The Royal Classic Bianello bedroom collection from New Classic features drawers with cedar veneer bottoms, English dovetail joinery and a rustic gray finish.
HIGH POINT — While market traffic may still lag behind pre-pandemic levels of 2019, the fall’s High Point Market is more upbeat overall, with good vibes in many furniture showrooms.
Business has not improved for many suppliers, but many reported greater overall stability. Although inventories remain high for many retailers, suppliers introduced many new products. Many wanted to “check more boxes” with retailers to give them that one look they didn’t even know they were looking for.
There was one design trend that seemed to stand out more than anything else: the return to the traditional. Almost everywhere, suitcase goods suppliers introduced lines that focused on traditional looks, with many adding their own flair or a “modern twist”.
New Classic demonstrated this, unveiling a major new Royal Classic division with eight full house lines. As the name suggests, lines are very ornate and evoke a sense of royalty.
“We wanted to take a big step forward,” said Bill Dominguez, Royal Classic Lead Designer and Vice President of Research, Development and International Operations. “We had to put it on hold with COVID as we wanted to open a whole new showroom floor for it, but people loved it.”
The range includes ornate moldings, carvings and fittings reflecting formal and classic European style.
The line looks premium, Dominguez said, but remains affordable, as a king-size bed from the Palazzo Montecito collection retails for around $1,299 at full margin. Royal Classic is mainly sourced from Vietnam, the upholstery from China. It will be delivered at the beginning of the year.
Just like Spring, Hooker Furniture had big launches. The main launch was Charleston, a 92-SKU line that includes bedrooms, dining rooms, occasional items and upholstered furniture. With design influences from South and West India, features include cherry veneers, woven cane, inlays and a black cherry finish. Charleston is an update on traditional.
“Traditional things have been neglected,” said Mike Harris, President of Case Goods. “The industry is moving towards that now, so we wanted to offer a new perspective on that as well. It is traditional for the new generation.”
The line is similarly priced to Hooker’s typical offerings and will ship in the spring.
Harris was bullish on the market, saying showroom traffic has been consistently strong.
“The market was huge for us,” Harris said. “It’s getting closer to normal. Business isn’t going up, but it’s certainly stabilised. It’s not as volatile and we’re seeing a more consistent rate of sales.”
Universal Furniture’s big unveiling at High Point Market was the Newstalgia collection of 50 items across the bedroom, dining room, end table and upholstered furniture categories. Newstalgia is designed to feel fresh yet familiar.
“Everything old is new again,” said Neil MacKenzie, vice president of marketing. “We developed Newstalgia with today’s traditional customer in mind, with designs that are enduring in form but updated with modern finishes.”
The line offers many different finish options, including white, blue, natural wood tones, gray and dark green, which the company says are growing in popularity.
According to Shannon Lookabill, director of product development, a highlight of the line is that it’s ready for the upcoming STURDY tipping act. That’s because of a drawer locking mechanism that prevents more than one drawer per column of drawers from being opened at the same time.
“That’ll give us a head start,” Lookabill said. “Other companies will choose to take weight out of their drawers. Not us.”
Newstalgia will ship at the end of the second quarter.
Magnussen brand Thirty One Twenty One, led by industry veteran Adam Tilley, increased its showroom space by 3,500 square feet in time for launch, a 30% increase. The company unveiled four bedroom and five dining lines, all of which are scheduled to ship in March and April.
While “contemporary is still king,” Tilley said, the intros emphasize more of a traditional design.
“The traditional is coming back,” he said. “We decided to change things up in this market. We have emphasized contemporary, transitional and traditional. We rely on a wide range. We have already ticked many boxes, but we are still aiming for more.”
Price points will be about 30% higher than comparable Magnussen offerings, with a bed, dresser, mirror, and nightstand retailing in the $3,000 range.
Normally a specialist in home office and entertainment furniture, BDI had a major launch, unveiling its first bedroom line and entry into the category.
“We asked ourselves, how are we growing?” said Dave Adams, BDI’s Marketing Director. “New desks are good, but retailers just swap out one of our older ones. What’s next? Well, new categories.”
Linq is a six-piece bedroom set with two beds, two bedside tables, a chest and a chest of drawers – all characterized by a combination of storage space and technology. For example, three power and USB ports are hidden in the back of the beds.
Other features include hardwood walnut frames, beveled edges, and bed frames and platforms that adjust for height. Adams said that Linq is STURDY-ready and features a locking system similar to what Universal also debuted; Two drawers cannot be opened at the same time.
Specific pricing has not yet been announced, but Adams said the line will be on the higher end and consistent with the company’s other offerings. The line will be delivered in May.
Mexico takes a back seat
Mexico played a much smaller role compared to the spring market, where many suppliers were trying their hand at the region for the first time.
“Mexico isn’t as good a business as it used to be,” said Tim Donk, vice president of sales. “Truck costs are expensive and it’s hard to find drivers.”
Legends, which launched its first Mexican collection in the last market, has this time focused on Vietnam with its new Americana bedroom collection. Donk said the line’s appeal lies in its blue two-tone finish and wireless charging capabilities.
The Americana set is priced at $2,499 direct from container and $2,999 from stock.
Business is tough, Donk said, but it’s improving.
“Our domestic production is up 24% from 2019,” he said. “The flow of imports has normalized and retailers’ inventories are slowly beginning to stabilize.”
American Woodcrafters, which also introduced its first Mexican line in the spring, refocused on Indonesia and chose to go so far as to stop all sourcing activities in Mexico.
“Mexico is on pause as it’s not doing as well,” President Chuck Foster said.
The mid-range suitcase goods provider introduced two bedroom collections – Capri and Farmwood – and the Bistro Pub dining line to the market. The collections offer mix-and-match finish options, hardwoods, veneers, and style flexibility at mid-range prices.