New Hues, Designs At MACEF

Product offerings at the Milan, Italy International Exhibition of Quality Household Articles in 1993 were somewhat conservative. Many companies offered existing products in new colors or expanded existing lines. For example, Inoxpran expanded its Prandelli kitchen line with new plunger coffee makers and flatware in coordinated colors. Product offerings by Lagostina S.p.A., Pedrini U.S.A. and ACEA are also described.

Largely conservative offerings seen as result of lagging economies globally, but show scores

MILAN (FNS)–Despite a dollar that is 40 percent stronger than last year, housewares exhibitors reported the four-day MACEF trade fair was quiet as far as American traffic and revoluntionary product introductions were concerned. Manufacturers attributed the subdued mood in large part to difficult economic conditions.

“It was delightful and worthwhile for us, but there were very few Americans there because of the American and world economy,” reported, an importer/distributor of wood and plastic housewares. (more…)

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Eureka Introduces Cordless Upright: Full-Size Vacuum Rechargeable

Eureka introduces cordless upright BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Eureka Co., one of the leading floor care manufacturers, has unveiled a full-size cordless upright vacuum cleaner operated by rechargeable batteries — a unique device, according to the company.

The Freedom vacuum cleaner is “a quantum leap in convenience and an entirely new product category for the floor care industry,” declared Gil Dorsey, Eureka’s new president.

“It’s the only new product that lets consumers thoroughly vacuum all their carpeting without a cord.”

The unit, which the company has been touting as “the next generation” in floor care, will be introduced at the Housewares Show in Chicago, which begins Jan. 15. Eureka said it has scheduled an array of product additions for the show (see page 114).

Cordless vacs are a significant segment of the business, but until now have been confined to the smaller handheld units. (more…)

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Makers See Sales Hitting Record

Makers see sales hitting record

With market saturation low, prices down, and the trend to two-and three-vac households in full swing, manufacturers are projecting 8 to 20 percent sales growth for wet/dry vacs and extraction cleaners in 1986.

Some executives see the wet/dry area’s gains this year exceeding those of more traditional vacuum cleaner segments by a wide margin. Compared to 92 percent for traditional vacs, market penetration of the wet/dry category is still in the 20 percent neighborhood, which leaves it plenty of room for growth, they point out. Extraction cleaners, while long a fixture on the rental market, have until fairly recently been dormant on the retail scene.

Manufacturers also see their units providing consumers seeking a first or second vac a low priced alternative–$40 to $60–to conventional canister models. Price declines the last couple of years are increasing their potential as a second utility vac for the home, some producers believe.

Makers will not only be promoting the specialty cleaners heavily this year, but some will also be attempting to broaden the appeal of wet/dry models by styling them to attract the woman buyer as well as the industry’s long standing target, the male home workshop enthusiast and do-it-yourselfer. (more…)

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Retailers Fight For The Business


Foley’s: Setting

sights on profits HOUSTON (FNS) — Despite a sluggish Houston retail economy, Foley’s is looking for an increase in floor care volume this year by continuing its aggressive promotional program and by adjusting the merchandise mix to increase margins.

For some time, Foley’s has taken a dominant stand in the vacuum cleaner category but emphasis during the coming year will be on increasing profits, according to Larry Asselin, Foley’s divisional merchandise manager, housewares and small electrics.

“We are very sensitive to the fact that floor care produces a substantial volume of business at Foley’s,” Asselin explains. “At the same time we also recognize the need to become more profitable in this day and age of a sluggish business economy.

“We intend to do nothing to decrease the emphasis on the promotional beat of the business. We anticipate an increase in volume during 1986. (more…)

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Retail And Wholesale Growth

Retail and wholesale growth

Vacuum cleaner and floor care suppliers find their business is growing with warehouse clubs. Some note that the clubs are not only important at the retail end, but also attract a great many wholesalers. Some vac companies find their high-end lines are not well-positioned for this new class of trade. For instance, while Ken Stern, vice president of sales at Metropolitan Vacuum says the segment is “definitely a factor in the market,’ he adds, “we don’t get much involved with warehouse clubs simply because we’re at the high-end at retail.’

