BY BARBARA T. NELLES
While the summer Las Vegas Market July 27-31 was one of the slowest in terms of retailer traffic that editors of Sleep Savvy can recall, we saw more product introductions than at previous mid-year markets. King Koil, Sealy, Blu Sleep, Englander and others launched new collections, while Boyd, Glideaway, Paramount, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, Spring Air and Therapedic were among those who brought out line extensions or product redesigns.
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In a class all its own, King Koil’s Duck Dynasty collection with large, hirsute point-of-purchase pulled in gaping spectators and—per the Willowbrook, Illinois-based mattress licensing group—lots of placements. Sporting duck-hunting-camouflage borders, the beds open at $399 and top out at more than $1,000.
Other mattress introductions had budget-conscious consumers in mind. A new Sealy-branded promotional, innerspring collection from Lexington, Kentucky-based Tempur Sealy features comfort layers of memory foam and gel foam and pricing from $299 to $699.
Mattress licensing group Spring Air, with headquarters in Boston, tested a new Back Supporter group priced from $499 to $799, with traditional and contemporary covers.
“Retailers are looking for more options. They recognize the tremendous value inherent in consumer brands like ours, which have a healthy recognition level among shoppers,” said Spring Air President Rick Robinson. “We wanted to test these flagship models and get feedback from retailers—‘which of these do you see on your floor?’ ”
Some of the biggest news in Las Vegas broke under the bed—and on top of it. We saw metal bed frames with new twists, adjustable bases with new functionality, and pillows and protectors that were cool looking or cool to the touch—or both.
Addressing the needs of larger consumers appeared to be a priority among base suppliers, who served up adjustable beds with stronger motors and platform bases designed to handle more pounds. Forever Foundations launched the Foundation Max Plus metal platform base ($550 retail). In testing, the base supported a 2-ton John Deere tractor without collapsing, the Irvine, California-based company said. Unfortunately, the tractor didn’t fit into the World Market Center elevator, so a large poster illustrating the test had to suffice.
There was news in adjustable bases, including a sleek, wireless remote with backlit display offered by Leggett & Platt Adjustable Base Group with the Carthage, Missouri-based company’s S-Cape and Signature models. The S-Cape+ now has nifty under-bed lighting, or “nightlighting,” too.
Vendors deconstructed their pillows before our eyes, hoping to repeat the success of three-part PureCare One, a customizable pillow for all sleepers. Pillow makers layered multiple fills in unique ways, and dressed up pillows with contrasting piping, pretty gussets and handsome fabrics.
Pillows were the centerpiece at always-colorful Comfort Revolution, the specialty sleep and accessories manufacturer based in West Long Branch, New Jersey, where a round display of lavender-, coconut- and citrus-scented pillows showed off their colored-satin gussets.
Certainly, the influence of digital technology continues to evolve in the bedding segment. Kingsdown said its intelligent Sleep Smart System, a sensor-filled, high-tech bed, is appealing to every type of bedding retailer. The company also pioneered the “digital rest-test” with its bedMATCH Diagnostic System.
“Our research shows that 60% of consumers who use bedMATCH will purchase a bed set priced between $2,200 to $2,400, reflecting an average-unit-selling-price increase of $315 per piece,” said Kevin Damewood, the Mebane, North Carolina-based company’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.
Damewood said the bedMATCH database has more than 9 million consumer profiles, offering retailers myriad opportunities to dig deep into the data and gain insights into their markets and their consumers.
In addition to adding a $1,999 opening price point to the ComforPedic iQ lineup, Simmons made waves with new technology designed to assist retail sales associates. The Atlanta-based mattress major launched an “augmented-reality” app called the Simulator. It gives RSAs Superman-like X-ray vision inside of beds, via their iPads. Yes, it’s fun to use as a sales tool; smartphone versions will launch in January. The company also implemented Thomasville, North Carolina-based Wright Global Graphic Solutions’ RetaiLive, which uses image-recognition software at the point of sale to deliver information to shoppers.
Sleep-products vendors numbered more than 100 at this show and we visited many of them. The following photo album is just a sample of some of the more interesting product news we spotted. Find additional market coverage online at www.sleepsavvymagazine.com.
* Unless otherwise noted, all prices are suggested retail for queen-size sets.