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Showing posts from October, 2011

Engineered hardwood anti-dumping saga nears conclusion while markets shift

Almost a year after the International Trade commission (ITC) announced an affirmative determination in its preliminary investigation of anti-dumping and countervailing claims made by US engineered hardwood flooring manufacturers’ against China, the case is heading for a final determination in November. The ITC has held its final hearing of the investigation where both sides stated their case for the last time in public. Floorcovering weekly produced an excellent article for its readers ( ITC holds final hearing on imported Chinese engineered wood ) which summarized the event. What I found particularly interesting were the comments from both sides in the case; the US manufacturers represented by the Coalition for American Hardwood Parity (CAHP) and US distributors and importers represented by the Alliance for Free Choice and Jobs in Flooring (AFCJF). Here's my take on some of their comments: Comments  by US manufacturers. •    A large US manufacturer claims it has had to

New vision for B2B flooring web technology

I am happy to report that after ten years in the B2B trenches, we are ready to conquer new ground with new web services that all flooring companies should support. Mitchell Dancik On September 21st 2011, the Flooring Industry B2B association ( www.fcb2b.com ) held its annual meeting in Atlanta. The meeting combines a technical agenda with an industry-wide marketing agenda, and is a special place where competitors come together as friends in an effort to improve the flooring industry. In my previous blog post, B2B – an old term but a new opportunity for the flooring industry , I complained about trying to light a fire with an old wet match, which is what it is like when you try to excite the iPhone crowd with old terms like B2B. Well, regardless of the terminology, B2B is evolving to meet demand for real time applications. The new vision for B2B flooring web technology. The new vision, as imagined at last year’s fcB2B meeting and delivered at this year’s fcB2B meeting,

Using design principles to make a statement in retail windows

Susan Negley Stand on the side walk outside of some retail flooring stores and look at the windows. What do you see? Unfortunately, sometimes you see the backs of flooring displays or maybe static branding and sale signage. Retail visual design experts say that windows need to drive traffic to the store, draw the consumer in and make passersby think of you when they need new flooring.  Five important design tools to make people stop or remember your store are color, angles, movement simplicity/repetition and imagination.   This post was prompted by two events. On a recent road trip I passed several unmemorable buildings that turned out to be flooring stores. I remember reasoning at the time that maybe there was only one flooring store in town and this retailer felt he didn't need to make a statement. Then I read a fabulous article on the Surfaces blog site, Five Powerful Display Tools by Linda Cahan.  Linda is a retail visual design consultant who will speak at Surfaces a

Carpet's shrinking market share - is appearance retention to blame?

Warren Tyler We all understand that carpeting is losing share of the floor covering business – once nearly 80% its now approaching 40%. We hear all sorts of reasons for this. Those close to the manufacturers put the blame squarely on consumer preferences. I can’t accept this. Years ago the industry used to drive consumer preferences much like the women’s fashion industry does. Since when has good taste and designer expertise been trumped by popular opinion? The mill marketing people, convinced that retail salespeople (Depot and Lowes?) can’t sell, use focus groups to tell them how to market carpet where women tell them that they shop with their fingers - as if anyone of us couldn’t tell them that. The women say warranties are important so the manufacturers make soft hand carpet with unbelievable warranties. So now we have a new generation of shoppers who read 20 year wear, unlimited stain and lifetime urine warranties and they actually believe that they can treat carpeting

Flooring industry trends indicate hard surface flooring sales continue to grow

Stuart Hirschhorn FLOOR COVERING STATISTICAL TRENDS AND OUTLOOK As I finished the most recent report on floor covering industry statistics I  wondered why hard surfaces sales are on the rise this year considering all the negative news about the economy and our industry's general condition. One of the impost important trends in the US floor covering industry is the continuing increase of hard surface's share of overall floor covering.  As of September 2011 hard surface had claimed an estimated 41.4% share which reflects a 10% increase in share over the past decade. Manufacturer sales (shipments minus exports plus imports) of hard surface flooring increased over the first three quarters of 2011, while carpet and rug sales declined.  Dollar sales of hard surface flooring increased by an estimated 4.3% over the first three quarters and square foot sales could have risen by 1.9%.  Meanwhile, we estimate that carpet and rug sales declined 0.7% and 5.0% respectively over t