Vinyl continues to rapidly expand & innovate
Tuesday, June 7, 2022 from Floor Covering Weekly
Metroflor’s Engage Inception
And as the waterproof message continues to resonate, these products have become the go-to for customers with active lifestyles. With growth potential still on the rise, more flooring suppliers are seeing the opportunity to enter the game and grab market share as well as expand operations and warehousing here to better serve the U.S. market. Here is just some of what is happening in the category today.
In the short time AHF Products has been its own company, its portfolio has grown tremendously. While still a hardwood powerhouse, the company expanded into the resilient space in 2020. With new brands like tmbr as well as established ones like Bruce offering a spate of SPC and LVT products, as well as AHF Contract with its commercial-grade LVT, rigid core, sheet vinyl and new vinyl-based tile, AHF had made it clear to its partners that it’s entering the resilient market in a big way.
Armstrong Flooring has been on a course to reinvent itself by blending its heritage with a forward focus on innovation and an ear to the customer. “We will be adapting our go-to-market to the needs of our customer and the way they want to be serviced. The business transformation and rebranding is about making sure people know we are reinventing ourselves,” president Michel Vermette told FCW last year.
Under parent company Beaulieu International Group (B.I.G.), Beauflor continues to grow in the U.S., expanding production and sales capacity. Beauflor USA began making its products at a state-of-the-art plant in Cartersville, Ga., in May 2016. “At Beauflor, we value our customers’ needs above all else, which is why we never stop improving our products to be the most user-friendly and versatile on the market,” said general manager Rich Runkel.
Beauflor’s Pure collection with patented Dreamclick profile.
Originally known as Cali Bamboo, CALI was acquired in June 2021 by Victoria PLC, a publicly traded company established in 1895 and based in Kidderminster, England, allowing the company to grow and expand into additional flooring categories while it maintains a laser focus building its lifestyle brand and market strategy. The reinvented CALI brand made its debut at Surfaces earlier this year.
CFL’s growing domestic footprint has laid the groundwork for its future. As one of the largest makers of SPC and other hybrid flooring, the company has committed to developing, manufacturing and marketing sustainable, innovative and value-added flooring. CFL invested more than $100M to build its plant in Dalton where construction began in the summer of 2020. In the process of onboarding 300 new colleagues, CFL’s plant is built to scale and stands at 700,000 square feet with room to grow quickly to some 1.4 million square feet. According to CFL North America president Barron Frith, “Over the last 18 to 24 months, we acquired 63 acres of land and immediately built a facility of close to 700,000 square feet with the possibility to more than double the facility’s size in order to achieve our goals.”
CFL’s FirmFit Downtown long and wide planks.
In 2018, EarthWerks introduced the Core Collection of waterproof rigid core. Seen below is Footprints Plus XL from the Core Collection, with planks measuring up to an extra-long 60 inches.
Engineered Floors introduced Engineered Floors Hard Surfaces in 2018 with two inaugural collections: Revotec and Triumph.
Happy Feet, headquartered in Chattanooga, Tenn., continues to grow to meet customer demand. Late in 2021, CEO Casey Johnson reported, “We have more than 30 million square feet of luxury vinyl flooring in stock and hundreds of dealers across the U.S.” This year, the company launched its Pinnacle WPC collection.
In 2019, HMTX Industries was established, formally bringing Halstead, Metroflor, Teknoflor, Aspecta and Vertex under one roof. Since then, the organization has continued to be a pioneer in the vinyl category, particularly surrounding sustainability. As HMTX Industries, the organization has won three GreenStep Awards from FCW, including the Pinnacle Award in 2020. Looking ahead, HMTX has broken ground on its new world headquarters in Norwalk, Conn., and anticipates the launching of a U.S. factory this summer.
“We’ve started our factory in the U.S. (which will launch this summer) and we are fully engaged in that,” said Harlan Stone, CEO of HMTX Industries. “We bought four warehouses and increased our position in inventory. We try to be agile in the supply chain.”
As a vinyl specialist, Karndean brings fashion-forward looks to whatever installation the customer needs. For example, this chevron pattern is available in both gluedown and rigid core.
Lions Floor is coming on strong, bringing 36 new colors to its SPC offering this year alone. The company continues to work on expanding its reach with the U.S. The company is opening a warehouse in Texas and plans to expand to the East Coast, according to CEO Jerry Guo.
Lions Floor’s Homewood Waltz product
With a robust portfolio, Mannington Mills is placing an emphasis on LVT and sheet vinyl, so much so that CEO Russell Grizzle called the product categories the company’s legacy. Mannington vinyl products have won a total of eight FCW’s Dealers’ Choice Awards in the past five years.
MJ International Group
M.J. International Group’s investment in SPC began in Dongguan, China in 2018, but after the instatement of tariffs, the company looked to diversify and serve the American market with the establishment of its SPC plant in Tainan City, Taiwan.
