Mattress manufacturers gave retailers something to talk about. Adjustable bases were chatty, too
By Barbara T. Nelles and Beth English
Traffic was solid in bedding showrooms during the Las Vegas Market Jan. 27-31, but not record breaking. That was our overall impression walking the show, and it was echoed by many mattress and sleep accessories vendors we visited. There was a tapering off on Monday afternoon that we attributed to a polar vortex, which spread cold and snow across much of the United States, sweeping many worried marketgoers home a day or two early. Nonetheless, excitement was in the air, as it always is in January — the biggest of the two annual Vegas shows, at least when it comes to bedding.
While the pace of introductions has slowed in the past few years, with most major brands waiting two or more years between line revamps, the market was ripe with big news. There were redesigns and rebranding aplenty.
We heard talk of simplified collections with clearer step-ups that provide clarity for confused consumers and, among several manufacturers, discussion of offering national collections whose names won’t change from store to store. It remains unclear as to whether the latter strategy will remain an idea or become a reality.
Style and substance
The mattress color palette continues to be — surprise! — charcoal and white. The sophisticated and clean look has proven to have enduring appeal. Some beds shown in Vegas had splashes of bright primary and secondary colors — think yellow, orange, purple, navy and teal — in the panel or border for an added touch of fun.
While panels remain white, save for a percentage of varying shades of gray, manufacturers showed there are many ways white can be gorgeous. Texture and design play a big part. Some panel fabrics are blistered, adding super loft, while others have intricate designs given even more interest through quilting. Modernist smooth-top mattresses tend to have nifty geometric knit patterns.
One popular look at this show was the pairing of a smooth top, formerly associated with specialty sleep, and traditional tape-edges. In these mattresses, the tapes may be purely decorative, but the overall effect adds a hint of color and creates a pretty picture frame for the mattress panel.
The popular dark border is now seeing a lot of channel quilting — both vertical and, increasingly, horizontal. Sometimes channel quilting continues on the panel for a fresh look that works especially well with geometric designs.
Temperature talk continues unabated in bedding, and we felt many “ice-cold” fabrics that use polyethylene yarns, or phase-change material, or both, as well as beds with cooling gel foams and wrapped coils with ventilated pocket fabric.
In the springs-vs.-foam debate, innersprings were the winners at this show. More new beds got the hybrid label. Many feature edge-to-edge pocket springs in place of foam encasements, specially zoned innerspring units, or proprietary/patented coil configurations — or a mix of these features. And then, of course, there are microcoils layered into the cushion of top-end models, even in boxed-bed collections.
Helping retailers sell
At a time when traditional retail in almost every category is under enormous competitive pressure from e-commerce disruption, a number of bedding vendors invested in offering their customers a range of fulfillment choices. Their goal is to help brick-and-mortar stores get boxed products into consumers’ hands as fast as any direct-to-consumer online brand. This means, in many cases, offering a boxed mattress, adjustable base or pillow — or all three — that can drop-ship quickly to a customer’s doorstep. To give retailers maximum flexibility, products also can be sent to stores for customer pickup or to be home delivered by the retailer.
Vendors also are making investments in new tools to drive their dealers’ success. These aids range from easy-assembly, eye-catching store displays to data-driven analytics that help retailers analyze and improve their sales. Manufacturers are offering their customers online ordering portals, more advanced staff training, merchandising analysis, store performance measurements, market demographics and much more.
This is a sampling of the new products and services that rolled out at the year’s biggest bedding show.
At Beautyrest, part of Atlanta-based Serta Simmons Bedding LLC, redesigned Beautyrest Black held center stage ($1,799 to $3,899, mattress only). Its looks live up to the luxury collection’s trend-setting reputation. Panels seemingly are in motion with giant chevrons that echo in miniature in the knit design. Woven borders have the look of black denim, with contrasting stitching that highlights horizontal channel quilting. The 12 models promise cooling with special fabrics, fibers and foams and have T3 Pocketed Coil Technology — each spring uses three entwined strands of wire.
Tempur Sealy International Inc., based in Lexington, Kentucky, concluded its yearlong Tempur-Pedic portfolio revamp with a redesign of its top collection, Tempur-breeze ($3,799 to $4,499). Available in PRObreeze and the step-up LUXEbreeze, the beds provide the ultimate in cooling sleep, and the science behind them was formulated at Tempur Sealy’s “thermal lab,” part of the company’s research-and-development center in Trinity, North Carolina, said Jill Johnson, marketing director for Tempur Sealy. Tempur-Pedic also introduced three Tempur-breeze pillows priced from $149 to $199.
