Six bed businesses received awards at the National Bed Federation (NBF) Bed Show Gala Dinner last night. Hosted by broadcaster Gyles Brandreth and attended by more than 450 guests from the industry, the awards saw bed manufacturers, suppliers and retailers recognised for their achievements in design, inspiration, growth and innovation.
This year’s winners were: J. Marshall no.4 by Vispring for Bed of the Year; Vitafoam with FReefoam for Innovation of the Year; Cortec by Harrison Spinks for Component of the Year; Dreams for National Bed Retailer of the Year; MattressOnline for Pure Online Bed Retailer of the Year; and Linthorpe Beds for Independent Bed Retailer of the Year.
The Bed, Accessory Product/Component and Innovation of the Year categories were judged by Paul Farley, editor-in-chief of Furniture News magazine, Steve Adams, MD of MattressOnline, Jerry Cheshire, MD of Surrey Beds, Paul Stott of Paul Stott Design and Simon Williams, the NBF's marketing manager.
The Independent Bed Retailer, National Bed Retailer and Pure Online Retailer categories were judged by Richard de Melim of Furnishing Report, Andrew Kidd of Interiors Monthly, Dan Squires of Cabinet Maker, MD of Greenwood Retail Bernard Eaton, and Lisa Artis, the NBF's PR and communications manager.
“The annual awards are a valued opportunity to recognise stand out companies to the bed industry. We congratulate all those who put themselves forward to be judged and, celebrate those who were finalists and award winners,” says Tony Lisanti, president of the NBF.
After much deliberation, this year’s Bed of the Year prize went to Vispring for its J. Marshall no.4, which was praised for targeting a different type of consumer to the brand’s traditional one. It aims to challenge both existing and ‘disrupter’ brands with a sleek, modern finish – attractively upholstered and backed up by high-quality marketing materials for retailers.
Taking the Innovation of the Year trophy was Vitafoam with FReefoam. The judges felt this winning innovation could have significant benefits to UK mattress producers, retailers, consumers and the environment. Not waiting for any potential changes to UK flammability regulations, which could see the banning of certain FR chemicals, this new TCPP-free foam material does not compromise on quality, performance or fire retardancy.
Winning Component of the Year was Harrison Spinks with Cortec - a truly innovative component that has the potential to redefine comfort technology. Five years in the making, this glue-free, patented pocket spring system has already enabled the development of the company's first 100% recyclable mattress.
The winner of Pure Online Bed Retailer of the Year went to MattressOnline. In a year of change, this company was a strong front-runner, enjoying double-digit profit increase on the back of mid-single digital sales growth, and saw customers trading up. With a good clarity of entry, it showed great use of interactive features such as live chat and video to enhance customers' shopping experience.
North east-based Linthorpe Beds scooped Independent Retailer of the Year. The company showed an impressive sales increase in the qualifying period, with LFL sales up +17%, which stemmed from investment in marketing, the website and strong add-on sales. It took a bold, brave move to refurbish its flagship store and second store, and committed to a new van fleet.
Winner of the National Bed Retailer of the Year went to Dreams. It was a close call in this category, but the judges were impressed with its fifth straight year of improvement, including LFL growth. This company is also driven by its innovative approach to customer service and retail including investment in training and partnerships with the Olympic team GB athletes.