“Take 5 With Dave” – TSI Touts Sustainability in Sealy Line

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Steve Rusing talks sustainability with Sealy Naturals line and says retailers need to invest in advertising for success in 2022

Transcript

Dave Perry
Hey, Dave Perry. Welcome to Take Five With Dave. I am with Steve Rusing, president of u.s. sales for Tempur Sealy International. Steve, you’ve got an exciting new line called Sealy Naturals. Tell me the story.

Steve Rusing
Well, it’s a great story. It is a responsibly sourced product using natural materials. We have 100% natural latex, 100% natural wool, and we have a blend of an organic cotton cover with soft hemp. And really, it’s a marriage of the legendary quality of Sealy and responsibly sourced materials.

Dave Perry
You know, there’s more talk in the industry about sustainability. Do you see yourselves as a leader in that movement?

Steve Rusing
Absolutely. One of the main focuses of our company and then for the senior executive team is ESG. And from an environmental standpoint, it’s something we’re very focused on. In fact, we invested $5 million last year in solar panels for our Albuquerque Tempur-Pedic plant. So it’s a key initiative for the company and something that Scott Thompson, our CEO, is very focused on.

Dave Perry
Price point-wise. This line is at about $3,500. We were chatting earlier. You were saying that the pandemic really has got more focus on better sleep and people are investing in that. Yeah.

Steve Rusing
Well, there’s a lot of focus on health and wellness. And we see this as a change that obviously is impacted the industry recently. But we see this as something that’s going to impact the industry for years to come. And what we’re seeing is more consumers that are looking for a better night’s sleep and they’re willing to invest in it.

And if you look at, you know, the premium segment above $2,000 and you look at it from a unit perspective, over the last five years, that category has grown seven times faster than the industry as a whole. But really, what the pandemic has done is really accelerated that focus and emphasis. So it presents a tremendous opportunity for our retailers.

Dave Perry
Okay. Naturals will hit retail floors. When?

Steve Rusing
This summer.

Dave Perry
Okay. And as you look at 2022, how optimistic are you about the year?

Steve Rusing
Well, you know, we’re very optimistic from a Tempur Sealy standpoint, from an industry standpoint, what our expectation is. And I’m maybe a little afraid to use this word, but we should get back to a normal, normal growth rate. So, you know, the industry has typically been in the single digits, mid-single digits in dollars and percent. And, you know, units.

But that means that we’re going to also get back into the peaks and valleys between promotional and nonpromotional periods. And we’re also going to transition to more normalized seasonality. If you look at last year, it was somewhat of an abnormal seasonality just because of all the stimulus money and tax refunds that hit between January and April. So we’re going to go through a transition period to more of a normal business case.

I think the thing for our retailers to think about and be mindful of is because of demand and supply chain issues, a lot of retailers pull back on their investment in advertising. If you take that same approach in 2022, you’ll be left on the sidelines. And at Tempur Sealy, we’re investing the highest amount we ever invested.

Steve Rusing
And to drive Tempur-Pedic with our national advertising, it’s a strong 52 weeks on. We’re on every week. And then with Stearns and Foster, we’re increasing our national TV spots 90% from 11 weeks to 21. And we believe that when you look at Stearns and Foster and you compare it to the other brands in the industry, it’ll be in the top five in terms of investment in national advertising.

Dave Perry
Wow. You know, I like the way you gave a little subtle call out to retailers to say you may have to have different behavior. This year than last year.

Steve Rusing
There’s no there’s no question. Yeah. I mean, I think we have to get back to, you know, the fundamentals of blocking and tackling in demand creation.

Dave Perry
Yeah. Well, Steve, those are great insights, really. Thank you for your time. This is exciting what you’re doing and I hope you have a great year.

Steve Rusing
Thank you.

Dave Perry
Thank you. All right. More take us with Dave to come.