Target wanted Casper Mattress…..

Following last week’s news of Casper going into Target stores nationwide, it was reported that Target had offered $1 billion for the online mattress brand.

According to Recode, a technology news website, multiple sources said acquisition talks between the two companies over a few months broke down, and Target will to take a minority stake instead.

Industry insiders believe a new round of funding for the N.Y.-based startup could be announced in the next few weeks, as Casper had been in the process of raising funding when the Target talks began.

Both Casper and Target have declined to comment.

Acima Featured on Lifetime Television Today

Don’t miss our segment on The Balancing Act airing on Lifetime Television®. It aired this morning, but we have it included below in this email. This segment goes over Acima and the solutions we provide to you and your customers. We would recommend sharing it on your social media to help promote your No Credit Needed program. This is just another example of how we work each day to enrich the lives of our merchants, employees, and customers.

Enjoy!

 

Making sure your Mattress allows you to get your Rem Sleep, Very Important!

REM sleep occurs in cycles of about 90-120 minutes throughout the night, and it accounts for up to 20-25% of total sleep time in adult humans, although the proportion decreases with age (a newborn baby may spend 80% of total sleep time in the REM stage). In particular, REM sleep dominates the latter half of the sleep period, especially the hours before waking, and the REM component of each sleep cycle typically increases as the night goes on.

As the name suggests, it is associated with rapid (and apparently random) side-to-side movements of the closed eyes, a phenomenon which can be monitored and measured by a technique called electrooculography (EOG). This eye motion is not constant (tonic) but intermittent (phasic). It is still not known exactly what purpose it serves, but it is believed that the eye movements may relate to the internal visual images of the dreams that occur during REM sleep, especially as they are associated with brain wave spikes in the regions of the brain involved with vision (as well as elsewhere in the cerebral cortex).

Brain activity during REM sleep is largely characterized by low-amplitude mixed-frequency brain waves, quite similar to those experienced during the waking state – theta waves, alpha waves and even the high frequency beta waves more typical of high-level active concentration and thinking. These show up as the typical “saw-tooth” brain wave pattern on an electroencephalogram (EEG) and, because of these similarities with the waking state, REM sleep has earned the moniker “paradoxical sleep”. The brain’s oxygen consumption, reflecting its energy consumption, is also very high during this period, in fact often higher than when awake and working on a complex problem.

Breathing becomes more rapid and irregular during REM sleep than during non-REM sleep, and the heart rate and blood pressure also increase to near waking levels. Core temperature is not well regulated during this time and tends towards the ambient temperature, in much the same way as reptiles and other cold-blooded animals. Sexual arousal is also common during REM sleep and the male penis and female clitoris become aroused and erect for substantial periods during this sleep stage, regardless of whether or not any dreams in progress are of an erotic nature.

Although the muscles become more relaxed during non-REM sleep, they become completely paralyzed and unresponsive during REM sleep. This virtual absence of muscle tone and skeletal muscle activity is known as atonia, and it occurs because the brain impulses that control muscle movement are completely suppressed (other than those controlling the eye movements and one or two other essential functions, like the heart, diaphragm, etc, that allow us to breathe and remain alive). The source of these inhibitory signals (which utilize the neurotransmitter norepinephrine) is in a specific part of the pons region of brainstem called the locus coeruleus.

The majority of dreams – certainly the most memorable and vivid dreams – occur during REM sleep, and it is thought that the muscular atonia that accompanies it may be a built-in measure to protect us from self-damage which could occur while physically acting out these vivid REM dreams. This hypothesis is borne out by Michel Jouvet’s early experiments on cats in which the muscle inhibition nerves were severed, leading these cats to physically stalk invisible prey and run and jump around wildly during the dreams of REM sleep.

Neurologically, REM sleep is activated by secretion of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and inhibited by the neurotransmitter serotonin, and this effect is principally generated in the pons region of the brainstem. In experiments on animals, it has been shown that the surgical destruction of a particular group of nerve cells in the pons can eliminate REM sleep completely, suggesting that the active function of these cells (rather than merely the deactivation of wakefulness mechanisms) is necessary for REM sleep.

