20 Years: Then and Now - July 2012

 

In 1992, the U.S. economy was coming out of a recession brought on by the savings and loan crisis and the first Gulf war. George H.W. Bush was in the last year of his first term as president of the country, though he would lose to Bill Clinton that November. 

Like today, the country was lifting out of a period of decline. Low interest rates were encouraging homeowners to refinance, which enabled them to spend more money on new flooring and a president was gunning for a second term. 

The consolidation within the manufacturing sector had already begun, the two biggest of which were Shaw Industries’ acquisition of WestPoint Pepperell’s carpet division in 1987 and Armstrong’s carpet mill purchase in 1990. But it really started to heat up in 1992. In February of that year, Shaw bought Salem Carpet Mills, giving it a combined marketshare of over 30%. Two months later, Mohawk went public at $15 a share and by August had agreed to buy Horizon—which was actually bigger than Mohawk. Shaw turned around and bought Amoco’s polypropylene carpet fiber plant. And in September, Dixie bought Carriage Industries and Queen bought Cumberland Mills. By the end of that year, the amount of carpet sold in the U.S. had increased by 9.6%, proof that the recession was over.
< ;br />Today, just two decades later, the world has changed quite a bit. Economically, we are still at least a year away from any substantial recovery, but at this point analyst Santo Torcivia is predicting 4% growth this year followed by 9% growth in 2013.

Regardless of all that, the landscape of the flooring industry is much different today from what it was in 1992. Today, carpet accounts for 42.8% of sales rather than 62.5% in 1992. Consolidation has continued throughout the 20-year period and there are substantially fewer manufacturers today than there were in 1992. The dominant players today have diversified, as part of this consolidation process, becoming multi-surface providers. 

On the retail front, home centers have not only replaced the department stores but they’ve also taken share from the builder accounts in the single-family construction sector. Today, we estimate there are fewer than 12,000 independent flooring retailers left in the market. The number of distributors has also dropped substantially, but those that are left have streamlined and expanded to run with greater efficiency. 

In the early stages of this 20-year period, the commercial contractor sector went through a major buyout and consolidation, but that has all stabilized now and the professionalism that they bring to the equation is still in high demand. 

Looking forward, there is a lot of change to come. The Internet is already shifting the traditional channels to market—particularly with area rugs. And Interface continues to open company-owned retail stores in the major U.S. markets. 

American consumers have limited free time today and their preference for home furnishings is shifting over toward more durable, low maintenance products—a trend that favors hard surface flooring. 

In the commercial sector, carpet continues to dominate and modular’s share of that mix—especially in the corporate sector—continues to rise. And a once brown industry has turned green.

For the complete 20 Years Then & Now, see the July 2012 issue of Floor Focus Magazine. 

Copyright 2012 Floor Focus

 

 



Other Archived Articles

Mohawk Adds New Soil Protection to SmartStrand   Full Article
Calhoun, GA, Dec. 5, 2014 -- Mohawk said it is enhancing its flagship SmartStrand carpet by adding a new soil protection system called Forever Clean.

Factory Orders Decline in October   Full Article
Washington, DC, Dec. 5, 2014 -- New orders to U.S. factories fell for a third straight month in October, according to the Commerce Department.

Jobs Increase Most in Nearly Three Years   Full Article
Washington, DC, Dec. 5, 2014 -- Employers added 321,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate remained at 5.8%, according to the Labor Department.

Interior Design Names Products of Year   Full Article
New York, NY, Dec. 5, 2014 -- Interior Design Magazine hosted its 9th annual Best of Year Awards Thursday.

Mortage Rates Lowest in More Than a Year   Full Article
Washington, DC, Dec. 5, 2014 -- Long-term mortgage rates have fallen to their lowest level since May 2013, according to Freddie Mac.

QEP Names Kura Executive Vice President   Full Article
Boca Raton, FL, Dec. 4, 2014 –- Q.E.P. Co. said it has named Brian Kura as its new executive vice president.

Initial Unemployment Claims Fall Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Dec. 4, 2014 -- Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, according to the Labor Department.

Planned Layoffs Plunge in November   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Dec. 4, 2014 -- The number of planned layoffs by U.S. employers declined 30% in November from October, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

TISE Says Education Program Space Filling Fast   Full Article
Dallas, TX, Dec. 4, 2014 -- The International Surface Event said that space is filling up fast for the TISE 2015 education program.

Stone & Pewter Accents Rebrands as Lunada Bay   Full Article
Torrance, CA, Dec. 4, 2014 -- Stone & Pewter Accents, a manufacturer of stone and pewter tile, said it has rebranded as Lunada Bay Tile.

Pantone Names Marsala 2015 Color of Year   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Dec. 4, 2014 -- Pantone said that its Color of the Year 2015 is Marsala 18-1438.

Services Sector Expands at Faster Pace   Full Article
Tempe, AZ, Dec. 3, 2014 -- The services sector of the economy grew faster than expected in November, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Private Sector Jobs Increase by 208K in November   Full Article
Roseland, NJ, Dec. 3, 2014 -- The private sector added 208,000 jobs in November, according to the monthly ADP Employment Report.

Propex Rebrands ISIS Carpet Tile Backing   Full Article
Chattanooga, TN, Dec. 3, 2014 -- Propex said it is replacing the brand name “ISIS” with “ARTIS” for its woven post-consumer recycled PET primary backing for modular tile.

Home Purchase Mortgage Applications Rise   Full Article
Washington, DC, Dec. 3, 2014 -- Mortgage application volume fell last week as refinancing applications declined, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Nora Sheet Flooring Wins Award   Full Article
Salem, NH, Dec. 3, 2014 -- Nora said that its Noraplan nTx has been awarded a 2014 Record Product Award from Architectural Record magazine.

WFCA Lobbies for Internet Sales Taxes   Full Article
Anaheim, CA, Dec. 2, 2014 -- World Floor Covering Association officials recently met with the staffs of top members of Congress about proposed Internet sales taxes and and other issues of importance to flooring industry retailers.

Construction Spending Edges Higher in October   Full Article
Washington, DC, Dec. 2, 2014 -- Construction spending in October was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $971.0 billion, 1.1% above the revised September estimate of $960.3 billion, according to the Commerce Department.

Distributor Belknap White Expands Armstrong Line   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, Dec. 2, 2014 -- Armstrong Floor Products said that distributor Belknap White (Patriot) will handle Armstrong residential products in Southern Connecticut, Metro New York and Northern New Jersey effective January.

Easy Turf Signs Tomlinson as Spokesperson   Full Article
Vista, CA, Dec. 2, 2014 -- EasyTurf has re-signed NFL Most Valuable Player LaDanian Tomlinson as a spokesperson.