Progressive Furniture adds outdoor furniture to its whole-home mix

Long-time wood resource quietly has been adding categories from accent furniture and seating to outdoor seating and dining

HIGH POINT – Longtime wood furniture specialist Progressive Furniture has been quietly getting into other categories outside its core bedroom, dining and occasional assortment as it looks to become more of a whole-home resource.

In addition to developing an ever-expanding accent furniture category sourced primarily from India, Indonesia and Mexico, the company has delved into the motion seating realm with its acquisition of Mac Motion in early January. It now offers about 40 SKUs in this segment that include companion ottomans and accent chairs in leather and fabric, with more product to be developed in the near future.

More recently, the company has launched outdoor furniture, which it happened upon by accident according to company president Dan Kendrick.

This is among the first outdoor product lines that Progressive began importing from Vietnam

While on a trip to Vietnam in late 2019 before the pandemic erupted in China and other parts of Asia, Kendrick mentioned to an industry friend that Progressive was looking for new product ideas to stimulate e-commerce business.

The manufacturer took Kendrick to a factory in Vietnam that produced outdoor furniture. While somewhat surprised about being shown outdoor, he decided to give the product – two chairs, two ottomans and an end table – a try.

“The timing happened to be right for a pandemic,” he said, joking that it can be “better to be lucky than good” in situations like these.

What was particularly appealing was that the product shipped all in one box, fully assembled. This made the logistics perfect for an e-commerce model as it also made things simple for brick-and-mortar retailers and their customers.

“The factory was selling to Europe and I picked three groups and tagged along on some of the cuttings he was sending to Europe,” Kendrick said. “We shipped all of those and they were gone in a month.”

This sectional shown with companion cocktail and end tables has been a hit with retailers.

After selling through five to seven containers of the initial groups, Kendrick said that the company added seven groups and sold through more than seven or eight containers of those too. It then added another three or four outdoor groups after that.

While still suited for e-commerce sales, the product began shipping just as brick-and-mortar customers were in need of furniture, including outdoor.

“We sold every bit of it that we had at premarket in April,” Kendrick said. “I said ‘I guess we are in the outdoor business.’ It is kind of fun to stumble on something like that.”

With about a dozen or so groups in the line, the mix includes a sofa set that can be configured like a sectional, as well as occasional table sets that are sold with a sofa and loveseat and a sofa sold with two chairs and an occasional table to name a few configurations.

There are also a few dining sets to choose from, including one featuring a table with a 60-inch by 35-inch glass top table with a woven base and featuring two ottoman-style benches. Seating eight comfortably, the set starts around $1,199. Other pieces retail from $399 to $1,299.

At the Oct. 16-20 High Point Market, the product is being shown near the Mac Motion display in the Progressive Showroom in space 208 of 220 Elm. Kendrick said that more containers are on the water and others are on order, expected to be shipping in the next two to three months.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

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