The brain areas involved with long-term memory and emotion are highly active during REM sleep (image from Zeology)

The brain areas involved with long-term memory and emotion are highly active during REM sleep (image from Zeology)

Although lack of REM sleep leads to surprisingly few negative effects on behaviour, it has been shown to impair the ability to learn complex tasks, suggesting that REM sleep is a vital component of our sleep patterns, particularly during early childhood development, when REM sleep makes up a much larger percentage of total sleep. This is backed up by the fact that, if REM sleep is repeatedly interrupted or shortened, then longer REMrebound sleep” tends to occur at the next opportunity in compensation (instead of slowly moving through the various stages of non-REM sleep first, the sleeper slips quickly into REM sleep, and stays there longer than usual).

Some memory consolidation, particularly of procedural and spatial memory, also takes place during this stage, although perhaps not to the same extent as during the deeper, later stages of non-REM sleep. It has been noted that people tend to spend more time than usual in REM sleep following days when they have been in unusual situations requiring them to learn a lot of new tasks.

Although most people do not tend to wake after each cycle of REM sleep, as some animals do, we are more likely to wake from REM sleep than from non-REM sleep. Usually, these “micro-awakenings” are of a few seconds only, and the sleeper does not normally remember them. If over-stimulated, though, a person may wake up fully, and it may take the length of an entire sleep cycle (1.5 – 2 hours) to get back to sleep.

Although it is usually assumed that REM sleep (and the dreams that go with it) is a physiological necessity, recent findings have muddied the waters somewhat. For example, in cases of REM sleep deprivation, individuals tend to compensate by dreaming more during non-REM sleep. Animals deprived of REM sleep for as long as two months seem to be able to continue with very little perceptible behavioural or physiological injury, and humans taking certain antidepressantmedications that result in little or no REM sleep also show few apparent negative consequences.

Mattress Firm testing Purple product

matt firm purpleCarrie and Tony Pearce of Purple touted the company’s messaging with the T-shirts they wore at the kickoff of the Mattress Firm annual leadership meeting.

HOUSTON — Mattress Firm, the nation’s largest bedding specialty retailer, announced that it will sell the Purple Bed, a bed-in-a-box offering, in select Mattress Firm stores.

The company announced the pilot partnership that will unite Purple, a fast-growing Top 15 bedding e-trailer, with Mattress Firm’s brick-and-mortar stores.

Mattress Firm CEO Ken Murphy talked about the new pilot program in his kickoff speech at Mattress Firm’s annual leadership conference, praising the company for its record of creating innovative products. He said the pilot program will begin in the next several weeks.

The move is part of Mattress Firm’s mission “to curate the best and latest in sleep technology,” the company said. Purple’s patented Hyper-Elastic Polymer is engineered for comfort and responds to pressure without making sleepers compromise between soft or firm designs, officials said.

“The Purple Bed offers people something more powerful and unique than any other mattress-in-a-box company,” said Sicily Dickenson, Mattress Firm’s chief marketing officer. “The product is backed by proven innovative technology. We’re excited to offer people the opportunity to try a Purple bed and purchase these products in our stores.”

Purple officials are also excited about the partnership.

“Purple has experienced tremendous success reaching customers online, however, there is an even greater opportunity when you intersect online with offline tactile store experience,” said Sam Bernards, CEO of Purple. “Mattress Firm is the largest brick-and-mortar specialty mattress retailer in the country and they are phenomenal at what they do. A partnership between Purple and Mattress Firm allows each company to do what they do best while reaching new and wider markets. We believe this will allow us to bring comfort to millions of people across the United States.”

Purple was launched by brothers Tony and Terry Pearce in January 2016. They have been granted 34 patents in the advanced cushioning arena, officials said.

SSB consolidating brands, corporate offices in Atlanta in 2019

ATLANTA – Serta Simmons Bedding is planning to consolidate its brands and its corporate offices at a single campus headquarters in Atlanta in 2019, the company announced.

