By Andrea Lillo
A quick and low-cost way to bring a fresh look to a room, scatter rugs prove they can hold their own in this economy, as the category has been doing well, manufacturers say.
Whether in the kitchen or hallway—or at Christmas—the home provides many available spaces for scatters, and consumers are taking advantage of them.
Even for manufacturers that focus on area rugs, the scatter rug category is proving to be a strong business for them that is growing.
“This category is healthier than most,” said Paula Paquette, vice president of soft home for Nourison. “And the reason for that is they offer a better value than larger rugs.” As price points usually fall below $20 or less for a 2-by-3-foot size, it’s more of an impulse item, she added. “There’s not a huge investment for the consumer,” she said.
Formerly treating its accent rug category as “a kitchen resource,” the company expanded the design focus to “treat it more like ready-to-wear and refresh it with trendy colors,” Paquette said. “Customers really liked the hand-hooked construction—so why confine it to just roosters?” So besides such kitchen motifs as fruits, vegetables and those roosters, Nourison introduced such sophisticated designs as large-scale florals at the last New York Home Fashions Market. “It was received very well,” she said. Made of polyacrylic, the line now offers more modern colors as well, she said, such as black and grays. “It’s for the upscale kitchen—it’s more sophisticated versus novelty,” she said. “It helps refresh the assortment.”
Another accent category that is doing well for Nourison is the printed carved group, Paquette added, which has a lower price point.
Overall, Nourison will show more than 100 new designs at the New York market, Paquette said, as well as 100 new holiday designs, an area that also does well for the company.
Mohawk Home is also upbeat on scatters. “The activity in this category remains stronger than other areas, and we look for that trend to continue as we work through 2009 and into 2010,” said Jim Quist, vice president of sales. Even in this environment, the category is an area of growth, he said. “Our customer is looking for affordable fashion.”
For the category, the tufted and printed constructions are the largest businesses for Mohawk, and most of its new investment is in those areas, Quist added. “Tufted is growing due to the yarn innovation and more popular lower price points,” he said, and at market “We will feature new patterns at promotional prices to address the demand for trend right design at opening price points.” Mohawk will also highlight the kitchen programs and feature a coordinated collection of product from utility to “beautifully patterned” hooked rugs.
Mohawk will also “further evolve the shag category,” Quist said, rolling out its largest launch of shag constructions with new fiber combinations. “The shag construction continues to grow throughout the home,” he said. “It is comfortable, stylish and easy to decorate around.” The new tufted shags will have combinations of different yarn colors and specs to give the shag products much more texture and surface interest, he said.
Mohawk will debut its largest launch of printed scatters at this New York market, Quist said. New print bases, designed to coordinate with the print patterns, “will give the prints a third dimension of styling,” he said. “Prints are growing as we add new tufted patterns and contemporary designs that lend themselves to the printed technology.” Much of the development in the printed category is in contemporary styling, he added.
Mohawk’s woven rug business will also unveil six new creels. “From new opening-price-point constructions to million-point products, we work hard to develop scatter rugs to complement the ever-growing area rug categories,” Quist said.
Surya started its scatter business two years ago, and it’s been expanding ever since, said Seth King, vice president of sales and marketing. The company is known for its color and style in area rugs, he added, and it is now “translating these designs into scatters as well.” The category offers other benefits, he added. “A lot of retailers like the color and style of Surya rugs but can’t afford the larger area rugs, so this is a way to get Surya rugs at a lower price point,” he said. The price points that work for scatters range from $19.99 to $29.99, he added, and the company has them made in the United States, Egypt or China, depending on how low the price has to be.
For Orian Rugs, the scatter category is “not a huge business, but a good business for us,” said Paul Sullivan, senior vice president of sales and marketing. Its scatters mostly focus on the seasonal categories, “where the retailer brings it in one time and it’s done,” and otherwise it will be a scatter size in an area rug program.
Though its scatters are mostly backed with latex, Orian will show rubber-backed scatter rugs, as well, at the market in New York. “We’re testing the market,” Sullivan said. “We want to see if it gives value back to the customer.” They would be more expensive than the latex-backed products, he said, lending themselves more to everyday and fashion rather than seasonal products, which are price-sensitive and have a shorter selling period.
For Momeni, scatters are a special program it offers to certain retailers, said Marlys Giordano, director of new product development. “In this economy it’s a great part of the business,” she said. And she’s finding that the customers “purchasing them from us are faring better in this economy.” The company offers hand-tufted acrylic, tufted wool and wool-hooked scatter rugs, she said. Hooked rugs have “a certain design appeal in this category,” she added, as “they have a crafty, traditional look.” The company recently had a soft launch of a kids’ line in Atlanta, and which includes die-cut scatters. The kids’ line “was a niche we were really missing,” she said.
“It’s largely an impulse buy product,” said Henry Chandler, president of Chandler 4 Corners. “A consumer sees an accent rug and says, ‘That looks so adorable, I have to buy it.’ ” The company offers hooked rugs in such motifs as lodge, pets and holiday, and about a quarter of its designs are updated every year, he said. “It’s a trendy business so it needs to move in the direction the customers are moving.”
But the design has to be right, as the customer decides whether or not to purchase that rug “within five minutes if not five seconds,” Chandler said. There are six elements to get the consumer to buy a rug, he said someone told him once — and the first three are color.