John Gray, president, Genie Home Products

“I don’t know what the future of this segment will be but I’m not taking any chances just in case warehouse clubs turn out to be a longterm and high growth area like catalog-showrooms. We are certainly doing business with warehouse club operators where the opportunity presents itself. They’re not a huge factor in garage door openers. In the area of wet/dry vacs, they, of course, turn a lot more volume in that. We never had a policy that we wouldn’t sell them. They’re quite easy to do business with. It (doing business with them) hasn’t hurt our other businesses to date. From our experiences so far, they order frequently because they have a high rate of turn. I have no idea what the total market share will end up being this year, or five years from now.’ (more…)

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Sharp Taking Small Steps With Its Vacuum Cleaners

Executives at Sharp Electronics concede it will take time for the company to achieve its initial goal of five percent share of the U.S. vacuum cleaner market.

While Michael Williamson, national sales manager of the vacuum cleaner department, stressed, “Sharp is dedicated to vacs,’ he hastened to point out, “It may be two years before we are well established in the American market. We are making our move into the field one step at a time.’

One of those first steps is limiting its retail horizons to electronic-appliance chains and vac specialty shops serviced by Sharp’s independent microwave oven distributors. Until Sharp has developed a complete line, the company sees no point in further expanding its channels of distribution, Williamson said.

Meanwhile, Sharp is gradually moving to full line status. (more…)

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Warehouse Clubs Come On Strong

Warehouse clubs come on strong Membership warehouse clubs are coming on strong to challenege catalog showrooms and department stores for leadership in the high end floor care business.

With the rapid expansion of this retail format, many vacuum cleaner suppliers have witnessed a dramatic growth in sales to the no-frills, high volume warehouse clubs.

At Eureka Co., for instance, first quarter 1986 sales to warehouse clubs ran three times the pace of the past few years. Gil Dorsey, vice president of marketing, admitted, however, that the gains were achieved from a relatively small base.

The Hoover Co.’s sales through this channel, which doubled in 1985, are up 50 percent so far this year, said marketing vice president David Evans. Though sales to the membership clubs now account for less than 5 percent of Hoover’s total, Evans expects the percentage to jump to 8 or 9 percent this year. (more…)

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Vacuum Sales Raise Dust; First Half Sees Broad Lines, Mixes Paying Off

Vacuum sales raise dust Aggressive promotion combined with expanded assortments and revised product mixes have paid off in increased first-half vacuum cleaner sales for many retailers across the country.

Many merchants have made no secret that they see considerable sales, if not profit opportunities, in floor care, and they have made extra efforts to strengthen the category in their operations, whether it be through assortments or promotional thrust.

Mass merchants have made strides by aggressively promoting the floor care category, but they have not strayed far from their orientation toward basic product assortments.

Indeed, the mass merchants polled by HFD said that during the first half they had their best luck with lower-end uprights and canisters. (more…)

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The Big Thee Square Off….

The Big Three Square Off . . .


2.9 million units

Forecasting that growth in the 2.9-million-unit canister market will come from power teams, Eureka and Hoover are trying to loosen Sears’ grip on that business.

“While Sears, Hoover and Eureka are about even in canisters overall, Sears has the lead in power nozzles,’ said Dave Evans, Hoover’s vice president of marketing “and that’s where there’s growth. We’re seeing a shift in the market from straight suction canisters to power nozzles.’

Power teams accounted for roughly two-thirds of all canisters sold in 1986, or about 1.9 million units, according to supplier estimates. Sales of power teams were up for the year, but not enough to offset declining sales of straight suction models. As a result, canister sales fell 5 percent to 2.9 million units in 1986.

Although they admit it’s difficult to take on Sears, Eureka and Hoover said they can’t ignore the highest-priced, highest-profit segment of the canister market–especially when it’s showing solid growth. (more…)

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