Our Bedding business line focuses on the development, production and the commercialisation of finished mattresses, slat bases and bed bases, beds in general. Having a distinct business-to-consumer character, our Bedding strategy is particularly articulated around strong (national) brands - either owned or licensed -, which are also supported by innovative ingredient brands such as GELTEX® inside. Besides, our branded activities are complemented by Private Labels for our customers, hereby enabling an optimised use of our manufacturing footprint.
Today our Bedding division operates from 12 production sites in Austria (1), Belgium (2), Germany (3), The Netherlands (1), Poland (1), Romania (1), Sweden (1) and Switzerland (2).
Our Bedding segment accounts for 20.9% of our Group’s total combined sales.
Our Bedding customer base is broad and includes independent bed and furniture specialists as well as large distribution groups. We do not sell directly to the end user but to do so via an external network of distribution channels.
Our customer base encompasses more than 1,000 customers with over 5,000 points of sale. It is very diversified going from independent bedding and furniture specialists running between one and 30 stores, department store chains, mail order and e-commerce companies, members of - mostly national - buying groups to international retail chains owning over 1,000 stores.
This business line does as a consequence have a distinct business-to-consumer character. Here the Group principally wishes to stand out by means of a strong brand policy.
Recticel owns a unique portfolio of strong brands (brands) which are generally well-known within their local market such as Beka® (Belgium), Literie Bultex® (Belgium), Matratzen Bultex® (Germany, Austria), Schlaraffia® (Germany), Sembella® (Germany, Austria), Superba® (Switzerland) and Ubica® (the Netherlands).
In addition to the local brands, Recticel also has a number of very recognisable brands which extend beyond the national or regional borders. Brands such as Literie Bultex® (Belgium), Matratzen Bultex® (Germany, Austria), Lattoflex® (under licence) and Swissflex® enjoy a distinct European reputation within the up-market segment.
Besides, the Group also produces sleep systems which are commercialised under the name of the customer (private label).
Taken as an average, two thirds of the annual sales of the Bedding business line are made up of brand products and one third is made up of ‘non-brand’- or ‘private label’-articles.
The diversified character of the Bedding business line is not just determined by the brand products portfolio. It is also expressed when the technologies used are looked at. The Group produces mattresses where the mattress core may be made of polyurethane foam, latex, springs or a combination of these. Bed bases are offered in wood and plastic.
The Bedding customer base is broad and includes independent bed and furniture specialists as well as large distribution groups.
Although the Bedding business line is fundamentally a business-to-consumer activity, it is important to mention that the Group does not sell directly to the end user but to an external network of distribution channels.
STRATEGY AND PROSPECTS: SHAPING THE FUTURE
The Bedding business line is fundamentally aiming to improve the health and well-being of the consumer with its products and brands thanks to a good night's rest on high quality sleep systems. Topics like health, a good night's rest and wellness in general have already been progressing for many years. This also explains why the aware consumer is prepared to invest a larger budget in a good sleep system. It is worthy of note here that even the current economic crisis has hardly influenced this pattern of behavior at all.
- Market developments
Recent European market studies have clearly shown that two large scale tendencies stand out on the bedding market. On the one hand it is established that the consumer is becoming even more aware of the importance and necessity of a good sleep system. Such a sleep system is virtually synonymous with a qualitatively healthy night's rest.
On the other hand, the aware consumer also has a particular eye for the stylistic and aesthetic aspects of a sleep system. This second aspect explains the generally increasing trend of the budget spent for mattresses and mattress bases. It is not just that the budget for initial expenditure increases but also that mattresses, slats and/or bed bases are replaced more quickly and more regularly, which is conducive to the development of the whole market.
From a historical perspective the European bedding market has always been very fragmented. There are no visible reasons which indicate that this will not be the case in the future. It is now generally accepted that local consumer patterns continue to vary strongly and diverge in the different European countries.
The decline in consumer confidence as a consequence of the current macro-economic malaise has had a relatively limited impact as far as Recticel is concerned. Although sales have improved on a comparable basis, the impact of the crisis is primarily outlined in a shifting product mix. Recticel is attempting to give a suitable response to these changed market conditions by means of innovative commercial campaigns and by placing innovative products on the market which pay more attention to aesthetic styling in addition to the technical aspects. As far as product development is concerned, the Group allows itself to be surrounded by both internal and external designers.
In response to the divergent challenges in these demanding markets, Recticel is mainly concentrating on permanent optimization and renewal of its product-mix (brand- versus non-brand articles). In addition, the Group is trying to continue to streamline its production apparatus and to perfect it while carefully keeping the cost structure under control. These efforts will ultimately result in a further improvement of the cost-effectiveness of the division.
Plant dedication means that the production apparatus is used optimally today. Some plants only concentrate on brand products while others focus on products without a brand name. Other operations, such as the production of mattress covers, take place in Romania and Poland today. The presence of the Flexible Foams business line in Central and Eastern Europe is also seen as a perfect strategic position for serving these promising local bedding markets. In fact the Group is already able to count upon an ever increasing interest in principally non-brand products in Poland. In the years ahead a number of initiatives for expansion to new geographical territories will launched. An initial careful expansion to China will be developed with the Flexible Foams business line.