SSB officials said they have identified a site and are in final negotiations to build a corporate headquarters for SSB and for its Serta and Simmons Beautyrest brands. This location will also have an Innovation Center and a multi-brand showroom, the company said.

Serta’s brand headquarters is currently in Hoffman Estates, Ill., and the Simmons brand headquarters is at the Concourse facility in Atlanta. SSB’s STAR facility just outside Atlanta houses the company’s Innovation Center, and the SSB corporate offices are in Buckhead.

All told, the move to a consolidated headquarters will affect about 500 employees at those four locations, officials said.

The company intends to move the positions at those four facilities to the new SSB corporate headquarters. SSB officials said they will design the campus in such a way “to assure continued brand differentiation for Serta and Simmons Beautyrest.”

SSB said consolidating its operations at a single headquarters will help the company “reap the benefits of having our teams together in one location for better collaboration, work flow and communications.”

SSB said it recently concluded its exploration of campus options and has determined the company will move to a single headquarters location in Atlanta in the second quarter of 2019.

“We are still in negotiations with state and local authorities and therefore cannot yet provide more information,” the company said. “We will share more information as details are finalized, expected in the next several weeks.”

SSB CEO Michael Traub said the move to a consolidated headquarters is not a cost-savings measure but is designed to help the company “build a common culture and execute a common strategy.”

He said the company is offering a retention and relocation package to employees in Chicago and hopes they will make the move to Atlanta. SSB will be flexible with those employees, letting them move anytime from now until the move into the new headquarters is completed in 2019. SSB will rent additional space in Atlanta to accommodate those employees until the new headquarters is finished, Traub said.

About 120 employees work at the Serta headquarters in Hoffman Estates, while about 200 work at the Simmons headquarters at the Concourse facility in Atlanta. About 75 employees work at the STAR facility just outside Atlanta, and about 125 employees work at the SSB corporate headquarters in Buckhead.

Serta moved into its Hoffman Estates headquarters in 2008. The S-shaped, 90,000-square-foot building is now for sale.

 

This is what the whole world is coming to, I remember hearing twenty years ago, one day four companies would be running the world, maybe it’s going to happen.

Mattress Recycling Center revamps website

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Mattress Recycling Council has launched a redesign of its website to make it easier for mattress retailers, waste and recycling industry professionals and others to participate in its program.

The site – www.MattressRecyclingCouncil.org – promotes the industry’s ByeByeMattress recycling initiative, which is gaining momentum, officials said.

“When it was first created, the purpose of the site was to educate the industry about potential legislation and keep stakeholders informed of developments,” said Amanda Wall, MRC marketing and communications manager. “Not many visitors interacted with the site beyond reading news and leaving comments. Now that three states have operational programs, the site’s visitors are often figuring out how to take an action such as how to recycle, how to comply, what to tell their customers and how to do it right now.”

The site’s structure remains familiar to past users. There are still links to MRCreporting.org and ByeByeMattress.com, as well as individual state program pages, announcements and a resource center, but the new homepage and subpage layouts elevate the content visitors were seeking most, officials said.

Highlights of the redesign include:

  • Links to MRCreporting.org and ByeByeMattress.com are now available from any page of the site.
  • Viewers can email MRC’s customer service operation directly from the homepage.
  • State page layouts more clearly explain the industry’s obligations and how to receive no-cost recycling.
  • New online forms found on the state pages quickly connect those interested in either recycling.
  • Mattresses or collecting them with the appropriate program coordinator for their area.
  • The resources page is easier to navigate and thumbnail images allow the viewer to more easily identify and differentiate documents, officials said.

The Mattress Recycling Council is a non-profit organization formed by the mattress industry to operate recycling programs in states which have enacted mattress recycling laws: Connecticut, California and Rhode Island. More than one million mattresses are recycled each year. Each state’s program is funded by a recycling fee that is collected when a mattress or box spring is sold.

Crate & Barrel CEO is out

Crate & Barrel CEO Doug Diemoz has left the Top 100 company after less than two years on the job, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.

