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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On January 27, 2015, it was reported, after 44 years in business, high-end case goods manufacturer Wright Table Co. is closing its doors, marking the end of one of the remaining U.S. high-end custom producers in the wood category. The company announced its decision in the past week. It follows what company founder and President Don Wright described as falling sales over the past few years. The company, known for its custom finishes, also was unable to fully recover from a fire in July 2012 that destroyed its finishing area. The company continued to take orders for custom finishes, but this was done offsite in a facility 14 miles away, which posed some logistical challenges, Wright said. "It added costs in that we had to transport furniture to another location to finish," he said, adding that the company also has seen a decline in its high-end dealer base. "It's just that the sales kept dwindling, and it is no longer sustainable," Wright said. "We started losing money, and it doesn't look like that is going to change. Maybe everyone that wanted one got one." Wright formed the company in 1971, first making occasional tables. A year or so later, he expanded with larger pieces in other categories including bedroom and formal dining. Dining tables had a suggested retail of around $8,500 while a secretary could retail for $20,000. The company imported some chairs from Honduras, but the rest of its line was made in the U.S., including wrought iron components, which were also made in Morganton. At its peak in the late '90s, the company employed 44 workers and had sales of about $4.5 million, Wright said. That sales figure has dropped substantially since then. Today the company also employs only 10 workers in its 18,000-square-foot plant in Burke
    • On January 26, 2015, it was reported, Mattel CEO Bryan Stockton has resigned after three years as the company's chairman and chief executive, effective immediately. Christopher A. Sinclair, who has served on the toy company's board since 1996, has been named chairman and interim chief executive. Stockton, who was named CEO in January 2012 and then chairman a year later, reportedly left the company following disappointing fourth quarter results, reported the Wall Street Journal. Worlwide net sales in the fourth quarter fell 6 percent to $1.99 billion from the previous year, according to the company. North American gross sales were down 10 percent, while international gross sales were flat to last year. Overall, several of the company's core brands dropped in sales during Q4. Worldwide gross sales for Barbie fell by 13 percent; Hot Wheels was down 8 percent; and Fisher-Price dropped by 13 percent. American Girl saw an uptick of 3 percent with an 11 percent increase for the entire year. Previous quarters didn't fare as well, either, as Barbie sales fell 21 percent in Q3, which contributed to a 22 percent drop in profits and an 8 percent drop in overall sales for the company.
    • On January 23, 2015, it was reported, the underwriters of a public offering of 18.8 million shares of The Michaels Companies common stock have priced it at $23.52 per share. In addition, the selling stockholders have granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 2.82 million shares of common stock. The selling stockholders will receive all of the net proceeds from this offering. No shares are being sold by the company.
    • On January 23, 2015, HanesBrands, a leading global marketer of everyday basic apparel, including sheer hosiery and legwear under Hanes, L'eggs, Just My Size and other brands, announced that it will add 120 jobs to expand the scope of production at its Clarksville, Ark., sheer hosiery plant to take the place of offshore outsourcing. The Clarksville plant, 1904 W. Clark Road, is one of the largest hosiery knitting facilities in the world and has a workforce of approximately 450 today. In cooperation with the city of Clarksville, Johnson County and the state of Arkansas, the company decided to increase employment at its Clarksville plant to add finishing and packaging of Hanes and designer hosiery sold at department stores. That work is now outsourced and conducted offshore.