Jan 4/11; Volume 30/Number 14
By Reginald Tucker
Hard surface offerings at many of the nation’s leading flooring stores have for years been dominated by either long-established household brand names or store-branded flooring lines created through private-label agreements with international vendors. But one North American newcomer is looking to turn that model squarely on its head with the launch of a three-tiered hardwood, laminate and LVT lineup designed to compete directly with these well-known brands.
Marketed under the name Citiflor, a trio of “fashion-forward” hard surface products from Quebec, Canada-based Power Dekor North America, the new offering aims to leverage what the company feels are its strengths in developing exclusive patterns, designs and formats for residential applications. Supported by a chic “Flooring with Flair” online campaign, the new hard surface program is being touted as offering “premium-quality products” that still represent a “tremendous value” for the consumer.
“Our marketing strategy includes positioning ourselves as being different in every way,” said Alex Decarie, CEO of Power Dekor North America. “We want consumers to think of us when they say to themselves, ‘I want something special and unique that [no one else has].’”
It’s a strategy Power Dekor believes will present consumers with a viable option to some of the more familiar hard surface brands currently occupying store shelves—even as some of those competing products enjoy the benefits of a strong head-start.
“From style and design to construction types and aftermarket support, we plan on differentiating ourselves from these players in every way possible in an effort to offer something that today’s consumer just can’t find in those other names,” Decarie stated.
A cursory glance at Citiflor’s initial offerings supports Decarie’s case. The expansive product lineup consists of a diverse collection of random-width/random-length laminate flooring products. These “RWRL” products are shipped in nine plank sizes in each box which allows for customized configurations. “With these RWRL planks, consumers get to design their own floors by creating combinations of colors and plank sizes to suit their individual tastes and décors,” Decarie explained.
Citiflor’s offering is even deeper when it comes to hardwood options. Five engineered collections—Exotic Acacia, Manor, Skyrise, Artisan and Tailored—combine to give buyers 38 colors and styles from which to choose. Another plus is the environmental story: Power Dekor claims that both its hardwood and laminate floors meet or exceed CARB 2 requirements—the most stringent testing for formaldehyde implemented by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Not to be overlooked are the myriad selections available in Citiflor’s stylish LVT package. Five collections covering both tile and plank options offer shoppers nearly 30 patterns and designs. “We use no ortho-pthalates in our LVT products,” Decarie said. “We are also working toward Floorscore certification for all our products.”
On top of this, the products within the Citiflor offering allow for mix-and-match scenarios given the various construction options and formats available to the consumer as well. These features, according to Power Dekor, open up opportunities for customization throughout the home.
“Mixing construction types and installation methods, plank formats and finishes—and creating what we like to refer to as ‘hybrid’ products—will let the customer illustrate her individuality,” Decarie said. “We combine features that would not traditionally be seen together—such as hardwood with a click core or a ¾-inch thickness in an engineered construction.”
Sales support, partnership opportunities
In support of the Citiflor launch, Power Dekor has developed a sleek merchandising system and associated collateral for retail salespeople to use as selling tools. The bespoke merchandising unit, which holds up to 16 large-format sample boards, features metallic printed panels and metal medallions inset on each board as well as high-quality room scenes.
Power Dekor North America also offers portable, large-format “Carry Books” that display entire collections. Also available for training purposes are installation videos and product knowledge sessions to be conducted online for retailers’ convenience. In addition, product spec sheets are available for download at citiflor.com.
The excitement surrounding the Citiflor launch has Power Dekor executives extremely bullish on the prospects of the new collections. The company reports that it has already signed on a couple of key distributors—namely Certified Flooring and R.A. Siegel—in support of the rollout.
So far, distributors like what they’re seeing. “From color to style, the Citiflor collection is right on point,” said Ken Miller, vice president of sales for Certified Flooring Distributors, Pittsburgh. “They have the colors for the U.S. market and the product is competitively priced. I think we’re going to do very well with the line.”
This is welcome news for Power Dekor North America as it looks to build a strong distributor network to support the launch of Citiflor. “What we really want to do in the near future is build brand awareness with increased visibility in the U.S. market through distribution channels,” Decarie stated. “This means creating the essential partnerships that will allow us to expand our reach and let consumers see our new and unique range of offerings.”