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Showing posts from June, 2010

Despite channel conflicts, floor covering distributors are the perfect partners for many

One of my fond, early experiences in the flooring industry involved a two hour car ride across Florida with my friends Al Wahnon (before he founded Floor Covering News) and Alan Greenberg (before he founded CCA Global Partners).  Bob Shaw (co-founder of Shaw Industries Group) had just been quoted as saying that distributors were unnecessary and that he would start servicing retailers direct.  As we drove along Al said, Jim, I feel badly.  You are a nice guy but I’m afraid you’ll need to find another job, the days of wholesale distributors are numbered.” 

Thirty five years later, Shaw Carpet has a very healthy business through independent wholesale carpet distributors but channel conflict and debate over the relevancy of distribution not only continues it has expanded because the Internet has added not just a new dimension but a new channel to the discussion.  This is true in virtually every industry whether it is groceries, fashion, golf equipment, electronics or pharmaceuticals.  In…

The New Consumer Frugality and Flooring

Have you thought about the New Consumer Frugality and what it might mean for your flooring business?

Several articles, namely The New Consumer Frugality, an article from Strategy+BusinessNew frugality for many may outlive recession from msnbc.com and The New Frugality: Consume Less, Save More, Live Better from Wisebread, had me considering the future.

The New World Order: Consumer Frugality
It's fair to say that we are emerging from the Great Recession. We're not out of the woods, but there seems to be a constantly shining light beckoning to us through the trees.  We are making progress slowly.

In the process of this recession, though, we have become less wealthy. Either from lost jobs, diminished home equity, higher taxes, higher costs of living, education, driving, insuring and unbearable debt loads...  There's just less disposable income for spending on what used to be considered necessities and in hindsight seem more like frivolities.  Top that with being worried abo…

In the flooring industry it pays to have a vision

"You cannot become what you want to be by remaining what you are." This quote by Max DePree from his book, Leadership is An Art, sums up the idea that a business needs to embrace change in order to become what it wants to be. Most companies know what levels of performance they would like to achieve but too few do anything to make it happen; supporting this oft quoted management axiom: Some companies make things happen. Some companies see things happen. Some companies wonder that things happen.
Change happens whether you are ready or not.

These are challenging times in the flooring industry and since I became involved in 1990 the one thing that has been consistent each year is CHANGE. Just look how fast things have changed in the six months since I wrote about the contentious relationship between manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Already in 2010 we have events that could exacerbate that situation:

•    Armstrong Industries is beginning to service CCA Global retailers d…

How the oil spill disaster may affect the flooring industry.... Will customers start asking new questions?

Like you, every day I am sickened by the sight and thought of the BP oil spill. I can no longer even look at the televised live feed showing oil spilling into the gulf. I can’t watch pictures of animals coated and drowning in oil or think of what is happening to the sea life, the ecosystem and the lives of countless people along the coastline. If only we could apply Ctrl Z  to life and undo our mistakes the way we can with a computer. I fear we will be living with the consequences of this event for at least the rest of my life.  That brings me to my thought today – which is to share an example of one way this oil spill might affect the floor covering industry, and especially retailers.

It seems natural that this disaster could heighten the collective concern about the environment. Maybe this disaster will cause some Americans to ask more or different questions about products they buy. Retailers may face some new objections as consumers try to avoid petroleum based products or ask abou…

Floor Covering Retail Sales Are On the Rise

CATALINA FLOOR COVERING STATISTICAL TRENDS AND OUTLOOK
In my April post, “Catalina Says U.S. Flooring Industry Set For Spring Thaw,” I asked readers to let us know if they  benefited from improvements in the economy that were anticipated this spring.  We received a number of positive responses that business was beginning to improve.  Well the numbers are in, and retail floor covering sales are on the rise.

The first increase in floor covering store sales in 29 months came in March this year with a boost of 6.1% over last March, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce monthly retail survey. Based on furniture and home furnishing store sales in April, we think it’s possible that in April floor covering store sales will show a 4.5% increase over the previous year.

In the home center channel, Lowe’s and Home Depot are also seeing positive trends.  Lowe’s estimates that total second quarter 2010 sales could rise by 5% to 7%, with bigger ticket home improvement purchases leading the way…