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Broadloom, Cut & Sew, Retail

CCA Global Retailers Eye Add-On Rug Sales as Smart Business

CCA Global dealers at Dallas convention check out custom rug offerings allowing them to be in the rug business without having to devote a large amount of space to inventory.

RugNews.com Editors
Jared Coffin,The Dixie Group, withHailey and Mike Anderson of Anderson Flooring Plus Carpet One
CCA Global Partners Retail Group’s annual conneXtion convention held in the Dallas area earlier this month hosted 1,200 dealers.

SPECIAL REPORT -- Research conducted for carpet mills has shown that within weeks of purchasing hard surface flooring—roughly 80 percent of consumers will look to accessorize the floor with a rug.

These days that add-on could be a traditional area rug or—more likely among flooring retailers—a custom rug.

The trend has been around for a few years but has gained popularity recently. It was a topic of conversation at the recent CCA Global Partners conneXtion 24 convention in Grapevine, Texas, where a gathering of 1,200 dealers representing Carpet One Floors & Home, and Flooring America/Flooring Canada convened. The annual event, held Jan. 14-17, featured a jam-packed agenda with the aim of helping independent retailers increase traffic and sales. "This convention is built around initiatives to impact their businesses immediately. We’re focusing heavily on ways to drive more traffic through accelerating smart marketing initiatives, a full day of hands-on education sessions, incorporating more peer-led panels, and expanding our member-to-member networking for invaluable connections with other owners,” said John Gilbert, president of Carpet One Floor & Home.

What many dealers find so appealing with custom rug options is that it allows them an opportunity to be in the rug business without having to devote a large amount of space to inventory. Many have seized this opportunity. A case in point is Taylor Carpet One Floor & Home, Fort Myers, Florida, which promotes its custom area rugs internally, mostly during its hard-surface sales process. “We prefer the custom rugs because people can get exactly what they want and do not have to settle for a pre-made rug,” said John Taylor, owner. “It seems most pre-made rugs are selling online and are not really our customer. The option for custom sizes is a big deal to many of our customers, too.  As a result, we sell a good amount of custom area rugs.”

Nourison's popular Hagaman broadloom brand continues to add fresh collections to its assortment.

Several suppliers exhibiting at CCA had ready-made programs on hand. Nourison, which continually grows and updates its custom programs, showcased myriad broadloom collections as well as it programmed machine-washable rugs. Talking to retailers about its display units of washable rugs that easily fit in a typical flooring retailer’s showroom. “We ship the units just like they are,” said Don Karlin, director of broadloom sales. “Cash and carry is atypical of how a carpet store operates, but we want to make it easy for them.” 

Nourison showcases its machine-washable rug display, which offers a convenient, small footprint grab-and-go option for retailers.
The Stanton Rug Company, for example, offers a spin unit of 104 SKUs—all hand loomed—encompassing wool, nylon and polyester, as well as indoor/outdoor rugs. “Everyone who sees it, loves it,” said Mitch White, vice president of sales. “We’re hitting key price points you’re not going to find with hand-loomed products.” Stanton offers its rugs in four pre-made sizes—6x9, 8x10, 9x12, and 10x12.

Mitch White of Stanton with the Stanton Rug Company display reports that attendees give its hand-loomed carpets a big thumbs up.

All three of The Dixie Group’s brands, as well as its decorative division, were on exhibit in Texas; each brand offers custom programs. “Our rug business continues to grow, and the decorative business just feeds into rugs,” said Jared Coffin, vice president, product management. “All the custom sizes and shapes we offer works right in with our rug program.”

Coffin said traffic was busy at the TDG booth. “All the dealers were proactive, and there was a good vibe out there.”

Jared Coffin (left) of The Dixie Group shows flooring dealers Hailey and Mike Anderson of Anderson Flooring 
Plus Carpet One the latest product.

The Role of RSAs

Retail sales associates play an influential role in the add-on rug sale, as it’s their job is to explain to customers how rugs complement hard surfaces by adding a touch of luxury and uniqueness—without having to fully commit to carpeting.

That said, some dealers say converting the additional sale is not exactly a layup. As Adam Joss, owner of The Vertical Connection Carpet One, Columbia, Maryland, explained, “The add-on area rug has always been a great opportunity and continues to be. The challenge continues to be that RSA’s often work so hard for the [hard surface] floor that there’s a bit of fatigue when it comes time for the rug. The fact remains, however, that it absolutely presents an opportunity.”

Fellow Carpet One retailer Cathy Buchanan encourages her sales associates to recommend the add-on purchase following a hard surface sale. “We are finding that quite a bit of our soft surface sales lately has been geared towards runners and area rugs due to the high volume of hard surface sales,” said Buchanan, co-owner of Independent Carpet One Floor & Home, Westland, Michigan “In many instances, we immediately mention the acoustics, comfort, and warmth that a rug or runner will add to her home.”

Cathy Buchanan of Independent Carpet One Floor & Home: “Quite a bit of our soft surface sales lately have been
geared towards runners and area rugs due to the high volume of hard surface sales.

Mill executives said they would like to see more retailers follow Independent Carpet One’s lead and actively seek to convert more customers at the point of sale. “I tell dealers all the time that if you don’t close the rug deal in your showroom you will lose the deal, and they will buy elsewhere,” Karlin said. “It is just a question of where and how consumers are going to purchase [rugs].”

For Frazier Carpet One Floor & Home, Knoxville, Tennessee, RSAs are trained to offer both pre-fashioned area rugs (it stocks dozens) and custom rugs (which it fashions in-house). “We find it ups the ticket, ups the margin, can be used to close larger hard surface jobs more efficiently, helps us turn stock carpet and reinforces our position as a turnkey provider adept at design services,” Frazier said.
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