Mohawk has demonstrated its commitment to vinyl flooring across its portfolio of brands, from adding SPC to its Pergo offerings to investing in stateside manufacturing for LVT and rigid core products.
The flooring industry landscape has seen monumental changes, acknowledged Raj Shah, president of MSI, particularly the rise of LVT. To that end, MSI added LVT to its product assortment in 2018 with its Everlife collection. Everlife has since grown into a multi-category collection of waterproof, worry-proof flooring that includes flexible and rigid core LVT, porcelain tile and waterproof hardwood.
Shah offered his pick on the top five industry change makers:
1) The Rise of Hard Surface: Where soft flooring once held the majority of flooring in U.S. homes, hard surface has taken over in a big way.
2) Digital Printing: Particularly in ceramic tile, digital printing changed production processes which enhanced the product’s realism and variability. This also changed where and how fast trend and tiles were developed, resulting in a large increase in the choices available to consumers.
3) LVT’s Rise: When LVT came on the scene, it helped solve numerous flooring issues. It was a hard surface that was waterproof and quick to install. It quickly became the largest commodity within hard surfaces and continues to grow at double digit rates.
4) Consolidation: Not only in the number of retailers, manufacturers, etc. but also the overall supply chain has vertically integrated in many ways.
5) Access to Inspiration: Early on, customers had to hire an interior designer or hope to have physically seen a design they liked. Today, the consumer can get thousands of ideas through a few clicks, especially thanks to the rise of social media. There are also visualizers that allow shoppers to see how a product will look in their home, at no additional cost.
MSI’s Trecento features an authentic marble visual in a durable LVT format.
In addition to providing top-notch products, Novalis is committed to serving its customer, whether through its updated NovaFloor website or by providing the right floor display such as this small footprint waterfall display. Earlier this year, Kimberly Hill, director of marketing and creative design said, “That’s the thing about Novalis — we’re not huge so we can pivot quicker, move quicker and we have a talented in-house marketing team.”
Republic Floor launched four new collections of SPC this year. New in the Designer Pro line are Angell Woods, Green Mountain, White River and Scarlet Bay. The company also introduced a new tile-look collection with its all-new mirror finish called the Solar Granite collection. Republic Floor has increased its distribution across the U.S. substantially and most recently acquired flooring distributor D&D Carpets LLC in Israel, its latest step in building Republic’s global network. The company has also taken transportation head on by purchasing its own fleet of 75 Mack Trucks earlier this year.
In addition to its acquisition of USFloors in 2016, which added the powerhouse pioneering COREtec brand to its vinyl portfolio, Shaw Floors has invested more than $1 billion in new and existing manufacturing facilities in the U.S., which includes millions of dollars allocated to its Ringgold, Ga. Plant that makes rigid core flooring.
Entering the rigid core market in 2016, Southwind provides SPC and WPC. This year, the company launched three new XRP Waterproof Floor collections.
Harbor Plank WPC, seen here, is available in 21 unique shades
Stanton Carpet Co. entered the hard surface market in 2020 with the introduction of Stanton Decorative Waterproof Flooring. The company then expanded into commercial hard surface in late 2021 with the introduction of its Vanguard Rigid and Vanguard Flex Collections of commercial waterproof flooring.
The Dixie Group
The Dixie Group (TDG) launched its TRUCOR collection in 2018: the company’s first foray into the rigid core category. According to president T.M. Nuckols, “The growing preference for hard surfaces has changed the dynamics of the way today’s consumer shops for flooring. Hard surfaces have become the ‘whole house’ flooring choice. And carpet has become a room by room option,” he said.
Tarkett Rebrands Residential[Solon, Ohio] Last year, Tarkett announced its decision to rebrand the residential arm of the company to Tarkett Home, allowing it to better serve its residential customer base. The rebranding was showcased at this year’s Surfaces, celebrating the way its concept of “home” has shifted during the pandemic.
Now is the right time to rebrand to Tarkett Home, said director of marketing Carole Shealy, because of the way the pandemic has changed our thinking. “There’s no denying that this rebranding was built on a number of carefully considered variables. However, you might say that Tarkett Home is the result of a passionate team who was able to experience the pandemic working from home and to recognize that the story of ‘home’ had evolved.” Tarkett Home’s portfolio of hard and soft surface flooring.
While each worker’s living space was unique to them, Shealy said, everyone was met with the challenge of considering their home as more than just a residence. “Home is a story of diversity, expression, fortitude and escape. We knew it was time for our brand to express that too,” she said.
The new branding will be focused on looking at product stories through the eyes of the consumer. “Today’s society cares more than ever about the integrity and message behind the brands they buy — and we believe that our customers know that as well. Spending more time addressing the needs of the end-user and making it a mission to show how our products are both healthy and beautiful benefits everyone,” Shealy explained.