Volume 26/Number 17; January 7/14, 2013
By Steven Feldman
ORLANDO, FLA.—Carpet One Floor & Home is joining the super-soft carpet revolution with the launch of two private-label collections that encompass the nylon and triexta platforms.
While Carpet One has been providing its members with proprietary soft carpet collections for quite some time, the definition of soft has changed, according to Charlie Dilks, chief product officer. “Fibers such as SmartStrand Silk and TruSoft from Stainmaster have been very successful and are now the new standard. We see a big opportunity here.”
On the nylon side, Carpet One is leveraging its most successful Tigressa brand by introducing Tigressa Cherish, the Shaw-supplied brand extension that will help sell the next generation of soft nylon. The initial launch includes 22 casuals, near casuals and textures, many of which are exclusive to CCA Global, Carpet One’s parent company. All are backed by the Platinum warranty and will be housed in a 26-pin version of Carpet One’s universal card display. The line will be officially launched with an introductory promotion in May.
The other opportunity presented to members at convention earlier this month was a private-label collection from Mohawk that capitalizes on the tremendously successful triexta fiber, or as it’s known by its trade name, SmartStrand. While many Carpet One members have reaped the benefits of the revolutionary fiber, those who focus primarily on the group’s exclusive brands have been slow to embrace it. That changes now with Innovia and Innovia Touch, the latter being the equivalent of SmartStrand Silk. “The name Innovia speaks directly to the innovation be- hind this product,” said Theresa Fisher, vice president of brand management and visual merchandising. “It is our name for all things triexta.”
Both Innovia and Innovia Touch will be merchandised in displays that are being repurposed. The Bigelow SmartStrand display will be converted to Innovia with 20 cards, new graphics and new P-O-P. The Bigelow Wear-Dated display will be repurposed for Touch with new graphics and a new product assortment for a total makeover. The line includes eight styles exclusive to CCA Global, as are many colors. Innovia will be available in stores this spring.
Members with whom FCNews spoke welcomed the new exclusives. Richard Akel, owner of Carpet One of Little Rock, Little Rock, Ark., was particularly excited about Tigressa Cherish. “Tigressa has been our No. 1 selling product, and Cherish has the potential to replace the SoftStyle as our No. 1 seller. Consumers can feel the difference with their hands and will automatically see the value. That makes it an easier sell. They can feel why it is more expensive. If you can show the customer how soft it is in comparison to the SoftStyle, they will pay more, especially women.”
Akel is one member who will just now be getting into the triexta game. “I have not taken on SmartStrand Silk because it was not a CCA exclusive, but now that we have a private-label brand in Innovia Touch I look forward to taking it on.”
Like Akel, Mark Stinson, owner of Stinson Carpet One, Orlando, Fla., said Tigressa is his No. 1 selling product on his floor residentially. “I think it’s priced right, it’s a nylon, which the consumer is still interested in seeing, and it has all the war- ranties customers are looking for today.” But Tigressa Cherish takes the game to a whole new level. “Cherish is as soft as any yarn I’ve ever felt. And the pat- terns they’ve brought out will allow the consumer to do some very unique things in her home.”
While Cherish is a step-up product, Stinson does not think price will be an obstacle. “I believe today’s consumer is willing to spend a little more money to receive the benefits of a better product. Today’s consumer has money and understands the value and investment she is making in her home. That’s why our upper-end products are moving better.”
Unlike Akel, Stinson has been selling SmartStrand with success for some time. “We are still predominantly nylon, but when we sell a polyester, most of the time it’s
SmartStrand. And now with our own brand, we can’t be shopped. Private labeling it will help separate us from the average dealer out there. Innovia offers tremendous stain protection and warranties.”
Jerry Bloeser, fourth-generation owner of 136-year-old John Bloeser Carpet One Floor & Home, Long Beach, Calif., possibly the oldest flooring retailer in the country, said Tigressa Cherish is a real innovation using silky yarn. “And it’s going to be exclusive to Carpet One, which is why we are a member—exclusivity. Today’s informed shopper will take a non private-labeled product and shop it. Therefore, our showroom is pretty much all private label.”
Bloeser told FCNews he has only been selling SmartStrand through Karastan. “But we have not been selling [Silk], so this is our first foray into it. We are more nylon, but we are expecting exciting things from Innovia and Innovia Touch.”
Adam Joss, vice president, The Vertical Connection Carpet One, Columbia, Md., called Cherish “fantastic. As long as we can get people in the door to touch it, it’s a winner. Tigressa has worked very well for us. It has a good story. But Cherish is something our sales staff can get excited about selling. We are happy to see more prints and patterns; some lines have way too many flecks and barber poles. And they updated the col- ors to be more current with today’s demand.”
Like many others, he welcomed the private-label triexta. “We believe Innovia Touch will be good to compete with Silk as a private brand. We were hesitant to bring in Silk because everyone in our market had it. All we could do is compete on price. So now with the private brand and the warranties, we will have an upper hand in our market. We don’t sell much polyester, so Innovia will become our go-to polyester product.”
Interestingly enough, Scott Walker, owner of Walker’s Carpet One Floor and Home, Bellingham, Wash., said while he believes he will
do well with Tigressa Cherish (Tigressa is the most popular brand on his floor), he wonders if the pendulum may have swung too far to soft. “I am finding a significant number of consumers who are not looking for soft. Some are active families that are more interested in the perceived performance issues. A number of people think it will be more difficult to maintain. I’ve heard more concerns from consumers about vacuuming in the last two years than I have in the 20 prior years. Dysons are out of play.”
In other news…
• Carpet tile has been added to CCA’s Core Elements Main Street commercial collection. Members have the option of Shaw, Mohawk or both. “This is a great way to diversify
your business if you are not doing it already,” said Jim Aaron, vice president of merchandising. “Carpet tile has gained 10 points in market share over the last four years.”
•A new header on Invincible Hardwoods display incorporates the Armstrong name. The idea is to help members leverage the power of the Armstrong brand if they choose to do so. Members who use the header will be listed in Armstrong’s retailer store locator.