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Mattress Mattress opens second store in Red Deer

4 July 2022
Mattresses, Retail

RED DEER, Alberta – Mattress Mattress, the regional bedding chain, has opened a second store here in this city halfway between Edmonton and Calgary, the opening move in an expansion plan that was interrupted as the country battled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eric Buchfink, chief executive officer of the family operated sleep specialist, told Home Goods Online Mattress Mattress (MM) actually got its start in this city back in June 1994.

Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood (centre right) is seen here cutting the ribbon with Mattress Mattress chief executive officer Eric Buchfink (centre left) to officially open the latest addition to the sleep specialist’s chain in the Gasoline Alley neighbourhood of Red Deer, Alberta.“Our first store was in North Red Deer across from the Brick,” he explained. “We then opened a second store in South Red Deer in 1996. It’s one of our best stores and is still in the original location. We closed the north store in 2015 because once the Brick moved it affected traffic big time.”

So, even though six years have gone by, the new unit is a replacement store but this one is located in the Red Deer neighbourhood called Gasoline Alley with the local Costco Canada warehouse and a Leon’s Furniture franchise store nearby to help generate traffic. “I’ve owned the land for years and finally developed it,” Buchfink said.

A member of the Saskatoon-based Mega Group, Mattress Mattress currently operates 17 stores – 15 are corporately owned and two are licensed – mainly in Alberta although there are single stores in both Kelowna, British Columbia and Regina, Saskatchewan.

The new Gasoline Alley store covers 6,000 square feet – a 2,400 square foot showroom with warehouse space – with some 30 mattresses on displays and a full-time staff of two, supported by a single part-timer. Buchfink notes from a selling space perspective, this store falls close to the MM average.

The exterior of the new Mattress Mattress store in the Gasoline Alley of Red Deer, Alberta. The showroom covers 2,400 square feet of selling space, the rest being warehouse space.Buchfink is more than enthusiastic about the company’s immediate future. “The group just cam off its biggest two years ever,” he said. “COVID-19 drove in business and Mattress Mattress increases beat every industry number published and our profits literally exploded.”

He also pointed out homes and rental accommodations are more affordable in Alberta that in many other parts of the country. “This greatly increases disposable income,” he said, adding, “The same holds trust in Saskatchewan, where homes have dropped in value since 2017.”

The company plans to open its 18th store in early 2023 in the Calgary neighborhood called Buffalo Run – right next to Costco. Buchfink is also expanding his licensing division and wants to recruit potential partners in Alberta and British Columbia as well as Ontario and Quebec.

Editor’s Note: Mattress Mattress’s approach to retail with be the subject of an article in the upcoming Summer 2022 edition of the HGO Merchandiser. Eric Buchfink will also be a guest on an upcoming episode of One-on-One.

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Flooring company launches furniture that ‘clicks’ together

4 July 2022
Flooring, Furniture, Manufacturing

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – When thinking of furniture requiring assembly at home, people brands requiring the use of a trusty Allen key, such as IKEA, usually spring to mind. However, this might change with a Canadian flooring producer’s launch of a unique furniture line that ‘clicks’ together without the need for any tools at all.

Pelican Creations Home, a family-owned flooring company based here introduced its ClicHome collection to retailers, designers and consumers at this year’s edition of the Interior Design Show (IDS) in Toronto.

“It’s a brand-new introduction for us,” Michael Poulin, vice-president of Pelican Creations Home, which was founded some 25 years ago, told Home Goods Online. “We’ve been primarily focused on flooring for the past 15 or so years. We’re taking the three-spine flooring technology created by Välinge Innovation (a Swedish research and development company) and putting that in furniture.”

ClicHome utilises Valinge’s patented locking system which allows the consumer/end-user to literally click pieces to create case good pieces such as bedside tables, beds, bookcases, wardrobes, cabinets, coffee tables, desks, sideboards and TV stands together.

“We have 70 items in our line, everything from bedside tables to beds to media units to chests of drawers and shoe organizations. We just finished developing bookshelves,” he says.

This chest of drawers (seen here at right) is part of the ClicHome collection from Pelican Creations Home. Set for shipping to retailers later this year, this uses Swedish technology to create a line of case goods the consumer can assemble by clicking its various components together – a first in the North American market.

According to Poulin, the collection is six times faster to assemble than traditional furniture and is equally as easy to take apart. As far as disassembly goes, all pieces come equipped with a plastic strip that disengages the locking system when it is inserted along the edge of a product.