More than a mattress
Nicole Slinger, vice president of specialty sleep products for Richmond, Virginia-based Symbol Mattress, strikes a pose on the new Centerpiece bed, the crown jewel of the company’s collection that is both “furniture and sleep equipment,” she said. Beneath its luxurious heathered knit cover with inverted seams are lots of premium foams and more than 3,000 edge-to-edge wrapped coils. Centerpiece is meant to be sold with its coordinating adjustable base and is priced at $2,999 for the queen set.
Not only did Diamond Mattress launch a revamped core product line in Las Vegas, it also kicked off a rebranding of the company with a health and wellness focus. Based on the idea that sleep is a gift, the company’s new mattress line is called, appropriately enough, G.I.F.T., with each letter representing the name of a bed — Grateful ($799), Intention ($999), Faith ($1,299) and Transformation ($1,599). Each mattress contains a newly patented wrapped and nested coil system for zoned support, which is visually represented by Diamond logos in the ticking. All beds in the line are boxed and compatible with adjustable bases.
Atlanta-based Serta Simmons Bedding LLC has simplified Beautyrest’s brand architecture to reduce confusion and ease consumers’ purchasing decisions, said Cara Finger, Beautyrest vice president of marketing. “We’ve structured our new lines with easy-to-understand step-up stories and model names that reinforce benefits,” she said. As an example, a new standalone Beautyrest Hybrid collection encompasses all hybrids beds previously distributed across several lines. Beautyrest Hybrid (pictured) delivers the expected conforming feel of hybrid mattresses and is priced from $999 to $2,299 (mattress only). In addition, the company replaced Simmons Beautysleep with a promotionally priced Beautyrest group ($399 to $699, mattress only).
Atlanta-based Serta Simmons Bedding LLC focused on simplifying its Serta brand into three collections: Serta iComfort, Serta Perfect Sleeper and the promotional Serta Sleep True, which is replacing Sertapedic. Serta Perfect Sleeper was remade with new specialty foams, cooling fabrics and edge-to-edge individually wrapped coils. Mattress-only pricing is from $499 to $1,099. The beds and their coordinating point-of-purchase items — from foot streamers to headboards — create “a new retail aesthetic that is clean and modern in look and feel,” said Kelly Ellis, Serta senior director, integrated marketing. Serta also showed a pared-down adjustable base line. Three models have clear step-ups and a sharp opening price point ($499 to $1,499).
Boston-based mattress licensing group Spring Air International relaunched its Back Supporter line with seven models that will be built to the same exact specifications — from fabrics to internal components — by all licensees, a first for the collection. In addition to the features that mark the Back Supporter line — a zoned spring unit, edge support, lumbar support and cooling fabrics — each bed is topped by a panel with a wave motif. At the lower price point of $799, the panels are light gray and then step up to darker shades, reaching a deep gray in the top price point of $1,499.
Seoul, South Korea-based KD Bedding System Inc. sought reactions to the patented iOBED, which it describes as “the ultimate sleep management system.” The bed’s comfort is controlled via dozens of thermoplastic polyurethane air pockets with four independently controlled zones for each sleeper. As an internet of things device, iOBED syncs with other devices in a smart home, said Scott Smalling, iOBED executive vice president of sales and marketing. “We are moving forward thoughtfully to maximize our proprietary Body Sensing Technology, biometrics and sleep-data capture in order to help lead the (internet of things) revolution in bedding.”
Leading with luxury
In a greatly expanded showroom, North Brunswick, New Jersey-based Eclipse International debuted new looks under its Ernest Hemingway label. Targeted to an older, wealthier demographic, the hand-tufted Hemingway Classic Tradition collection (pictured) retails from $2,499 to $5,000 and has zoned wrapped coils topped with multiple layers of premium foams, microcoils and fibers. The Ernest Hemingway Key West collection, priced from $1,299 to $1,990, has wrapped coils, copper-infused latex in the comfort layer and eye-catching tropical-themed top-of-bed accessories. “Ernest Hemingway was a truly iconic figure and (this line) reflects the lifestyle that he enjoyed and many consumers aspire to,” said Stuart Carlitz, Eclipse chief executive officer. “These sleep sets have a distinct look and feel that will appeal to multiple demographic groups while providing very healthy margin opportunities for our dealers.”
