Sleep Retailer eNews | April 26, 2018

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Sleep Retailer's "2018 Spring Market Trends" Is Now Online

Over the years, we’ve come to expect the High Point Market to be a slower affair than its Las Vegas counterpart – and last week’s spring show was par for the course. As rainy weather throughout the country wreaked havoc on travel plans, the bedding floors were unsurprisingly quiet. New introductions were few and far between, as many of the products on display had already made their debut in Las Vegas. And yet, despite this, the outlook remained positive. From the manufacturer standpoint, the High Point Market benefitted from quality over quantity – as slower foot traffic allowed for more meaningful conversations with the regional, furniture, big box and even online retailers that were in attendance.

It was clear across the board that the summer market is already top of mind for a lot of bedding companies – with a number of brands even starting to tease the new collections that they will be unveiling in July. As a whole, the spring High Point Market served as a valuable opportunity to explore more creative retail opportunities.

Click here to read more about the top trends we saw at the spring High Point Market. 


The End Of Bon-Ton: A Cautionary Tale For Mid-Priced Retailers

Closed Sign In Store Window

Another retailer bites the dust. Last week, Bon-Ton Stores Inc announced it would be closing its doors. In addition to selling off its assets to a joint venture of bondholders and liquidators, the retailer will be shutting down its 250+ stores and laying off nearly 24,000 associates. Once a thriving chain, Bon-Ton ultimately suffered from its lack of a clear or memorable hook; it wasn’t the cheapest or the most expensive, nor was it known for its unique or reliable customer service. In fact, its demise says a lot about the current state of the retail industry in the US - proving that the riskiest place for a retailer to be right now is middle-of-the-road.

Bon-Ton’s mid-priced approach was, at one point, its strength. The retailer flourished in the mid-2000’s, logging both successful sales numbers and soaring stocks. This growth prompted the company to buy more than 100 new stores throughout the Midwest - a decision that ultimately contributed to its downfall. The expansion left the company with significant debt, which it attempted to offset by cutting expenses and laying off workers. With less staff on hand, Bon-Ton’s already unmemorable shopping experience suffered even more. As the ecommerce retail market has grown, today's consumers now have greater choice when it comes to where and how they shop. Because its physical locations offered no added value, Bon-Ton’s customers likely migrated to online stores that offered comparable prices and greater convenience.

While it may be easy to place blame for the “retail apocalypse” on ecommerce disrupters, there’s much more to the story. By ultimately staying complacent in the face of a changing industry, Bon-Ton became yet another casualty of retail’s “death in the middle.” According to a study recently published by Deloitte, the downfall of traditional retail is primarily affecting mid-priced store brands. Over the course of more than a year, the company conducted an in-depth exploration of the US retail industry at large - taking into account overarching changes in the economy in addition to polling a representative sample of 2,000 consumers. In doing so, Deloitte found that both low-priced and premium retailers are actually still thriving - with sales from low-priced stores growing nearly 40% and sales from premium stores jumping over 80% over the past five years. But middle-of-the-road retailers are not faring so well. During that same period, mid-priced stores have seen less than 10% sales increase - with sales actually dropping 2% in the past year.

This “great retail bifurcation,” as Deloitte calls it, is likely a result of the widening wealth gap in the US. The poorest 40% of Americans had less discretionary money to spend in 2016 than in 2007 - while the richest faction of our country has seen both their net worth and discretionary money continue to grow over the years.

This is a particularly important lesson for mattress retailers, many of whom have been longtime acolytes of the old-school “something for everyone” approach. While the mid-range price point may have once been the safest bet for retail stores, that’s simply no longer the case. Bon-Ton’s story also shows the real risks of cutting expenses on staffing and customer service; while it may save money in the short-term, it may be the final deal breaker for many shoppers. Ultimately, the retailers that will continue to thrive in today's industry are those that invest in their stores, develop a clear brand position and work to create a memorable shopping experience. Average just won’t cut it anymore.

Read more here, here and here.


Is It Ok For Your Pet To Sleep In Your Bed?
Sleeping couple plus dog

The debate about whether or not pets should be allowed to sleep in the bedroom has been a longstanding one. Thankfully, two recent articles have explored some of the pros and cons. While the New York Times explains the mental health benefits behind snuggling with your feline or canine friends, Realtor.com considers whether or not sleepers should be concerned with the germs they bring into the mix. Ultimately, the general consensus seems to be that it's perfectly ok to allow your pet to sleep in your bed or bedroom – with some caveats, of course.

In a recent study from the Mayo Clinic, researchers studied whether or not pets disrupt their owners’ sleep. By tracking 40 adult dogs who shared bedrooms with their owners (who did not have any sleep disorders), the clinic determined that the humans were not terribly disrupted, with most of the participants sleeping just fine. Details like a dog's temperament, personal sleeping disorders, snoring from either party and more should figure into your decision to share your bed with your dog – but generally, pets are proven not to be too disruptive to sleep. In fact, they may even make great cuddle buddies.

While sleep disruption may not be the reason to avoid sharing your bed, Natalie Way, associate editor at realtor.com, wondered if germs could spread between a human and canine companion if they shared a bed. In her article, she uses her own dog, Abbey, who sometimes digs in the garbage as an example. "Abbey loves pawing through garbage; I was once horrified to catch her chomping on a dried, dead squirrel,” Way explained. “Might having her lounge on our bed increase the odds that my husband or I could catch ... something?"

After speaking with a veterinarian specialist, Way learned that healthy dogs and owners have little to fear and that most veterinarians also share their beds with their pets. While her research yielded an affirmative conclusion, she did pick up some tips and facts to help owners maintain a hygienic shared sleeping space.

You can get diseases from your dog (but it's unlikely)

Mange and ringworm are two skins diseases you can contract from your dog, but both are rare among people and very treatable. You would likely be aware if your dog had either of these issues - and that information may also figure into your decision to allow your dog to occupy your bed. Additionally, most pets can carry fleas and ticks. That's why it is important to always check your pet over for ticks and keep them on preventative medicine to ward off fleas.

Keeping your pet and your space clean can also help maintain health

It seems like common sense, but should you share a bed with any pet (especially one that sheds) it's important to change your sheets regularly. If your pet goes outside often, which is definitely the case for dogs, be sure to keep them clean as well. Additionally, air purifiers can help those with any allergies, but if you do have severe asthma or allergies, it's probably smart to make your bedroom a dog-free zone.

For people who make a habit of sharing their bed with Fido, there are plenty of sleep products that can help them maintain an overall better sleep environment -- from antimicrobial mattress protectors and sheets to temperature-regulating and airflow-promoting mattresses. Of course, there are plenty of bedding companies making high-quality pet beds too – a great option for all of those pet-loving customers out there who maybe want a little space from their furry friend.

Read more here, here and here.


Did You Know?

73% of consumers say they must lie on a bed before buying, despite the assurance of online return guarantees. From Colonial LLC’s Mattress Shopper Study

Stay tuned for more key stats from Colonial LLC's Mattress Shopper Study.