Feb. 17/24 2014, Volume 27/number 21
By Jenna Lippin
For most companies, the upturn of the economy in 2013 has served as justification for creating fresh opportunities in the new year, and Shaw Floors is no exception. The company has refreshed much of its product lines and display systems to optimize money-making potential for its dealers and provide top choices in style and design—at affordable price points—for the consumer.
According to Trey Thames, vice president of residential marketing and product management, the majority of Shaw’s 2014 carpet introductions play to the soft trend. Building upon 2013’s successful launch of Caress, Shaw’s product portfolio now includes more options in that line along with the introduction of Anso Originals and Clearly Chic. “These collections offer consumers soft carpeting in an explosion of colors at a variety of price points,” he said.
Clearly Chic is a new collection within the Clear Touch Platinum brand; the updates create a premium collection with a new 15-year warranty for texture retention, abrasive wear and quality assurance. “If I had 20 seconds to tell you about Clearly Chic, I’d say you have 18 products, 240 SKUs and it’s all about softness, color, style and performance,” said Brad Christensen, Shaw’s PET residential carpet marketing manager.
“One of the analogies we use to explain why it’s important to show these bright, bold colors is [akin] to buying a car,” he said. “Eighty percent of people buying a Ford F150 today will buy it in either white or black. But even if you go to a dealership where there is a truck in every possible color, you’ll probably still go for black or white. However, it’s human nature to want choices.”
And, these days, more consumers just may want to have more adventurous colors in their homes. According to Christensen, more people are breaking up the colors in their homes as opposed to several years ago when the entire house would be monotone. “The consumer can take a chance and do a brighter color or something unique in just one room.”
The attractive colors along with Clearly Chic’s efficient display help grab the attention of both the consumer and retail associate. Measuring 5’ 2”, the new display system was designed so all samples and product information are at eye level with the average female shopper. An island display that ships in two pieces, Clearly Chic’s merchandising allows for different constructions to be displayed in coordinating colors.
In the nylon arena, Shaw took the wraps off Anso Originals, which builds upon the company’s Anso fiber brand. “Our territory managers had a very hard time finding price-sensitive, entry-level nylon products to offer our customers,” said Mike Sanderson, product marketing manager. “Now we have different colors, looks and styles in one footprint at one price point.”
According to Sanderson, the “teeth” of the program are three tonal LCLs that feature a striated, tea-washed look. The majority of Anso Originals products are constructed between 25 and 30-ounce weights.
The Caress update includes five new styles. “This style and design is unlike anything we’ve introduced or currently offer in residential, especially in nylon,” Sanderson explained. “Today’s sophisticated extrusion technology and improved fiber chemistry and consistency allow us to make a softer fiber that also stands up to the demands of residential performance.”
Shaw’s Tuftex brand brought high fashion back to its collection with updated patterns and a focus on stylish gray hues. A new display system allows for what the company calls “proper presentation” of Tuftex products on the showroom floor.
“Over the last five years we’ve done a series of rebranding where we’ve established style, color and fashion,” explained Tanner Fanello, Tuftex brand manager. “We’re stepping back into that. After what we’ve seen over the last few years with the economy, we’ve been forced to create some more value-driven products. As the economy returns and more people are coming back with confidence to redecorate with more expensive goods, we feel more comfortable making high-end products.”
With that in mind, Tuftex has unveiled the Impressions Collection, which features 21 new carpet styles, including six Impressions patterns, three Naturals styles and a diversity of other additions providing varied color, texture and pattern options.
Constructed of Anso solution-dyed nylon, the Impressions patterns were inspired by high-end, woven carpets that utilize multiple colors to achieve an elegant design. Naturals is offered in 18 colors featuring the natural color variations of striated yarns, which create a handcrafted look and feel. Their loop texture combines performance with style.
Hard surface intros
Shaw is also unveiling a number of offerings on the hard surface side, highlighting its laminate, LVT and Main Street commercial lines.
With laminate under pressure from alternative products such as LVT as well as aggressive channels like the big box, the industry as a whole is seeking ways to help retailers regain their profit margins on laminate. According to Shaw, the visuals the company has created in its 2014 intros just may help solve the problem of laminate’s declining profitability.
“This is the most realistic thing we’ve ever done in laminate,” said Drew Hash, manager, hard surface. “[Our product] emulates real sawn face wood as 7mm laminate. We really think this is an opportunity for us.”
Specifically, Shaw’s laminate intros include:
•Ancestry, a lined oak visual at 5 inches wide with 10mm thickness offered in four colors;
•Boulevard, designed to replicate one of Shaw’s best-selling maple products with planks measuring approximately 5 x 47, and
•Reclaimed, a 2-strip visual at 8 inches wide, available in three distinct patterns with a subtle scrape and low gloss level for enhanced realism.
The popular wood look also manifests itself in Shaw’s tile introductions. Highlights in porcelain include Lucca, Rockwood and Fossil, which are available in a 12 x 24 rectangular size, while Phoenix, with the look of reclaimed wood, is offered in a 6 x 36 to emulate wide-plank wood. Lastly, Fired Hickory in 6 x 24 planks mimics scraped, rustic hickory.
Ceramic tiles have been refreshed as well, with Continental offered in four colors with slate and travertine visuals in 13 x 13 and 18 x 18; Elegance, available in a 3 x 6 wall tile and a new 4 x 16 size for floors; Madagascar, an interpretation of exotic wood available in three colors and a 6 x 24 size, and Sierra Madre, which comes in 6 x 6 (cut), 13 x 13 and 18 x 18 field tiles, along with accent tile and corresponding trim in a palette of five neutral tones.
On the resilient side, Shaw is rolling out a Main Street collection called 5th and Main, which features a new display system. “There weren’t any display mechanisms for those who needed commercial but a residential application if necessary,” explained Natalie Cady, hard surface marketing director. The collection is comprised of 14 styles and more than 100 looks of marble, concrete and wood.
“LVT itself just fits so well,” Hash said. “The installation methods are there that weren’t in the past. A big part of our story is the resources and assets we have from a quality perspective, and we’re designing all our own product. We were in China a half dozen times or more last year. That’s all going to change with our announcement [of the new LVT facility] and how we manage the category going forward. That shows our commitment to LVT.”