By Steven Feldman
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—The 2008 Mohawk road show is in the books with one of the final stops held here for its Northeast regional. Brian Witkin, general sales manager for the region, was optimistic heading into the show with the expectation that 600 to 800 dealers and as many as 1,400 people from Maine to Northern Virginia would pass through the doors.
“We feel if we can get people here they will buy despite the economy,” he said. As it turned out, Mohawk saw 80% of its top customers from the region, and when the dust cleared, “we were extremely pleased with the sales volume. The show was almost equal to 2007, even though there were fewer dealers this year.”
Mohawk’s carpet lineup encompasses the Aladdin, Horizon and WundaWeve brands, and each is markedly unique. With that said, the story for 2008 focuses on establishing and communicating each brand’s identity and developing new merchandising to support that brand image.
The new merchandising addresses how the female customer likes to shop. For example, the height of the displays have been reduced to create better sight lines, and individual cards have been increased in size from 24 x 24 to 24 x 36 with larger swatches. As well, the displays have been segmented by product to facilitate the entire shopping experience.
Take Aladdin, for example, which Jenny Cross, brand manager for Mohawk Residential, refers to as the “soccer mom” brand. “She wants her house to look good but her carpet has to stand up. So she’s all about style but with performance and durability.”
Five units now envelope the brand. They include:
•Eco Living, the PET polyester (Everstrand), in both BCF and staple. “The staple products are fully recyclable, and the BCFs are here because they are economical,” Cross said. “Everything here has either a value, environmental or performance story.”
•Berber Basics are the mill’s olefins.
•Sensible Styles are the nylons. The products are primarily unbranded with some “entry-level” brands. The main feature is Scotchgard Protector Advanced Repel technology.
•Complete Confidence, introduced last year, is all about durability and built-in stain resistance. “This is a perfect upgrade to unbranded nylon,” Cross said. “This category continues to grow for us.”
•Home & Office is the Main Street line. There was no change in the merchandising, but four modular tile lines were introduced, each with the company’s environmentally friendly Encycle backing. Encycle is PVC free, incorporates 35% pre-consumer recycled content and is 100% recyclable in that it can be completely recycled back into itself without separation.
One of the new options with Home & Office tiles is Self-Lock adhesive. On the edges of the tiles are discs of adhesive. So instead of smearing glue on the floor, the tiles can be locked into place.
The Horizon customer, on the other hand, is style driven. “Here we bring in the elements of lifestyle along with some elements of green,” Cross said. “We make it more appealing to that artist-type consumer.”
The new merchandising segments the brand into three displays: Casual houses the freizes; Eclectic is the cables, shags, loops and pindots, and Tailored is the textures. There are also two displays for Sorona.
“The Horizon displays are very flexible,” Cross said. “If a retailer does not want to separate carpet by category, he can change out the header to just say Horizon. There is also the option to sort out all the Stainmaster products in one display. We try to be flexible for those who are brand heavy those whose floor space is at a premium.”
While the Sorona products have a strong green story, the graphics never stray from performance. “We know it is performance driven first, and the environmental story—37% corn sugar, renewable resource—is the cherry on top.”
WundaWeve is affordable luxury and is presented as such. The new merchandising highlights what Mohawk believes to be the industry’s best collection of textures, cables, patterns, loop styles and saxonies. The brand is now presented in a “boutique” format with four displays housing 80 core products. “We now have a logical grouping of product,” Cross said. “The line is now divided by patterns, cables and shags, loops and pindots, and textures and saxonies. The updated lifestyle imagery gives a higher- end feel than before.”