Diemoz is the former RH executive now embroiled in a lawsuit — along with Crate & Barrel — over alleged stealing of trade secrets and breach of contract. Vicki Lang, a Crate & Barrel spokeswoman confirmed for the Tribune that Diemoz had left but declined to say why.

Lang told the newspaper his departure last week had nothing to do with the RH lawsuit. She could not be reach immediately by Furniture Today for comment.

The Tribune obtained an internal memo sent to employee by Neela Montgomery, an executive board member at the retailer’s parent company, the Otto Group, noting she would assume most of Diemoz’s responsibilities. She also said she would work closely with President and Chief Merchant Steve Woodward, Chief Operating Officer Mike Relich and the rest of the executive leadership team, according to the report.

Crate & Barrel named Diemoz CEO in August 2015, replacing interim CEO Adrian Mitchell — a year after former CEO Sascha Bopp had resigned.

Before this, Diemoz was chief development officer for Corte Madera, Calif.-based RH, which in February, filed suit against Diemoz, Crate & Barrel and Kimberly Ahlheim, another RH employee who had joined the retailer.

In the lawsuit RH alleged Crate lacked its own plan for growth and set out to recruit away RH senior leaders to help revitalize the business and, among other thing, develop in-store food and beverage services, something RH unveiled at its Chicago Gallery showroom in 2015.

The suit charged the retailer hired Diemoz after unsuccessfully trying to hire away other senior RH executives and that Diemoz recruited Ahlheim, RH’s former director of food and beverage, and tried for others at RH even though he had signed an agreement against soliciting employees.

Pier 1 4Q profit jumps nearly 43%..This is nice to see!

FORT WORTH, Texas — Pier 1 Imports posted a 2.6% sales decrease and a 42.7% jump in fiscal fourth quarter profit, citing second-half momentum and an omni-channel strategy that’s working.

Net sales for the period ended Feb. 25, decreased to $528.4 million from $542.3 million for the same period a year ago on a roughly 3% drop in the retailer’s store count. Same-store sales increased 0.2%.

Net income for the quarter increased 42.7% to $26.6 million, or 33 cents per share, from $18.7 million in the fourth quarter last year. The most recent quarter included an approximately $2 million cost connected to the departure of former CEO Alex Smith. The company recently announced former Kmart President Alasdair James will start as Pier 1 President and CEO May 1.

“We gained momentum in the second half of the year, as our initiatives to drive improved financial performance took hold,” Interim President and CEO Terry London said in a release. “Notably, we strengthened our top-line trend, highlighted by positive company comparable sales, improved merchandise margins, controlled operational costs and increased profitability.

“Our omni-channel platform is enabling us to compete effectively in a challenging environment and positions us to deliver long-term success and increased shareholder value,” he added.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based retailer’s e-commerce sales increased 28% in the fourth quarter from the same period a year ago and accounted for about 20% of total sales for the year.

Gross profit for quarter totaled $206.9 million, or 39.2% of net sales, compared to $196.9 million, or 36.3% of net sales, in the fourth quarter a year ago. Merchandise margin (adding back delivery, fulfillment and store occupancy costs to gross profit) was 56.7% of net sales, compared to 52.5% for the same period a year ago.

Pier 1 attributed the margin improvement to “decreased clearance, a more effective promotional strategy and improved operations within the company’s supply chain.”

For the full year, net sales for the Top 100 company decreased 3.4% to $1.83 billion from $1.89 billion the previous fiscal years. Same-store sales were off 1%.

Net income for the full year decreased 24% to $30.1 million, or 37 cents per share, from $39.6 million, or 46 cents per share, a year ago. The most recent results included a roughly $10 million cost tied to the former CEO’s departure.

Pier 1’s store count for the full years decreased by a net 14 stores to 1,018 units, as it closed 21 stores and opened seven showrooms. It expects to close 20 to 25 stores this fiscal year.

