The Bombay Company to offer large-scale furniture line
Clint Engel -- Home Accents Today, September 14, 2010
Bombay Company will bring back its best-selling Thames four-poster bed. Retail pricing will vary and hasn’t been firmed up yet. The bed (in queen) used to sell for $899 at the former U.S. Bombay stores.
The line under development will have as its foundation some of the best selling items from Bombay's former days as a 450-plus-store mall- and shopping center-based home furnishings chain, said Wil Hollands, chief merchant for the new Bombay Company and president of Hermes-Otto International USA, the exclusive licensee for Bombay products in the United States.
The new goods will cover key furniture categories including bedroom - featuring Bombay's once-popular Thames four-poster bed - dining room, home office and living room furniture, including sofas, chairs, home entertainment furniture and accent pieces.
In addition to "tried and true" pieces, the collection also will include "new innovative designs ... for today's marketplace," Hollands said.
Now a wholesale company, with none of its own stores, Bombay will target better-end department stores and home furnishings stores, hoping these retailers will create shop-like settings to display the products so the Bombay "lifestyle comes through, because that was the strength of the brand," Hollands said.
The company couldn't give expected retail prices, saying they will vary by account. Hollands said the line eventually will be shown at furniture markets, but he said no decision has been made about where or when to show.
The Ravello leather sofa and Ambassador coffee table, the latter inspired by 18th century furniture maker Thomas Sheraton — are among the Bombay pieces coming back. The former retail prices were $2,000 and $300 respectively.
The retailer's intellectual property, excluding the Canadian assets, was acquired by Bombay Brands in 2008, a joint venture between Hilco Consumer Capital and Gordon Brothers Brands.
Even with no U.S. stores, Bombay is one of the top six most recognized lifestyle brands, Holland said, referring to a 2008 Zoomerang survey. (The others above Bombay were Ethan Allen, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Thomasville and Ikea.) He also noted a March 2010 survey that showed an average of 818,000 people Google search for Bombay goods monthly.
"Iconic brands are extremely important in the marketplace today, and very few are as powerful as Bombay," Hollands said. "There's definitely room for a different point of view with the Bombay furniture lifestyle collection."
In August Bombay introduced a 250-piece assortment of small furniture, home decor, gifts and textiles, its first full collection since returning to market last year.
As part of the relaunch, the company will offer 14 home décor and accent pieces on the QVC shopping channel in a one-hour show Sept. 30, ranging in price from about $29 to $180.
Hollands said a "significant percentage" of the accent pieces in that collection are ready-to-assemble, while the larger furniture pieces coming next spring will include more fully assembled pieces, just like the old Bombay stores offered.
Hollands, who was vice president of merchandising at the former Bombay from 2002 until 2007, said the retailer used to have offices throughout Asia, sourcing product from countries including China, Vietnam, Malaysia and India.
In addition to leading Bombay, Hollands heads Hermes-Otto International USA, the U.S. division of the Otto Group, a global trading company with an extensive sourcing network in Asia and Europe. He said the new Bombay goods will be coming from the same countries as the old Bombay line and in many cases from the same manufacturing base.
Hollands said Bombay plans to sell into various retail channels, from mass merchants to department stores to furniture stores. He declined to name companies Bombay currently is working with but said there are several, and added that he believes there will be a Bombay shop-within-a-store opened by a mass merchant by late spring.
The company also is working on a business-to-consumer website that it hopes to launch next spring, primarily to sell small, easily shipped items.
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