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LEXINGTON, Ky.-Tempur-Pedic, known for its viscoelastic memory foam mattresses, has been pushing its brand into other product categories -- and other countries, under its Tempur World parent name.

Already for 2002, the company has exhibited its mattresses, recliners and office seating at furniture shows in Frankfurt and Cologne, Germany; Paris; and Birmingham, England. In North America, it exhibited in San Francisco and Toronto.

Tempur-Pedic's space cabin, introduced last April in High Point, N.C., was a hit with European retailers, according to Peter Schmidt, vice president of industrial and commercial sales.

The space cabin is designed for a consumer to lie on a moving Tempur-Pedic mattress in a darkened, cloistered room, experiencing an imaginary, 10-minute space flight. As any bedding retailer will attest, enticing a bedding customer to lie on a bed that long for a test is nearly impossible. Tempur-Pedic's Tempur memory foam was originally developed for the NASA space program, and the company uses that connection in its marketing.

"What the retailers like is that people can experience our product for longer than five seconds," Schmidt said. "It's been a great marketing tool."

In addition to being used by U.S. retailers, the space cabin is found in retail stores in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Israel.

"What the retailers have found is that once they put the cabin in, their sales of our product doubled," Schmidt said.

Tempur-Pedic continues to get its Tempur memory foam technology into office chairs and recliners. For the past three years, the foam has been used by Neutral Posture, Grahl and Jobri, small U.S. office chair companies.

Tempur-Pedic also makes its own office chair, which it markets under its own name through retailers, catalogs and direct-response promotions.

In Europe, Tempur World has had success for the past two years with office chairs made by Comforto, the German division of Haworth.

"We are still trying to work something out with them in the United States, but we have had quite a bit of success with them in Europe," Schmidt said.

At the European shows, Tempur World, in addition to promoting its beds and pillows, stocked its conference tables with chairs by Comforto and Ahrend, each with viscoelastic foam.

Tempur World also used the four markets to introduce its own five-model Relax line of zero-gravity reclining chairs. The line is produced in Germany at the former Kruse System furniture plant, purchased two years ago by Tempur-Pedic.

Two models of the Relax line were introduced to U.S. retailers last October through The Lane Co. under the Tempur-Rest by Lane name.
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Author:Kunkel, Karl
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 18, 2002

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