Sales of high-end products may be coming back based on various corporate reports but in the laminate category they have remained constant as consumers do not want to sacrifice either looks or performance for price.
“While it’s true consumers are searching for greater value,” explained George Kelley, CEO of Pergo, N.A., “it does not mean the majority of them are truly interested in sacrificing superior design and performance to buy a cheaply made product.”
As a result, David Sheehan, vice president of Mannington’s laminate and resilient business, noted, “The high-end laminate business continues to thrive. Consumers see increased value in the product due to the huge advancements in styling capabilities over the past few years while still performing exceptionally well, and—even at the high end of the line—are priced less.”
Manufacturers echo what many sales and marketing experts tout, that selling high-end products not only separates dealers from the pack, it allows them to earn higher profits as the margins on these goods are better.
With that, FCNews surveyed some of the main laminate players in the high-end sector to see what products are driving the business.
Milton Goodwin, vice president product management, laminate and ceramic, said in wood looks it is New England Long Plank from Armstrong and Sapele Long Plank from Bruce; and in tile visuals it is Weathered Way and Limestone, both from Armstrong.
“Long planks’ time has finally come,” he noted. “It is one of the hottest trends on the West Coast moving quickly to the East.
“Tile visuals,” Goodwin added, “have always been popular in laminate and one of Armstrong’s best selling products. The new designs are the most realistic we’ve ever done.”