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Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


Youth furniture: Looking up?

Thursday, April 02, 2015 > 10:43:45

(Home Goods Online)

Written by Ashley Newport, from HGO merchandiser

In big-box furniture stores, there's usually no shortage of cribs, miniature dressers and bunk beds. But it's rarer to see Canadian-produced, customizable youth pieces in solid wood or wood veneers with quality finishes. And in a category which has seen the recent demise of two major resources, some Canadian manufacturers expect at least modest growth as more young Canadian couples decide to treat their children to fine furniture of their own.

"The main reason we went into this category was to fill a void when Young America closed," says Gord Dilworth, president and CEO of solid-wood bedroom specialist Durham Furniture. "Major companies no longer service the market."

In addition to Young America, a division of full-line U.S. case goods producer Stanley Furniture, the Lea Industries division of La-Z-Boy is closing its doors.

Dilworth isn't sure why major players are backing away from youth furniture, but he suspects it has to do with the challenge of competing with the cheaper imports that adorn the floors of many furniture retailers. For Durham, the entry into youth allows them to offer a greater variety of goods that share the look, quality and style of their adult pieces. The company's Perfect Balance program features smaller-scaled pieces that fit a kid's room and body while also offering a higher-end, more sophisticated aesthetic.

"We have 14 different beds that we offer in twin, double, queen and king, and (the program) fits the child and young adult market because of the smaller-size beds," Dilworth says. "Not many manufacturers offer beds in the twin and double categories. Our price point is higher, but there is a need for better quality (pieces). To round out the Perfect Balance program and expand on it, we offer pastel colours and a few complimentary pieces like student desks with hutches and chairs."

That said, Durham has no plans to produce cribs, cradles or bunk beds, he says.

Magnussen Home Furnishings is another major Canadian producer that sees growth opportunities in the youth market, says Lisa Harris, marketing manager. The company's youth offerings emphasize quality, safety and storage.

"We're built to grow and made to last," says Harris. "Our features include drop-down drawers to accommodate computer keyboards; French dovetail in front and English dovetail in back for strength and durability; metal drawer guides; dust panels; bolts on side rails for stability and strength; tipping restraints for safety and security; slat rails and dividers for under-bed storage, eliminating the need for box springs; and touch lighting on nightstands. Durable finish coatings are used to resist the wear and tear of kid's rugged use. Under-bed trundles also are available."

To read the rest of Ashley Newport's report on youth furniture, click here to download the Winter edition of the HGO Merchandiser. It begins on page 16.

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