Nashville-based mattress maker Southerland Inc. has evolved its Evolution line to include three new sleep sets in higher price points, from $2,500 to $3,000. Called Evolution Luxe, each mattress features a quilted top and a layer of microcoils for a softer feel, as Jim Nation, Southerland executive vice president of account sales, can attest. While all the beds include touches of periwinkle blue, each bed has its own panel design, from geometric spirals to large scrollwork. Southerland also debuted a four-bed extension of its Signature Elite collection, which retails from $1,500 to $2,000.
Luxury mattress brand Stearns & Foster, part of Tempur Sealy International Inc. based in Lexington, Kentucky, unveiled its first redesign since 2016 and it was a study in blue — blue velvet, that is. Wearing a blue velvet blazer, Josh Fenner, brand manager for Stearns & Foster, sits on the top Reserve bed, which retails for $4,999 (mattress only). With a luxurious blue-and-white aesthetic, velvet borders, hand tufting and fleur-de-lis details, the mattress also features Indulge memory foam created by Tempur-Pedic for Stearns & Foster and a variety of springs, such as IntelliCoil HD, microcoils and nanocoils. Other Stearns & Foster collections include Estate, Lux Estate and Lux Estate Hybrid.
Spink & Edgar USA, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, launched the Spink & Co. collection, priced from $2,499 to $4,499. With their lofty knit panels and use of both Mega Soft foam and a slow-response natural latex, the mattresses have a plusher, more “American” feel than earlier models, said Spink & Edgar USA co-founder Mark Quinn. The new models are packed with luxury fibers like cashmere, silk and wool.
Plush and tailored
In a redesigned and remerchandised showroom, David Long, King Koil executive vice president of innovation and marketing (seated right, alongside Chief Executive Officer David Binke), gave visitors “a fresh look at what the new King Koil can do.” A simplified lineup focused on the “affordable luxury” of the Willowbrook, Illinois-based company’s bread-and-butter price points, $1,400 to $4,000. The centerpiece collection is the redesigned Intimate, which is packed with premium features — hand tufting, performance foams, King Koil proprietary wrapped coils, microcoils and rich fabrics. The Intimate collection is priced from $2,000 to $4,000.
Princeton, New Jersey-based licensing group Therapedic International isn’t quiet about its new boxed-bed introductions. The hybrid Whisperbed springs from its box with nary a wrinkle and has color on the tape and label for a little pop, said Susan Mathes, Therapedic vice president of brand relations. Three beds, priced from $799 to $1,199, have smooth white tops, contrasting dark borders and a green-and-white tape-edge.
Michael Thompson, chief executive officer of Dallas-based Corsicana Mattress Co., said the company made an enormous investment in a new dealer portal. Called Go Corsicana, it pushes all types of data out to retailers, allowing them to place and track orders, gain merchandising insights, and track consumer analytics and competitive information. Corsicana also added a cheerful, affordable boxed-bed program called Early Bird ($599 to $799). There’s an Early Bird website retailers can link to from their sites, and consumers can order online or in-store. Product fulfillment choices include threshold delivery to the consumer or to the retailer. The latter gives retailers the opportunity to make a home delivery and gives the consumer the option of store pickup.
It’s a Snoozy
St. Louis-based Boyd Sleep kept a younger consumer in mind with its introduction of the Snoozy, a convertible gel memory foam sofa sleeper in twin XL and queen sizes that meets federal flammability standards for mattresses, said President Denny Boyd. With an expected retail price of $299 to $499, the boxed sofa sleeper comes in black and gray. “This is new, fun, refreshing and exciting,” Boyd added.
More options for luxury
A rainbow of redesigned Aireloom Preferred beds greeted visitors to the showroom of E.S. Kluft & Co., which has headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, California. “It’s in our DNA to use a plaid look on the border paired with a fluffy Tencel top,” said Esther Hess, Kluft creative manager. But the 10-bed collection has new looks, including a vivid teal accent color, and now reaches higher price points ($2,700 to $6,000), she said. Preferred uses signature Kluft production and design methods and there’s a new removable zoned latex topper, sold separately for $1,500.
They’re so Smart
Smart beds aren’t new, but they are getting smarter. Adjustable bases that respond to voice commands were the biggest bedding tech news at the most recent Las Vegas Market. Almost every manufacturer offers integrations with smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa products or Google Assistant devices.
