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

Business Inventories Rise Less Than Expected   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 15, 2014 -- U.S. business inventories rose less than expected in August, according to the Commerce Department.

Producer Prices Decline in September   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 15, 2014 -- Producer prices in the U.S. fell in September for the first time in more than a year, according to the Labor Department.

New York Area Manufacturing Slows in October   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 15, 2014 -- Manufacturing in the New York region expanded at a much slower pace in October, according to the New York Federal Reserve.

Retail Sales Decline in September   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 15, 2014 -- U.S. retail sales fell more than expected in September, following the biggest gain in four months in August, according to the Commerce Department.

Mortgage Applications Up on Lower Rates   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 15, 2014 -- Mortgage application volume rose 5.6% last week from the previous week as interest rates fell, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Florim Opens Showroom in Moscow   Full Article
Moscow, Russia, Oct. 15, 2014 -- Tile company Florim said it has opened a new flagship store in Moscow.

Retirement Fund Files Suit Against Lumber Liquidators   Full Article
Toano, VA, Oct. 14, 2014 -- Lumber Liquidators is facing a class action law suit brought by the City of Hallandale Beach, Florida, Police Officers' and Firefighters' Personal Retirement Trust, according to the Virginia Gazette.

UFloor Systems Signs Western Distributor Big D   Full Article
Aurora, CO, Oct. 14, 2014 -- UFloor Systems has signed Big D Floor Covering Supplies to distribute its Uzin subfloor preparation products.

Mannington Raising VCT Prices in January   Full Article
Salem, NJ, Oct. 14, 2014 — Mannington Mills said it will raise prices by 4% on all of its vinyl composition tile products effective Jan. 5.

Armstrong Issues Third Quarter Warning   Full Article
New York, NY, Oct. 14, 2014 -- Armstrong World Industries became the second public flooring company to issue a third quarter profit warning.

WFCA Names New Leader of Northwest Association   Full Article
Anaheim, CA, Oct. 13, 2014 -- The World Floor Covering Association has named Tish Gasparich leader of the WFCA’s Affiliate Flooring Association Northwest(FAN).

Horizon Forest Products Moves Richmond Offices   Full Article
Richmond, VA, Oct. 13, 2014 -- Horizon Forest Products moved its Richmond offices to 4820 Eubank Road in the Interport Business Center.

Share of Custom Homes on the Decline   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 13, 2014 -- New NAHB research reveals significant regional differences in the share of custom homes started in 2013.

Self's To Distribute Novalis LVT in Midwest   Full Article
Toronto, Canada, Oct. 13, 2014 -- Wichita, Kansas-based Self’s, Inc. will now distribute luxury vinyl flooring made by Novalis Innovative Flooring.

Carpetland To Hold Annual Meeting in Chattanooga   Full Article
Chattanooga, TN, Oct. 13, 2014 -- Carpetland USA ColorTile will hold its 2014 Buying Committee meeting in Chattanooga Nov. 16-18.

Oil Prices Continue Downward Slide   Full Article
New York, NY, Oct. 10, 2014 -- Oil prices extended their free fall Friday.

Economists See Stronger 2015 Economy   Full Article
New York, NY, Oct. 10, 2014 -- Stronger job growth, increasing consumer confidence, and falling oil prices should aid the economic expansion next year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Tarkett Holding Year-End Sales Promotion   Full Article
Chagrin Falls, OH, Oct. 10, 2014 -- Tarkett said it is holding its biggest sales promotion ever through the end of the year.

Karndean Promotes Hanno to Sales Director   Full Article
Export, PA, Oct. 10, 2014 -- Karndean Designflooring has promoted Tim Hanno to director of retail sales, effective immediately.

Tight Lending Standards Still Hurting Home Builders   Full Article
Washington, DC, Oct. 9, 2014 -- Tight mortgage lending standards continue to affect sales for single-family builders, according to a survey released by the National Association of Home Builders.