In its guidance, the company said it expects first quarter same-store sales growth of 1% to 2%; flat to 1% growth in net sales and an earnings-per-share loss of 3 to 7 cents. Full-year guidance included expectations for a same-store sales increase of 1% to 2%; net sales growth of 2% to 3%; and earnings per share in the range of 46 cents to 52 cents.

Mattress Firm, Tempur Sealy square off in lawsuits

HOUSTON – The divorce between Mattress Firm and Tempur Sealy has taken a litigious turn, with the parties now squaring off in dueling lawsuits.

Mattress Firm filed suit on March 30, alleging that Tempur Sealy has engaged in “a systematic campaign aimed at extracting retribution for their losses” after a sharp drop in Tempur Sealy’s market capitalization that followed news of the impending Mattress Firm/Tempur Sealy split earlier this year.

“Specifically, during the winding up of the parties’ extensive relationship, Tempur Sealy threatened to prematurely cut off Mattress Firm’s supply, despite their knowledge that hundreds of orders were pending and millions of households in the country had received Mattress Firm advertisements for their product,” Mattress Firm says in its suit.

“As to product deliveries,” the suit continues, “Tempur Sealy failed to comply with obligations to deliver product as to time, location and specifications, resulting in lost sales and frustrated Mattress Firm customers. Tempur Sealy even embarked on a nationwide internet advertising campaign implying that shoppers should avoid ‘bait and switch’ sales tactics and buy direct from the manufacturer instead of Mattress Firm.

“Tempur Sealy’s sharp tactics violated the parties’ written agreements and interfered with Mattress Firm’s customer relationships,” the suit continues. “Mattress Firm therefore seeks an award of damages, declaratory relief, and attorney’s fees.”

Asked for comment on these charges, Tempur Sealy said it does not comment on ongoing litigation to which the company is a party.

But about one week later, Tempur-Pedic North America and Sealy Mattress Co. filed suit against Mattress Firm, contending that it is violating the terms of an agreement to wind-down and terminate the parties’ business relationship on April 3, 2017.

“The agreements required Mattress Firm to cease and desist from the use of Tempur Sealy trademarks by no later than April 3, 2017,” the Tempur Sealy suit says. “However, since April 3, 2017, Mattress Firm has failed, as promised, to: (a) take down all signs in its stores referring to Tempur-Pedic or Sealy; (b) remove all references to Tempur-Pedic and Sealy from its website; and (c) cease all Mattress Firm advertising referring to Tempur-Pedic and Sealy.

“Mattress Firm’s conduct has caused and will continue to cause Tempur-Sealy irreparable harm,” the suit continues. “As a result … Tempur-Sealy is entitled to injunctive relief to stop Mattress Firm from continuing to exploit Tempur-Sealy’s trademarks in violation of its contractural obligations, and federal and state law.”

Mattress Firm has been conducting a “once-in-a-lifetime” sale, promising savings on brands including Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster and Sealy, brands in the Tempur Sealy portfolio.

Asked for comment on the Mattress Firm lawsuit, Ken Murphy, Mattress Firm’s CEO, made this statement: “Winding down a relationship of this magnitude is a complex process that raises a number of operational challenges. We worked diligently with Tempur Sealy over the past couple of months to resolve those issues as they arose, but it became clear that there were several critical areas where an agreement was not possible. We therefore had no choice but to file a lawsuit … to enforce and define our rights. Tempur Sealy’s subsequent lawsuit addresses those same areas of disagreement, and is merely a continuation of its efforts to prohibit Mattress Firm’s authorized use of their trademarks. The complaints speak for themselves and we do not plan to comment further.”

Saying Good Bye to the Joe…..

Last night was a sad night for me. I knew it was coming, but watching the last Redwing game was emotional. It reminded me of the Tigers leaving the corner. The biggest difference was the success the Wings had at the Joe. The memories will be ever lasting, embedded in our memories forever. I guess if not making the playoffs for the first time in twenty five years has and up-side, it would have to be, the Redwing organization being  able  to celebrate the closing in a magnificent way.  We will miss the Joe, but will never forget the great experiences!  Little Caesars Arena here we come.