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DISPLAY EVOLUTION; VENDORS ADD FLEXIBILITY TO CREATE RETAIL-FRIENDLY AREA RUG PRESENTATIONS.

NEW YORK-With the emergence of new retail channels, rug manufacturers face the challenge of creating effective displays that are flexible enough to be used in many different types of venues.

Beaulieu's latest offering is called the "show box." This 4-by-4, 10-foot-high fixture boasts 15 arms and has the capacity to hold 30 rugs. The arms slide out for easy viewing, and the entire display can be moved on wheels.

The company has created the cabinet-like show boxes for its licensed Raymond Waites and Waverly collections and is planning to introduce one for Laura Ashley at the High Point Market in October.

"We developed this display because many retailers that carry Raymond Waites and Waverly are not necessarily in the rug business," said Spence Higgins, advertising and public relations manager for the company. "Fabric and department stores may carry the rugs because they are showing other product from these designers and don't have room for a big rack." The show box is an easy, compact way for the stores to add the rugs.

Beaulieu will design the rack for the customer to reflect colors used in the designer's packaging and merchandising.

"We think of the display as a rug boutique, to emphasize the rugs," Higgins added. "They're also good for retail housekeeping."

Matt Blitz, director of advertising and public relations at Nourison, said that the company works with display houses to create the right presentation for a retailer.

"We will make custom racks," he said. "We come up with the ideas, and [the display houses] have the expertise to create it."

Nourison's newest addition to its area-rug display units includes a ladder arm that gets attached to an arm rack. The ladder arm is stepped and turns one arm into four, making it ideal for holding either four or eight 6-by-9 rugs.

Rugs can be hung-clipped at different levels or hung-over so two sides can be seen, Blitz said.

"Originally, we came up with this design for a specific use in our showroom; now we show our whole line this way," Blitz added. "Not everyone wants to buy a rug from a swatch; they want to see the whole rug before they buy it."

Feizy Import and Export will also customize a display unit to fit a store's layout, said Amir Loloi, senior vice president of the company.

Feizy offers their customers freestanding column units with bars for the rugs to be draped over. The fixtures can be easily moved around and hold many rugs in a variety of sizes. "We'll work it out with the retailer to find the best way to show the rugs," said Loloi.

Tony Evans, director of marketing for Miller Multiplex Display Fixture Co., based in Fenton, Mo., said the development and implementation of display systems has accelerated because retail venues have changed.

"In the past, rugs were only sold laying flat or on swing-arm racks in high-price specialty stores," said Evans. "With the advent of machine made rugs, product had to be specially merchandised in a whole range of new retail formats."

According to Evans, specialty stores use traditional display technology, which requires the presence of a salesperson. Discount mass merchants and home centers, however, have to be concerned with self-service, so presentation and making the rugs easy to find are important. Home centers hang rugs high and stock below, he added.

"As the mass merchants and home centers grow with experience, more things will change," Evans noted. "Some of our current displays have already almost run their course, so we have to come up with new things."
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Comment:DISPLAY EVOLUTION; VENDORS ADD FLEXIBILITY TO CREATE RETAIL-FRIENDLY AREA RUG PRESENTATIONS.
Author:Isoldi, Michael
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 28, 1999
Words:593
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