattress topper and choice of a five–sided waterproof topper or total mattress encasement. The company addressed bedbugs with some new products. Rest Easy Bed Bug Spray is said to naturally repel bedbugs. The ActiveGuard Bed Bug Mattress Liner, which contains the insecticide permethrin, formerly was sold only through pest exterminators. It retails for $115 in queen.
Leggett & Platt Consumer Products Group, with headquarters in Whittier, Calif., addressed germs with the SilverShell Anti–Microbial Mattress Protector. It retails for about $100 and contains “safe silver chemistry”—MicroSilver BG—which is used in many other consumer goods, including skin care products. The company says the cover’s anti–microbial technology protects beds from 99.97% of bacteria, mold and mildew growth, even after repeated washings.
Natura World added a gel pillow under the Sharper Image brand. It has layers of OrthoGel and memory foam and retails for $149.
Boyd Specialty Sleep President Dennis Boyd designed the Bonus Base platform, a patent–pending, coated–steel unit that assembles without tools. Available in a variety of sizes, it can be purchased with a fabric cover and retails for $59 to $149. The base provides 14 inches of storage space beneath a bed, for which Boyd created Hide–A–Way Drawers that attach to the base’s legs. A set of two retails for $49.99.
Manufacturers dive into digital marketing
In marketing promotions and sales training, mattress makers are embracing the mobile Web, social media and other digital tools, in part to accommodate today’s always–online, comparison–shopping consumer.
Incentives, information sharing, education and trivia questions are all part of Atlanta–based Simmons Bedding Co.’s online Beautyrest Pocketed Coil Club for retail sales associates. It’s a social network with tiered membership based on the number of coils a sales associate sells. To figure that out, associates can use the online Coil Calculator.
Therapedic International added QR codes to Kathy Ireland Home by Therapedic mattress labels.
“When you swipe the code, it takes you to a welcome video with Kathy Ireland,” said Gerry Borreggine, president and chief executive officer of the Princeton, N.J.–based mattress licensing group. “It’s as though our products can talk. We’re doing things to catch consumers’ attention and help retailers distinguish our products on their floor.”
Licensing group Restonic rolled out Web–based programs targeting specific audiences—from licensees to consumers. It has enhanced a LinkedIn group for licensees, built new content into its Restonic4Retail Twitter account and launched a Supporting Your Dreams contest for consumers.
“We are inviting consumers to submit their dreams in written or video format. The grand–prize winner will have the opportunity to build the mattress of their dreams at one of our plants,” said President Ron Passaglia. Spectators can track contest progress on Restonic’s YouTube channel.
Sealy looked for tongue–in–cheek ways to promote the launch of its new Posturepedic line and tag line, “Whatever you do in bed, Sealy supports it.” As part of the fun, a new application for Android and iPhone allows users to photograph and frame anyone “in bed.” In the Trinity, N.C.–based company’s showroom, fortune cookies were prominent—with sayings already appended with the popular “in bed” joke.
Kingsdown, which has headquarters in Mebane, N.C., showcased an iPad app and other interactive tools to assist at retail. The company also rolled out its revamped bedMATCH in–store diagnostic technology, which can be enabled to make recommendations across a retailer’s entire product line.
“We are finding ways to improve sleep by making the diagnostic system available to all manufacturers,” said Frank Hood, president of Kingsdown’s Sleep to Live Institute, a research center in Joplin, Mo. “Our research shows that lying down on multiple beds is about as helpful as a coin toss when it comes to choosing the correct comfort level.”
Spring Air International enhanced access to training information and its CSI Passport mattress selection tool by adding an iPad app and making all resources available online.
“This is cool stuff designed to educate people,” said Rick Robinson, president of the Boston–based licensing group. “We’ve taken CSI to a handheld app. Consumers can download apps at home, too. Trainers can take iPads loaded with our apps on the road. Retailers can drop in their own bed assortment, customize screens and videos to their stores and project them onto digital displays.”
Spring Air also has a new slogan and trade advertising campaign that leverages its heritage: “Trusted by millions since 1926.”
As part of its Incredible Support initiative for retailers, Anatomic Global, with headquarters in Corona, Calif., previewed an application for tablet computers that puts support materials for its Comfort by Design product line at retail sales associates’ fingertips. In its Las Vegas showroom, it also illustrated its brand promise by inviting several artists to sculpt and paint. The winning artwork will be featured in future marketing materials.