Poulin says while ClicHome’s technology has been around for some time, his company is the first to bring it to the Canadian market.

“I discovered the three-spine technology on one of my trips to China while sourcing products. We’re bringing this product line, finally, to the North American market,” he says, adding Välinge licenses the technology out to manufacturers around the world.

“We utilized their R&D team to manufacture pieces with styles that are on-trend for the North American market. We’re the first ones to bring it to North America.”

Poulin says the products – which are slated to hit the retail market this year – are designed to appeal to a wide demographic of buyers. “We’re targeting people who are going back to college, the mom and dad setting up a new home, etc. We’ll have products that will be for anyone setting up a home, a room, or a condo. We’re offering a premium product that goes together easily, and it can go with you to college and then back to your mom’s house. It’s no-tools furniture assembly, and it doesn’t take any strength to put it together.”

As far as aesthetics go, Poulin says ClicHome products are designed to appeal to consumers seeking out sleek, affordable home goods.

“[Being in the] flooring industry gives us the know-how and insight into furniture. For the overall style, we’re following what’s happening in Europe and the U.K., that’s usually a trendsetter. Mid-century modern to somewhat traditional items, we feel are on-trend right now. It’s what you’d see at Structube and EQ3 and these are the customers that we’re looking to chase as well,” he says.

“We use particleboard and metals. We don’t use any pure solid woods because of the inconsistencies in the wood and the weight.”

While the product is not yet available for purchase as of this writing, Poulin says Pelican has already received positive feedback and is working on generating buzz with the help of Toronto Raptors sportscaster and analyst Jack Armstrong, who is currently working as a brand ambassador for the company.

Jack Armstrong, the voice of the Toronto Raptors – this country’s only representative in the National Basketball Association (NBA) – is the celebrity spokesman for Pelican Home Creations and its new ling of ClicHome furniture.“[Armstrong has come] to meet and greets and he came to IDS. We had a day on the golf course with Jack Armstrong,” he says, adding Armstrong is also working with Pelican to promote its new CushionTech flooring line.

CushionTech, which is expected to roll out at retailers this fall, has been five years in the making. “It’s SPC (stone plastic composite) flooring that’s engineered and manufactured in a different way with a comfort layer of EVA,” says Poulin.

Poulin says CushionTech – which has been designed for both residential and commercial environments – features Uniclic, a locking technology created by Belgium-based Unilin Technologies that allows for faster installation. According to Pelican, the flooring’s Comfort Core technology integrates a soft ‘cushion’ layer underneath the top layer of the flooring to improve ergonomics and provide a more comfortable walking surface.

“IDS was our first time introducing ClicHome to the public eye, and we were thrilled by the response we did get. The smile on people’s faces when they click down the lid on a bookcase or a desk, they’re shocked. We opened the eyes of a lot of designers who wanted to know, ‘where can I get this?’ There’s something missing out there that people are looking for. It’s a new way of doing ordinary things,” he enthused.

“It’s exciting to see retailers and customers in Canada get excited. Everyone is looking for that new thing, that exciting thing to break the old mould and that’s what CushionTech and ClicHome are bringing to the market.”

Furniture, home furnishings store sales make gains in April

4 July 2022
By the Numbers, Retail

OTTAWA – Furniture store sales continued to make significant gains in year-over-year sales in April 2022, according to the latest figures published by Statistics Canada in its latest Monthly Retail Trade Survey (MRTS). Home furnishings stores also turned in a strong performance when compared to April last year although that of electronics and appliance stores was much more modest.

Most analysts were quick to point out the surges can be attributed to one factor: most of the country was in lockdown throughout April 2021 as part of the effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, merchants were forced to rely on e-commerce as customers weren’t allowed to visit their stores. But now that they can, brick-and-mortar stores are seeing a resurgence in both floor traffic and sales.

Furniture store sales in Canada made significant gains in April over April 2021 but observers are concerned consumers will move away from goods to services, such as travel and entertainment, as pandemic restrictions continued to be lifted.The national bean counter set furniture store sales at an actual and preliminary $1.17 billion for the month of April 2022, virtually unchanged from those rung-up in March. They were also up 23.4% over the $951.7 million in sales for April 2021.

While April’s advance from March sales was insignificant, it was the second consecutive month of improving sales, following February’s stumble.

For the first four months of 2022, furniture store sales totalled $4.36 billion, a 16.1% gain over the $3.76 billion for the comparable period last year.

