Wood Executive Forecast: Industry foresees good things ahead for the wood flooring sector

Home Inside FCNews Wood Executive Forecast: Industry foresees good things ahead for the wood flooring...

Dec. 9/16, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 12

By Reginald Tucker

In much the same way that the wave of new waterproof flooring products such as WPC, SPC and various other iterations has impacted wood-look-alike floors such as laminates, it has also presented challenges for manufacturers of traditional, genuine hardwood flooring products. In the face of that fierce competition, however, wood suppliers are upping the ante—in many cases developing waterproof wood floors of their own.

Wade Bondrowski
Director of sales, USA

Mercier Wood Flooring
What is your projection for the growth of the category next year?
We are looking at growth, but we will have to be a little more cautious in how we get there. The wood segment is as tough as we have seen it, but there is room for high-quality production. What are the growth projections for your company in particular?
The projections are positive; we feel we will be in line or better than the predicted growth considering the category in which we sell. What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
We feel that our new products, Le Plus Dealers, distributors and marketing campaign will guide us in gaining more market share. Cite a few of your major initiatives achieved in 2019
We have successfully implemented a new display approach along with our distributors to create the Mercier Le Plus Program. Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in general in 2020.
The X factor for all of us is in the housing market, but wood in general should also look at the promotion of LVT, WPC, SVP product categories. Where do you see the greatest opportunities?
Our greatest opportunities will still depend on the independent retailer, the builder and commercial market as well as our distribution relationships. Brian Carson
President and CEO
AHF Products
What is your projection for the growth of the category next year?
I think the U.S. hardwood flooring market next year is going to be flat. What are the growth projections for your company in particular?
We are bullish about next year for sure. The wood market will be flat, but we will be better than that. What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
We have the trifecta of hardwood brands: Bruce, Hartco and Robbins. We have 50 new products in the chute, new innovations coming out and a new company in LM Flooring, which we acquired earlier this year. Cite a few of your major initiatives achieved in 2019
We have a plant that we’re expanding as fast as we can Cambodia, which is not subject to duties or tariffs. We also announced the rebirth of two of the strongest brands in the industry, Hartco and Robbins. Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in general in 2020.
You can never predict the unpredictable—there could be some world event that you can’t anticipate. Barring that, I think interest rates are going to remain low and consumer confidence will remain high. Where do you see the greatest opportunities?
Our goal is to continue making world-class, aspirational products. With our separation from Armstrong, we are our own deal now, we have a new spirit and attitude.

 

Drew Hash
VP hard surface
Shaw Floors
What is your projection for the growth of the category next year?
We predict sales in line with the industry average—around 3%. What are the growth projections for your company in particular?
We anticipate Shaw lining up with the industry growth. What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
We anticipate waterproof flooring will continue to contribute to positive growth in hardwood. Wood also remains popular in single-family, particularly among engineered and prefinished. Cite a few of your major initiatives achieved in 2019
Our waterproof and waterresistant hardwood collections (Floorté Waterproof Hardwood and REPEL Hardwood) were key launches for Shaw Floors in 2019. These products meet and exceed performance expectations. Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in general in 2020.
Rigid core flooring continues to grow and impact other hard surface categories. The housing market and consumer sentiment are additional factors playing key roles in business outcomes. Where do you see the greatest opportunities?
Consumer-centricity is at the core of Shaw, and we pride ourselves on listening to consumer preferences and presenting the right product at the right time. David Lauzon
Director of sales
Lauzon Hardwood
What is your projection for the growth of the category next year?
After slower growth last year, we believe the industry will stabilize in 2020 and start to trend back up by a few percentage points. What are the growth projections for your company in particular?
We have projected an increase between 9%-12% for 2020. Our market penetration is far from being complete in the U.S., and we have invested in new end- use markets. What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
Plastic, wood-look products took a big share of the market in 2020. We see this trend start to slow down and true quality hardwood gain back a share of the market. Customers will realize these replacements add no value to their homes. Cite a few of your major initiatives achieved in 2019
Increased sales in the USA in a downward market. Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in general in 2020.
For us, the main challenge is the Canadian government not putting barriers on the Chinese dumping happening in Canada since the U.S. tariffs have been put into place. Where do you see the greatest opportunities?
There are some new uncharted territories for Lauzon in the U.S. market. We also see increased demand for better, more sustainable products.

