FORT MILL, S.C.–Springs Global is attempting to refocus its business with a new organizational structure centered around brands.
In an interview with HFN, Tom O’Connor, group president of the company’s U.S. unit, said, “We’ve come to the conclusion that we needed to elevate branding relative to our three product groups, bedding, bath and basic bedding.”
The new structure has created two new entities, a brand-business unit and a private-label business unit. Former Ralph Lauren executive Joe Granger has been brought on board to head the branded-business unit, while Harvey Simon, a Springs veteran, is in charge of the private-label unit.
O’Connor added, “We are now also more focused on consumers. We will be focused on developing the depth of our brands and on understanding our brands from the consumer perspective as well as the retailer perspective.”
The new emphasis on brands comes at a time when Springs is at a crossroads. Through the first three quarters of 2008, the company’s overall sales fell by 23 percent, with steep declines in all three main product segments. Two of its top brands, Springmaid and Wamsutta, have been rocked from several directions over the past few years—Springmaid by a decline in sales from its key customer, Walmart; and Wamsutta by sales drops resulting from the departure of customers such as Linens ’n Things.
“We are now focused on developing both our brands and the stores’ brands,” O’Connor said. “We will put more of our resources behind the brands, building ours and participating in the development of the retailers’ brands.”
Springs is already in the midst of the relaunch of Springmaid, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year around a strategy involving broader distribution. The first ensembles under this campaign will reach retail shelves this spring.
One thing that has not changed in the restructuring is Springs’ “team” concept of dealing with its retail customers; the teams will now work within the new structure, O’Connor said. “Those teams remain an important part of what we bring to the table with our retail customers,” he said. The team leaders report to directly to O’Connor, as they did under the previous structure.
The restructuring was announced shortly after news reports said a number of top Springs executives had left the company. O’Connor did not comment on those reports.