After an unprecedented year that saw demand for its products in the UK hit an all time high, La-Z-Boy’s head of sales for independents, Tristan Pyke, shares his insights and feelings about then brand’s plans for 2021.
La-Z-Boy UK has unveiled its first collection of new products in 12 months. The cancellation of trade events, combined with uncertainties over the pandemic, meant that the normal wave of summer product releases was postponed in 2020. However, this has resulted in the luxury of additional time to plan ahead for how the brand and product range will be focused in 2021.
Six new high street suites have been introduced this year, along with two modern swivel chairs, featuring rechargeable batteries for power reclining anywhere in the home. As well as catering for the brand’s core customer base, there are new features and design traits that are designed to appeal to a younger consumer, such as stylish legs and thinner arms.
“People tend to take their preferred styles with them as they grow,” Tristan explains.
“So currently our 50+ market is significant and appreciates a traditional look to their sofas, but younger people will prefer different styling as they grow older and more affluent.
“If we keep producing the same type of product time after time we would not grow, so it’s essential to attract younger consumers to La-Z-Boy sofas and initiate that brand loyalty.”
Two of Tristan’s favourite new models of 2021 have this modern feel.
Washington has a low silhouette and slim legs, with adjustable height headrest for maximum comfort, while Sloane is another off-the-floor model which brings a 21st century twist to classic sofa design.
Another favourite is the Aspen range – a new promotional model set to tempt customers outside of traditional sales periods.
Aspen will be available to all La-Z-Boy retailers during promotional periods, whether or not it is stocked on the shop floor, and a consumer led promotion will run throughout the year during selected date ranges.
End customers will be able to buy any cover or configuration of product within the Aspen range at full retail price, and get a second item from the range of lesser value for half price.
“This is a unique promotion and a first for La-Z-Boy UK, which will begin in March,” Tristan says. “We are asking for support from retailers for this promotion as we aim to develop our customer base during these unusual times. We’ve had a lot of orders already, including a number of new accounts, so we are very pleased with how the Aspen promotion has been received.”
La-Z-Boy UK’s new models will be unveiled for the first time at AIS’s virtual trade show in March. The brand is also developing its own techniques to showcase its new products in an online environment. The brand’s show van tour will recommence following the national lockdown – another new introduction which came into its own in late 2020.
Tristan explains that La-Z-Boy’s focus for 2021 will be to create a more concise message surrounding its product range and develop a cohesive and relevant collection. This will involve discontinuation of some ranges in the large collection, which have similarities to other existing models, as well as the introduction of new products to fill gap which have been identified.
Alongside the Aspen promotion, La-Z-Boy runs a pre-scheduled calendar of sales offers with its stockists. Additionally, at the end of 2020 it launched a stock programme on its popular Winchester range, with selected products available on just a two week lead time.
“This has been very successful and we expect this initiative to continue to be very attractive during 2021, particular with the current unprecedented delays in shipping times on imported models,” Tristan adds.
Another key focus for the year ahead will be the development of further eco-friendly initiatives. The introduction of 100% recycled and recyclable packaging on all Far East models has been a hugely welcomed project and the brand now uses zero first use plastic in products or packaging.
Products are delivered in quilted fabric bags which customers can store conveniently as a useful cover to keep their suite protected whenever necessary, for example during decorating works or in a home move.
La-Z-Boy works continually with its factories and supply chain to develop and refine eco-friendly production techniques and work is underway to help make consumers aware of the work the brand is undertaking in fulfilling is social and corporate responsibilities.
Tristan says: “Although no one knows for sure what this year will bring, things are looking positive for not only the industry, but the whole planet as we progress through 2021 and we are very much focused on supporting our retailers and ensuring our end users continue to get the very best from La-Z-Boy.”