 

Dan Natkin
VP, hardwood and laminate
Mannington
What is your projection for the growth of the category next year?
We expect the category to rebound slightly in 2020 and be up in the low single digits. What are the growth projections for your company in particular?
Similar to the market. What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
Both remodel and a stronger new home construction environment will help to drive this growth. Cite a few of your major initiatives achieved in 2019
We rolled out a new series of products utilizing state-of-the-art equipment installed in our operations; the products have been extraordinarily successful. Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in general in 2020.
The X factor is the economy. Where do you see the greatest opportunities?
A strong U.S. economy and home construction market should make it a great year for hardwood.

 

Paul Rezuke
VP, U.S. sales
Wickham Hardwood Flooring
What is your projection for the growth of the category next year?
While the economy continues to be strong, every indication is that 2020 will mirror 2019 with regard to total sales. What are the growth projections for your company in particular?
We are looking at a modest 4%-5% growth this year with our U.S.-based business. Overall, the company is looking at 6%-8% growth when you combine our U.S. and Canadian business. What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
Engineered products will be at the center of our growth expectations. To that end, we continue to focus on working more and more with the architect and design community. Cite a few of your major initiatives achieved in 2019
Going into 2019 we had targeted expanding our footprint in the U.S., and we were successful in adding six to eight new customers in those targeted areas. Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in general in 2020.
Consumer confidence will be the X factor. In the U.S., there continues to be volatility with regard to trade, tariffs and increased debt—all of which factor heavily into how consumers react. The election will also have an impact. Where do you see the greatest opportunities?
The greatest opportunities for Wickham Hardwood will be our continued expansion into territories where we’ve not had any previous presence.

 

Adam Ward
Senior product director wood and laminate
Mohawk
What is your projection for the growth of the category next year?
We expect low to single-digit dollar growth category wide. What are the growth projections for your company in particular?
We expect our new launches will help us grow a little faster than the total market. What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
We’re continuing to see strength in builder and expect that to continue into next year. Cite a few of your major initiatives achieved in 2019
Navigating the consumer demand changes, trying to drive some of our forward-looking plans as well. The market continues to be strong on the premium side—as illustrated by our Karastan wood launch. Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in general in 2020.
The economy will be the judge; we keep hearing talk about recession. We definitely see housing starts and retail remodel remain strong. Where do you see the greatest opportunities?
So far all the major home builders are releasing pretty good numbers, and that bodes well for the industry at large. Brad Williams
VP, sales and marketing
Boa-Franc (Mirage)
What is your projection for the growth of the category next year?
We project mild growth approaching 3%. What are the growth projections for your company in particular?
Our company growth projections for 2020 is to outpace the market and to grow 5%-7%. What segments and/or products will fuel this growth?
We see the retail/renovation and builder segments driving this growth in 2020. Engineered platforms and wider widths will continue to outpace solid and narrower, more traditional looks. Cite a few of your major initiatives achieved in 2019
Expansion into wider widths in our locking products. We also had a major distribution change in the Mid-Atlantic markets. Lastly, we acquired Ten Oaks Flooring in Stuart, Va. Identify the “X” factor that will impact business in general in 2020.
The X factor will be how U.S. politicians will carry themselves and act in front of the world media. Will they increase or decrease confidence in the consumer that will buy flooring products? Where do you see the greatest opportunities?
The greatest opportunities for Boa-Franc lies within our existing customer base. We want to continue to help them to sell better goods that will help them to be more profitable.

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