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Showing posts from March, 2010

International Business Bustles at Domotex Asia Floor Covering Show and Wood Summit

I just returned from China where I attended Domotex asia CHINAFLOOR ("DACF") and  participated in two international summits in which representatives from around the world reported on regional and global issues affecting the flooring industry.  I return with some strong impressions to share. First, if there was any doubt about the business climate in China, that question was answered when the opening gate was flooded with 20,000 up beat visitors.  They were anxious to see the products of 1,300 exhibitors from 70 countries, including Armstrong and Mannington among other U.S. exhibitors, all hoping to penetrate the expanding Chinese market.  The show included the largest collection of bamboo manufacturers of any trade show along with wood flooring, vinyl, carpet, rugs, manufacturing equipment and accessories. First day attendance set a record for the 12 year old show with a significant increase over last year.  While pre-registration was up, the number of on-site registrants n

Welcome Carpet One Retailers to the Floor Covering Institute Blog Site

We are always happy to see new readers and that happened recently in a noticeable way when Carpet One retailers started visiting the Floor Covering Institute blogsite in large numbers.  You got my attention - it's hard not to notice when Carpet One does something in unison. I determined that you were linking in from your own members.net where your webmaster had placed Lew Migliore's post about moisture in concrete . You should know that Lew is preparing another post about moisture problems in hard wood flooring plaguing retailers.  Look for that post very soon . From the analytics behind the scenes (they tell how many visitors come to the site, what they read, how long they stay, etc) I could see that our new visitors also read Chris Ramey's post on Lumber Liquidators , Jim Gould's post on avoid cash traps , my post on retailers selling solutions , Stuart Hirschhorn's recent post on statistics and the industry recovery , among many others.  We are pleased you fou

Donato Pompo's Ceramic and Stone Expertise is a Great New Addition to the Floor Covering Institute

We are pleased to introduce Donato Pompo, newest member of the Floor Covering Institute consulting team. Donato is founder of two well-known flooring industry companies focused on improving everything about ceramic tile and stone flooring and the businesses that produce and sell them. They are Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants (CTaSC) and the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS). Together these companies address every tier of this product channel, from helping quarries and manufacturers produce better products and improve market positions, to providing distributors and retailers with better business practices and installers with the education to understand the complexity of their work. We look forward to seeing his insight and perspectives on this blog and are happy to be able to bring his expertise and resources to you. Donato’s professional experience is a result of over 30 years in the flooring industry starting with installing, selling, and distributing ceramic tile an

What Lessons Should We Learn from Floor Covering Leader, Lumber Liquidators?

The most successful floor covering retailers of late are those that seemingly remain outside the traditional industry; Home Depot, Lowes and Lumber Liquidators.  Home Depot and Lowes, along with their lesser home center competitors, have taken about 25% share from independent floor covering dealers.  Most independent "Mom and Pop" dealers aren’t aware of the amount of business they’ve lost because the Lowes and Home Depot customers never darken their door. The newest competitor diverting customers from traditional floor covering stores is  Lumber Liquidators .  With a 180 stores and growing, they’ve made a substantial impact on the hardwood and laminate industries.  Again, most traditional floor covering stores don’t know it because Lumber Liquidators’ customers don’t bother shopping around nor are they part of the traditional floor covering community.  To date, Lumber Liquidators owns an 11% share of the hardwood category and 6% share of the laminate category. A private

Concrete Moisture Leading to Flooring Failures - Is this an Epidemic?

Sheet vinyl  lifting off concrete substrates that looks like blistered skin from a burn, wood flooring turning up at the edges, carpet tiles emitting foul odors from reactions with “wet” slabs.  All of these failures in floor covering occur daily around the country plaguing flooring contractors and end users.  Is this a flooring conspiracy or something more sinister?  Well, it’s not a conspiracy, nothing so colorful as that, and it’s not sinister unless you consider that moisture lurking in the substrates is skulking around waiting to pounce. What are the reasons for this outbreak of flooring failures?  Have adhesives changed?  Is flooring material different?  Hasn’t concrete been the same for years?  Why is this all happening now? Adhesives have changed from when solvent carriers were used but adhesives are actually better now.  Flooring products have changed with the onslaught of non-permeable backings which can trap moisture vapor emissions coming from concrete.  Concrete hasn’t

Shifting Home Owner Goals Call for New Floor Covering Strategies

A new “buzz phrase” in the floor covering industry is the “new normal" -  that is what life in our industry will be like following the severe decline in the home building segment. This affects every tier of our industry as well as the goals and needs of our home owning consumers. Post-recession home owners may have new goals when it comes to buying floor covering. The last couple of posts by the Floor Covering Institute have touched on the changing landscape that lies ahead. Jim Gould talked about how post-recession growth often claims more victims than the recession itself and how to make the most of your cash and assets in  “ Avoiding Cash Traps as the Recession Slows and Business Grows ."  Stuart Hirschhorn posed the question  " Is Hard Surface Flooring Just a Click Away? " which speculated about post-recession consumer spending habits. In today's post I want to explore if there is a new normal as it pertains to our home owning consumers and how they wil

Is Hard Surface Flooring Growth Just a Click Away?

Observing and analyzing flooring covering trends is my business and this year as I walked through Surfaces, the U.S. flooring show ,  I couldn’t help but wonder how the proliferation of click flooring across all hard surface categories would affect the industry. After almost two decades of steady gains, hard surface flooring’s inroads in the U.S. floor coverings market hit a wall during this recession.  In 2009, hard surface flooring’s share of total U.S. square feet floor coverings sales declined to 37.9% from 38.1% in 2008.  This may not seem significant, however, it is the first time carpet and area rugs gained share in almost two decades.  Hard surface’s share would have fallen even more dramatically, if not for consumers growing interest in lower cost resilient flooring.  The drop in U.S. floor covering sales in 2009 was led by the sharp cut in demand for higher-priced laminate flooring, ceramic tile, wood, and stone flooring.  So how do manufacturers and marketers respond to

Avoiding Cash Traps as the Recession Slows and Business Grows

If your business has survived the recession so far, congratulations!  And fasten your seatbelts for the challenge of the recession recovery.  The economy has tested everyone’s skills but it isn’t over yet.  More floor covering businesses fail coming out of a recession than during it.  Why?  As business slows in a recession, companies shrink inventory and collect receivables creating a positive cash flow.  While sales may struggle, there is cash to pay bills.  As business picks up, sales, inventory and receivables grow and suck cash out of the company.  All of a sudden there is no money to pay the bills even though business has improved. Avoiding Cash Traps Businesses need to watch out for common Cash Traps and one of the most common is inventory. As David Wootton said in his post last month  " think of your inventory as a big box of dollar bills ."  Those dollars can be tied up in inventory too long if the purchasing decision is based on a faulty premise.  Some premises