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Surya Records Banner E-Comm Year, Expects Big Box, Online Sales to Grow in 2021

Despite not participating in the digital New York Home Fashions Market's spring 2021 event, Surya continues to beef up new product rollouts for the channel following strong 2020 results.

Lisa Vincenti
display of contemporary colored traditional design rugs
Surya, after targeting big box and online retailers, began introducing targeted promotional machine-made area rugs. Shown, Mirabel collection

WHITE, Ga. -- Surya's focus on the mass merchant and e-commerce channel in recent years has paid off and the company expects 2021 to further cement the relationships established with those retailers.

In fact, Surya returned to the major big box and mass merchant home textiles event -- the New York Home Fashions Market -- after more than a decade absence in March 2019 and despite that bi-annual market's cancellation of in-person shows in 2020, the Georgia company saw sales jump in the mass merchant and online channels.

"We will have quite a bit more sales volume with mass merchant accounts in 2021 than we did in 2020," Satya Tiwari, president, Surya, told RugNews.com. "For e-commerce, in 2020 we had ambitious growth targets that were significantly surpassed with a banner year in home. As we start 2021 we have much more subdued growth expectations primarily because of the challenging comparisons, but strong absolute dollar plans."

Satya Tiwari, Surya president, anticipates the latest promotional fashion rugs will help boost sales at mass merchants and online in 2021.

Driven by the overall industry's growth in online rug sales, Surya, which was founded in 1976 and established a U.S. division ten years later, has been beefing up its product line for e-commerce since 2016 with a major emphasis on machine-made collections and on value-driven wovens and flatweaves. In spring 2019, the company leased a NY Home Fashions Market space at the Prince George Ballroom, located at 15 E. 27 St., to test the waters and showcase its new promotional assortment. At the time Tiwari noted, "We are historically a value handmade company, and therefore had not typically catered to the mass market. But in the last two years our product line has shifted tremendously, and that's what brought us here."

The response from that spring rollout, prompted the company to take a much larger, temporary space with a massive launch of 50 new area rug collections at 295 5th Ave., Suite 1602, for the fall 2019 edition. "We invested heavily in fashion and style, including at lower price points. With collections more in line with mass merchants, many realized that we have a wide variety of products to offer -- and we can deliver."

Nearly two years later and following an unprecedented global pandemic, Surya's focus on the mass merchant and online category proved fortuitous. "We see big box retailers continue to win big in the rug business both in stores and online," Tiwari said. "Most of these companies were designated as essential businesses during the 2020 lockdowns and they were able to draw in new customers as a result. At the same time, their e-commerce platforms are improving their customer engagement, product assortment and service capability."

Surya's new affordable, trendy Huntington Beach offers a boho-styling for indoors and out.

"And, stand-alone e-commerce platforms will continue to benefit from the secular shift to this channel and from the significant number of new customers they acquired during 2020 to drive positive growth," he continued. "However, e-commerce businesses will almost certainly decelerate significantly from the high growth rates experienced in the period following COVID-19 as year-over-year comparisons become quite challenging."

Surya, which hired Brandon Culpepper to head up its mass merchant expansion in January 2019, used 2020 to establish relationships in the category and to develop initial product plans with key accounts and predicts those relationships to continue to bear fruit this year. In addition, the company continued to roll out new products targeted to the category in 2020 at in-person markets in Dallas and High Point, North Carolina.

"As those products come online in 2021, we should see some nice growth in the channel," Tiwari said.

To meet the goal, Surya will focus on delivering on-trend product that is offered at the right prices. "We have seen quite a bit of product diversity flow into the mass merchant channel -- everything from machine made synthetics to handmade rugs made from natural fibers," Tiwari added. "Buyers at mass merchants are looking for fashion at a price that is serviced well from the U.S. They are looking to use their large formats to bring product to market that is more fashion forward, performs well in homes, and that fits within existing price points. They are all eager to fill gaps in their assortments, allowing them to continue to grow market share in the home décor category."caption

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