Some have kits for retrofitting existing bases with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities, while the newest high-end models come with built-in capabilities. All a consumer needs to do is download a free app, sync to a smart speaker and start talking to their bed.
These latest developments move beyond the smart bed as a personal health tracker and turn it into a smart device in the connected home. Just how connected might the bed become? Based on hints from this show, very connected. Did you remember to take out the trash? Is the wet laundry still in the washing machine? An adjustable base may hoist you out of bed to finish those chores. It’s coming.
In the meantime, adjustable bases remain an important way for retailers to increase tickets. At this show, mattress manufacturers placed a strong emphasis on helping their dealers attach an adjustable base to mattress sales, and most notably, some switched to mattress-only pricing. When beds are no longer sold as sets, what better opening for a power foundation sales pitch? Vendors also winnowed adjustable base collections, while adding more attractive opening price points to make pitches to consumers more effective.
And, as with other bedding products, another sales facilitator is faster, cheaper fulfillment via FedEx, UPS and other common ground carriers, thanks to smaller, lighter units shipping in more compact boxes.
At Carthage, Missouri-based Leggett & Platt Inc., the Adjustable Base Group stole the show with a shiny stainless-steel concept base adorned with color-shifting LED lights. The display promoted the company’s upcoming Leggett & Platt Comfort Connect Technology, scheduled to launch later this year. “It will connect a consumer’s bed to their smart home in the Amazon Alexa ecosystem, and you’ll be able to do things like lock the doors, close the garage and turn out the lights when you get into bed,” said Jay Thompson, president of the Adjustable Base Group. “Our system is different from what’s out there. It gives you peace of mind, comfort and a higher order of consumer benefits.” The platform is designed so that innovations in smart home technology can be added as they evolve, and Comfort Connect will retrofit fit to previous base models at a reasonable price, Thompson said.
Reverie’s Bluetooth-compatible bases have a new voice-activation feature — Reverie Connect. The add-on, which is expected to retail for $100, works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa-controlled devices. According to the Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based company, the platform can receive as many as nine voice commands, including “zero-gravity” and “anti-snore.”
Just call her Pearl
Customatic Technologies, headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts, has just the thing for people who want to use voice activation with an adjustable base but don’t have a smart home assistant like Amazon Alexa. The $100 add-on, shown on the bedside table, connects under any premium base. Called Pearl, the voice-activated device can follow a number of commands, such as “head up,” “start massage” and “lounge.”
Kingsdown, with offices in Mebane, North Carolina and Toronto, and owned by Montreal-based private equity firm Novacap, displayed the new Epitome adjustable base. Priced in queen size at $2,799, Epitome is filled with premium features, from its upholstered-furniture good looks to the fact that it can be voice controlled via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices. The base is manufactured in Canada with imported motors, and ships compactly in two boxes.
Ergomotion, with headquarters in Santa Barbara, California, added Element Lite. The ultra-slim, curvilinear adjustable base is even more lightweight than previous Element models, which are made with a composite material that gently curves when the base is articulated. Priced at $999 in queen size, the unit (without its removable legs) is just 3 1/2 inches tall and is shippable via carriers such as UPS and FedEx. The company also now offers a Wi-Fi dongle retrofit kit for $79 that plugs into an existing base to allow voice-command operation when connected with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant technology. (Free app download required.)
Light and compact
Motion furniture maker Logicdata believes good things come in small packages. With that in mind, the Deutschlandsberg, Austria-based company added SILVERlite ($800 to $1,000) to its suite of adjustable bases. “We’re thrilled to offer our clients the smallest UPS/FedEx-shippable package on the market — up to 75% smaller than other packages in its class — alongside the lowest shipping costs for adjustables,” said Georg Hoefler, Logicdata business development manager. “This extraordinary solution ensures … companies can pass along the least expensive, most convenient distribution solution to their customers, while reaping savings on all levels — from warehouse space to storage and transportation costs.”
Good things come in small boxes
South Bay International, with headquarters in Pomona, California, introduced the upholstered Wall Glide adjustable base with optional legs. It’s an advanced base, but folds and fits into one very compact flat pack, just 60 inches long, 42 inches wide and 7 inches high, said Toby Konetzny, South Bay senior vice president of business development. It’s priced at $999 in queen.
