18 May 2024, 21:25
By Furniture News Feb 05, 2015

In focus – Sweet Dreams

Jackie McGarvey, general manager of Sweet Dreams, answers Furniture News’ question about the company's strongest product area and the issues surrounding it.

Tell us about your product offering
Sweet Dreams’ core business remains the manufacture of beds. We currently offer five individual collections of British-made divans, each with distinct spring specifications, separate collections of headboards, bases, accessories and adjustable beds, and upholstered frames and divan-frame hybrids. These last include TV-ready beds and surround-sound beds – all made at our premises in Burnley.

What is your current bestseller and why is it so popular?
Our bestselling bed is Luxury Aloe, from the Pocket Spring collection. On the inside, it combines pocket springs with a deep layer of memory foam – today’s favourite filling combination. On the outside, there’s an aloe vera cover. This is very popular with consumers, who like the softness and the skin-nourishing effects that work through sheets. The Luxury Aloe mattress is a no-turn mattress and has a knitted fabric top with damask border.

What trends are you currently experiencing?
There’s been a significant growth in sales of 4ft beds. We think it’s partly a result of homes being built with smaller rooms, but people still tend to prefer a bed larger than a single where possible. Also, as people aren’t moving house so readily, they’re maximising space and are very keen on ottomans for storage.

Consumers are going for higher and higher specifications in their divans. People are increasingly aware of the importance of a good mattress and they’re also better educated about how specifications differ, and that with beds you often get what you pay for.

Have customer preferences changed much over time?
Rooms in general, including bedrooms, have become more design-led. Matching headboards and footends can create a stunning, bedframe-type look for a divan, as in our Opulence, Vision and surround-sound upholstered divan hybrid collections. Consumers are buying plain, self-coloured divans rather than ones with a contrasting coloured base, as people want them to blend in with the decor.

What do you think the main issues affecting this product area are?
The main challenge every manufacturer in the bed industry faces is the same, in my opinion – a saturated market, with too many manufacturers chasing the same number of consumers.

What are the key issues affecting your bestselling product at a retail level?
The continuing growth of the internet and the impact this has on high street sales continues to be a challenge. Also, having properly informed retailers is essential. For instance, consumers traditionally think that if they have a bad back then a firm bed with ortho springs is best. This might not be the case – a bed that feels firm because of its high spring count can be just as good – better, because while it offers excellent support it’s more yielding and so more comfortable.

What are your observations on how best to retail this product?
We find practical and informative aids the best. First, our annual brochure is packed with useful information as well as photos of every product we sell under the Sweet Dreams name. We trust retailers keep it handy when discussing our models with consumers!

In 2014 we launched a new collection of printed footmats, together with pillowcases in fabric to match upholstered headboards for higher end beds. These are now included with orders retailers make for floor models in our Pocket Air collection. We provide POS for unusual fillings to explain features and benefits, for instance for our beds containing CoolGel.

What is your personal preference?
I prefer a pocket spring mattress, and if it’s with a divan base, then it works best when the base is sprung edge – the movement it allows complements the mattress. We offer sprung edge bases on almost all our divans, including every model in our Pocket Air, Pocket Spring and Sleepzone collections.

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