Floor Focus - February 2010

2010: Year Of The Rug
By Samantha Siegel

Elements from Nourison is 100 percent wool and has been getting great reactions from buyers.
This design from Dynamic Rugs uses texture and shading to enhance a neutral colored rug.

With rug sales on the rise, manufacturers predict a good year

2010 marks the year of the tiger in Chinese astrology. Suited to thrive on unpredictability, the tiger is capable of navigating the many challenges that are forecast for the year ahead. Rug manufacturers share similar attributes with the tiger and plan to flourish the same way. While the recession is still far from over, rug producers, including those that will be on hand during the Las Vegas Market at the World Market Center, Feb. 1 to 5, 2010, are seeing glimmers of hope for 2010 and believe this year will bring more business and design innovation.

Matthew Rouhanian, president, Dynamic Rugs, believes, “As consumers start to use their homes to relax and live in, and the frenzy to flip real estate ends, consumers will begin to redecorate and update their interiors.

“There are more hard flooring surfaces being sold for use in U.S. homes than ever before and for safety, comfort and design, homeowners will buy rugs to decorate their homes,” says Rouhanian.

Dynamic Rugs is taking a bold stand in 2010 and introducing more than 80 new rug designs. It has expanded its outdoor rug selection as well as its shag line, now offering 15 collections that each include more than 30 rugs.

In 2009, many retailers were wary of buying new product, but with their inventory decreasing and customers slowly starting to buy again, they are beginning to turn to vendors for new merchandise.

Tufenkian has recently introduced Yak-Soo, a 100 percent organic rug that is colored with organic vegtable dyes. Since the vegetable dye is not as uniform as other dyes, no two rugs look exactly the same—the rug has a natural and unique color gradation. Yak-Soo’s high pile woven from extremely thick yarn, gives the rug a shag look and feel.
Blossom by Thomas Paul for Chandra Rugs is hand-tufted of rich 100 percent New Zealand wool, shown in persimmon.
Esplanade from Company C mimics the architectural detail found in the biking and walking path circling Boston’s Charles River.

“We perceive the market will improve from a buying aspect,” says Michael Heath, national sales manager, Chandra Rugs. “There is a lot of pent up demand to purchase, as so many consumers put off purchases for so long. Area rugs are projected to be one of the top-selling items in home furnishings for 2010.”

Partnering with Thomas Paul and Amy Butler, Chandra has found that its designer lines are strong sellers. The bold graphics and colors seem to resonate well with buyers.

“Vendors and retailers are entering 2010 with a renewed energy. Many of us saw nice sales increases in the last few months of 2009 that have generated some excitement and the need for retailers to re-freshen their assortments,” says Wendy Weiss, key account manager of sales and marketing, Kas Rugs.

The first rug markets of 2010 have proven to be a success for Nourison. “At the recent markets we’ve had a definitive improvement from 2009, not just in foot traffic, but in actual buying customers,” says Joyce Lowe, executive director, Nourison.

Even though retailers are buying new merchandise, Al Mortensen, creative director, Surya states, “We believe ‘niche’ retailers will see their way through the tough market. Those are rug sellers who are specialized or meet the needs in a certain area the Big Guys can’t (or won’t) touch, and who offer high-end product and special order programs that meet the customer’s specific size and color needs.”

2010: The Trends

Bright colors, texture and unusual construction will reign supreme in 2010.

“The latest color trends are brighter greens, golds, corals, crimson reds, medium neutrals in browns and greys and in general, more metallic finishes. There are so many solid color upholstery fabrics coming out that consumers can use stronger and bolder designs in the rugs that they choose,” says Dynamic’s Rouhanian.

Surya hopes to use color to brighten its customers’ lives by introducing “Brighter and bolder hot accent colors, such as plum/purple, apple green and peacock/teal. I think it is very indicative of the current mood in the country. Things are down so people are looking for colors to lift their spirits,” states Mortensen.

Joëlle Sarette, marketing coordinator, Company C, sees modern colors used to updated traditional designs. “We definitely see a trend toward turquoise/aqua in home furnishings this year,” she says. “In addition, we see a move to modern-traditional (dubbed Motra), designs that feature classic motifs and architectural details in a fresh modern way.”

More than ever color is being used to freshen-up previous styles to make them more attractive to a more modern consumer.

“Traditional styles have remained strong, however, color palettes are continually updating to remain current and fresh. Transitional designs and soft transitional rugs in particular are becoming important market staples,” says Hamed Damavandi, marketing and advertising manager, Loloi.

Barbara Fuller, marketing director, Tufenkian, believes people are looking for interesting textured rugs and no longer want a conservative pile height.

“Constructions are going to be big for 2010. No more conservative piles; shearing, hemp and high and low piles are in,” Fuller says.

Weiss agrees and also believes retailers are looking to find quality products that will up their sales.

“Unusual constructions and mixes of texture are emerging as strong trends for 2010. Price is still important, but better constructions are not ruled out,” she says. “Retailers are saying that they need to raise their ‘average ticket’ price point. Determining what the product is that will do that is our challenge.”
2010, bringing fresh perspectives and interesting products, looks to be a stand-out year for rugs.


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