ACCESSORIES & SERVICES
Blu Sleep Products, with U.S. headquarters in Pompano Beach, Florida, added three aromatic pillows — Lavender Frost, Chamomile Cool and Aloe Ice — to its premier Cool Gel Essential line. Made from water-expanded foams, the breathable pillows retail for $169, said Elizabeth Dell’Accio, Blu Sleep vice president, who’s holding a stack of the pillows while seated on the Cool Gel Essential mattress. The mattress, which retails for $2,699, pairs with the Cool Gel Essential pillow line. The top layer of the mattress can be made of any of the five gels, including lavender and chamomile
Phoenix-based PureCare introduced a number of pillows, protectors and sheets across its PureCare and price-conscious Fabrictech brands. In the PureCare line, the company emphasized the use of lyocell fiber made by Lenzing. A smooth-as-silk new sheet collection named simply Tencel is woven with Lenzing’s best grade of Tencel for linens, said Sarah Bergman, PureCare vice president of marketing and creative. A queen sheet set retails for $249. On a giant blackboard, PureCare offered retailers a quick lesson about selecting and assembling easy wall display kits.
Showing the way
Tempur Sealy International Inc., based in Lexington, Kentucky, unveiled Retail Edge in a dedicated learning space in the Sealy showroom. Retail Edge provides resources and assistance for retailers in the following areas: retail sales associate training, digital media and advertising messaging, in-store experience, omnichannel retailing and merchandising. The program was two years in the making and is based on Tempur Sealy’s “in-depth quantitative research conducted with more than 15,000 consumers,” said Trever Dyer, Tempur Sealy customer marketing manager (pictured).
Ready for the weekend
Logan, Utah-based sleep accessories specialist Malouf brought a touch of luxury to bedding basics. Called the Weekender line, this hotel-grade promotional collection includes cotton-polyester blend sheet separates ($40 for a flat or fitted sheet), mattress protectors ($20 to $70) and pillows ($20 to $50). Scott Carr, Malouf brand manager, holds another introduction — the Woven Chambray comforter set. With a down-alternative fill, the reversible duvet comes in birch and flint colors and retails for $100.
Cool and comforting
Paul Kraus, principal of sleep accessories supplier Electropedic, headquartered in San Fernando, California, showed a selection of new pillows ($90 to $180) with cooling covers and fills of shredded memory foam or polyurethane foam. He also extolled the soothing comfort of a new quilted, weighted blanket. In queen size, the blanket weighs about 25 pounds and retails for $199.
For best friends, too
Kyle Borreggine, (left) director of bedding accessory sales, and Chadd Coltrain, perseverance partner, both with Culp Home Fashions Accessories, a division of High Point, North Carolina-based Culp Inc., hold new products available under the Comfort Supply Co. by Culp brand. A two-pack of fluffy gel-fiber pillows with cotton covers and piping retails for $39, and stain-resistant chenille dog beds retail for $59 to $105. (Culp recently acquired the e-commerce vendor eLuxury.)
Talalay Global, a Shelton, Connecticut-based latex supplier, offered a sneak peek of a new brand it hopes to launch this spring. Juvea, which is a combination of the words “rejuvenation” and “Hevea” (for the Hevea brasiliensis rubber tree), will start with compressible pillows, to be followed by toppers, the company said. With the colors of the sunrise in its logo, it’s designed to help sleepers awaken rejuvenated and ready to face the day.
Pillows for play
Protect-A-Bed, which recently was acquired by Alburtis, Pennsylvania-based SureFit Home Décor, added Protect-A-Bed Junior linens and pillows for kids. Prices range from $29 to $89. Three fun bed pillows — shaped like a dog, elephant and wolf — double as plush animals when buttoned up.
Wright Global Graphics added to its arsenal of labeling options that are engineered, designed and tested for the mattress industry. The Thomasville, North Carolina-based supplier of marketing services and branding support unveiled the tactile and textural FiberTEC label system. It is flexible, soft, dimensional and works well on both traditional and compressible beds, the company said.
Soft-Tex International, based in Waterford, New York, extended its DreamSmart boxed-bed program to include ready-to-assemble bedroom furniture, and shone a spotlight on its investment in vendor-direct fulfillment. The company also launched new Sleep Addict-branded accessories. “The packaging for Sleep Addict looks like a gift box. The brand offers unique imagery (compared with) what’s out there in the white goods space,” said Chris Marsh, (right) chief marketing officer, pictured with Jeff Chilton, (left) chief executive officer, and John Timmerman, vice president. Sleep Addict pillows, protectors and sheets range from $79 to $199.