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Scottish Furniture Show at Ingleston

February 1st, 2009

Beds were well represented at the Edinburgh furniture show and of course we got to see the Silentnight and Sealy bed and mattress offerings for the first time. Big changes from the Silentnight group and we may have to go back to Salterforth to finalise our new offering.

The fact that the new bed stories were so complicated can’t be a good thing for customers. If we need another day to decide, what chance does a customer have?

At least we got valuable feedback from over 15 of our sales people who visited over the 4 days. The manager’s day was particularly useful but I was impressed with our rookies. Not all their questions were nutty. Jim Clydesdale, ex Furniture World of Ayr, and now one of our “rookies”, knew more people at the show than the rest of us put together. He has been in the bed trade since nineteen canteen of course.

Verdict on the NEC Furniture Show

February 1st, 2009

The annual NEC furniture show had the smallest number of exhibitors I have known. Silentnight , Sealy and Rest Assured were missing which made room for Highgrove and many other smaller bed manufacturers.

In general the mood was sombre but not wrist slitting. Its clear that some of the weaker suppliers and retailers will call it a day but there is strong innovation and suppliers are looking not just at new technologies but also new levels of service. More and more suppliers are offering direct home delivery and they are actively wooing internet sellers. The internet continues to show strong growth in sales.

The visco elastic memory foam story continues to develop. Mattress suppliers are starting to combine visco with latex and experimenting with various other formats of polyeurethane. Foam is not just displacing springs it is now displacing the traditional mattress fillings of cotton felt and wool.

Is there a market left for “traditional” mattresses? A straw poll of our sales consultants says yes. How big is the market? How hard is it worth chasing?  We shall see…

Archers Sleepcentre Bed Buyer’s Birthday

January 23rd, 2009

What is the optimum age for a bed buyer? At 20 bed buyers can sleep on anything. At 60 they think their bed is as comfortable as it was when they got married (its an evolutionary thing – they think their wives are still beautiful too).

So 41 is best. Our bed buyer is today, at his peak. Congratulations Mr Hunter. Despite all your bodily abuses you have made it. Happy Birthday.

NEC Birmingham Furniture Show

January 22nd, 2009

After a gruelling 4 days trailing up and down the aisles of that souless shed called the NEC what can I say?

Silentnight and Sealy Beds were missing as were many other beds and bedroom exhibitors. Many brave faces, but gone were the young hopeful furniture companies looking to secure a big account or naive furniture buyers looking to find a winning product. Its been a tough year for the young kids on the block.

But business goes on and there were a few true gems to be found. We found importers who were over stocked and need the cash – we bought a couple of distress products that I know will be superb bargains.

Kaymed Beds didn’t disappoint. Millbrook, a south of England company, gave an impressive demonstration of what us Scottish folks were missing. And the bedroom furniture people have all been taking drugs and are showing glitzy mirrored surface furniture. Most at ridiculously over inflated prices.

The Scottish furniture show is on next week. And at the finish of that show we will decide what to buy. So the show being at Ingleston in Edinburgh, we are sending over 20 staff to have a look. Our buyer is pretty certain he knows what to buy. But lets see what our sales consultants, mere mortals that they are, have to say.

Its Robert Burns 250th anniversary this year so I’m sure the Scottish Furniture Associations annual dinner on Monday is going to be a belter.  I’ll be having an early night as always.

Superb Bed Sales in January

January 8th, 2009

2009 has started with Archers Uddingston, Ayr and Kilmarnock bed shops walking on water. All three stores are way above last years figures and showing no signs of weakness. They are selling across the board from single mattresses to master bedroom furniture sets. Uddingston in particular, with many bed retailers trading on the same Birkenshaw retail park, demonstrates the strength of our offers. Today, a lady looking for the cheapest double bed she could get, trawled round every store on the estate and came back to Archers. She bought the Sleepcomfort 4 drawer double divan and its not even on any special offer!

Of course last years top dogs – East Kilbride and Great Western Road, Glasgow – have had enormous figures to match and so the fact that they are struggling to hit target this January sale is not such a tragedy. They will have easier targets next year!

Archers Big Bed Sale

January 8th, 2009

Now into the second week of the sale the results are coming through for the big bed sale successes. Top seller has to be the Mayfair 1200 pocket double mattress at £199. Close second is the Caesar memory foam double divan at £299.

We expected the Silentnight Contour Memory Double divan at £399 to be a run away winner but it hasn’t been. Its been good but not nearly as good as last year – we promoted it as a king size at £399 last year. Just shows you that what appears an absolute steal to us doesn’t necessarily appear so to the public!

And Sealy has had an amazing success with their Romance king size divan. Annoyingly it was on promotion in November and December so we didn’t feel we could advertise it as a sale line in January. No matter. It was a bargain in November and its still a bargain now! And the public think so too.

We have only 10 days to go now and then its back to more normal margins. Has the Big Bed Sale been a success? Definitely yes – but I’m holding my breath as to what happens when the sale ends.

Bed Sale Christmas Holidays

December 22nd, 2008

We are on holiday Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And then again on New Years Day. We apologise for any inconvenience to our customers. Hope you all have a great time over the festive period and remember to get a great night’s sleep on an Archers bed. Hundreds of Beds, Hundreds of Bargains – at Archers Sleepcentre!

Big Bed Sale Now On

December 22nd, 2008

Archers Big Bed Sale is now on. See our current press advert for the best deals – a double leather bed at £149 for example. We have done bulk deals with Silentnight and Sealy and our warehouses are bulging at the seams. The Silentnight Keswick single divan bed at £199 is a particular bed bargain.

Alot of the offers are constrained by the bulk purchases. The good news is that although the current offers will only last for a week or two, we have organised a second tranche of products for mid January. Watch this space for some new deals then.

Archers Sleepcentre New Signs

December 15th, 2008

One of the first rules of graphic design is don’t let your local sign writer design your logos and signs. Let me add a second rule. Keep it simple!

We are now on phase 2 of our corporate makeover. Or is it phase 3?  Yes, I should have observed rules 1 and 2 some time ago. But we are getting there. Our Cumbernauld bed store signs are being replaced tomorrow and the Kilmarnock store the day after. With luck there will be no streaky flexi-faces and the vinyl colours will all match.

Only East Kilbride and Edinburgh to go. We have particularly fancy plans for them so I have kept them to last. Wait until you see the size of the Silentnight hippo we have planned for Seafield.

White bedroom furniture – the new oak?

December 15th, 2008

Julian Bowen offered us a preview of his latest beds and bedroom furniture prior to the annual Birmingham furniture show.

Each year Julian’s collection gets stronger and more diverse. He can only show a small proportion of what he offers at the NEC so every so often we are obliged to visit him. On this visit the most striking message was that white beds and bedroom furniture are becoming more and more popular. Huge successes are his Barcelona bed frame in white, and his Colorado bunk bed.

Over the last 5 years there has been a massive shift from pine beds to hardwoods, particularly oak beds and bedroom furniture. It suddenly struck home that maybe white beds and perhaps painted furniture are becoming an alternative. I remember well some 10 years ago saying to a colleague if I ever suggest buying painted furniture ever again, take me out and shoot me. In case they remember, I’m not going to suggest it OK?