Statistics Canada defines a furniture store as a retail establishment generating 51% or more of its annual revenue from the sale of furniture and mattresses.

It should be noted the MRTS tracks only sales made by what Statistics Canada refers to as ‘location based’ retail, that is, brick-and-mortar stores. These figures do not include sales by digital only furniture purveyors such as Rove Concepts or Article. But, adding to the confusion, they do include the e-commerce sales of all predominately brick-and-mortar merchants such as Brault & Martineau, Leon’s, The Brick and Sleep Country Canada.

Meanwhile, home furnishings stores – a catchall that includes flooring specialists, lighting stores as well as merchants focusing on accent, occasional furniture and decorative accessories – saw actual and preliminary sales drop 10.2% in April to $658.4 million from $732.9 million in March. However, they were 18.3% higher than the $579.6 million sold in April 2021.

For the year-to-date, home furnishings store sales tallied $2.56 billion compared to $2.26 billion for the comparable 2021 period – a gain of 13.4%.

Electronics and appliance stores continued to turn in modest and stable growth as its actual and preliminary sales for April were set at $1.14 billion. This was off 8.6% from the $1.25 billion sold in March but up 5.3% from the $1.08 billion sold in April 2021.

Sales for the first four months of 2022 totalled $4.46 billion, up 1.5% from the $4.40 billion sold during the same period last year.

For the most part, both furniture and home furnishings stores kept pace with many of the remaining durable goods categories – such as clothing, sporting goods, general merchandise and health/personal care stores. Statistics Canada noted total location-based store sales were up 8.9% in April 2022 over April 2022.

Motor vehicles and grocery stores continued to struggle in April.

Most analysts believe in the coming months, retail sales will be impacted by two major trends: a shift in consumer spending away from goods – such as furniture, mattresses and appliances – to services and high inflation.

“We expect to see some continued moderation in retail sales volumes as spending on goods gives way to rebounding spending on services, such as concert tickets, vacations and dining-out. Already changing consumer preference have caught some retailers off guard, with too much inventory of items where demand has been easing,” a senior member of the team at TD Economics said in a research note.

Samsung Canada launches bespoke kitchen appliance line-up

4 July 2022
Appliances

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Taking a cue from higher-end upholstery producers, Samsung Electronics Canada (SEC) has launched a its Bespoke collection to the Canadian market, a series of kitchen appliances bringing personal style and taste into centre of almost every home, without losing a scintilla of functionality.

SEC’s parent company first unveiled the line at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and launched it globally earlier this spring. The collection includes new three-door and four-door refrigerators, alongside the new Bespoke dishwasher, range and over-the-range microwave.

Seen here are new models from Samsung’s new Bespoke collection of kitchen appliances, including the four-door French refrigerator.“The Bespoke lineup is the latest from Samsung to offer flexible and customizable technologies that meet the varied needs and priorities of Canadians with different lifestyles and forms of self-expression,” Pat Bugos, senior vice president of consumer electronics for Samsung Electronics Canada, said in a statement. “As a leader in tech innovation, Samsung continues to redefine everyday experiences with functional and stylish appliances, and this Bespoke lineup is a household gamechanger.”

Allowing consumers to complement their own personal style, the new Bespoke french door refrigerator is available in thousands of style combinations based off a set of 11 colours and three distinct finishes: glass, matte glass and steel. With new colours such as Emerald Green, Morning Blue and Clementine, the refrigerator is a blank canvass for any style. In addition to an array of colour options, the refrigerator also features Samsung’s cooling and storage innovations such as the Beverage Centre, Dual Auto Ice Maker and FlexZone.

The customization and innovation is available across all major kitchen appliance categories with the new Bespoke dishwasher, range and over-the-range microwave. The expanded kitchen package, which comes in Navy Steel, White Glass, Emerald Green Steel and Matte Gray Glass for the dishwasher, and Navy Steel and White Glass for the range and over-the-range microwave, features built-in SmartThings technology, connecting the entire home through the Samsung SmartThings app for advanced automation and customization.

Later this year, SEC will take the Bespoke home portfolio beyond the kitchen with the launch of the new Bespoke front-load washer and dryer, and the Bespoke Jet, a cordless stick vacuum, opening up new ways for Canadians to integrate Samsung innovations throughout their home.

The Samsung Bespoke 2022 kitchen lineup is being shipped to select retailers across the country and will also be available via the company’s web site.

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Home Goods Online.ca and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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