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IPSA Announces Initiatives To Boost Mattress Sales

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Building on last month’s historic gathering of leading mattress manufacturers, retailers and suppliers at the ISPA Mattress Industry Leadership Summit, ISPA’s Board of Trustees announced that it has approved moving forward on three major initiatives that arose from the Summit. All are interrelated, and all are designed to grow the market for new mattress sales, benefiting all sectors of the industry as well as consumers. These initiatives include: formation of a Mattress Retailer Council within ISPA; development of a National Marketing Campaign; and establishment of a National Sustainability Initiative for the industry. ISPA’s Board approved moving ahead with the formation of a Mattress Retailer Council within the association. This Council will provide an ongoing forum for interaction among mattress retailers, manufacturers and suppliers on issues of importance to the overall mattress community. The governance structure of ISPA will remain the same, but this new Mattress Retailer Council will provide an important link among all sectors of the industry. The nine major mattress retailers that participated in last month’s Leadership Summit are being asked to join the Council as Founding Members. Membership in the Council then will be extended to the broader mattress retailer community. The ISPA Board also approved moving forward with the development of a National Mattress Industry Marketing Campaign to build awareness among consumers of the important role new mattresses play in improving sleep, health and quality of life. This, in turn, will translate into shortening the purchasing cycle and creating a broader market for mattress sales. The Board’s action called for moving forward with a structure, process and timing for developing specific recommendations on all phases of an industry marketing campaign. A leading consulting firm whose principals were responsible for the “Got Milk” and “Rediscover Plastics” industry marketing campaigns has been engaged to support ISPA’s efforts. “All of our research points to the fact that consumers understand the importance of sleep to their overall health and well-being,” noted ISPA Chair Charlie Eitel, CEO of the Simmons Bedding Company. “We need to demonstrate the key role new mattresses play in the equation and we need to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our mattress retail partners to get the word to consumers. In order to help launch this important campaign Simmons will accrue $2 for every foundation that it sells, effective January 1, 2009. This will produce an annual contribution to the campaign of approximately $5 million, and we are committed to support this for at least five years” Eitel continued. “However, in order for such a campaign to be fair to all it cannot allow ‘free riders,’ Simmons will support this effort only if 75% of the industry, based on dollar value, supports the campaign and all are involved in ISPA as members.” Lastly, the ISPA Board approved moving ahead with a National Mattress Industry Sustainability Initiative, critical aspects of which will be to improve the public’s perception of the mattress industry and to enhance existing efforts to reduce the environmental impact of used mattresses. Among other things, ISPA members will work with mattress retailers and scrap recyclers to reduce our industry’s “footprint” on landfills and improve the recycling of used mattress materials. Disreputable sales of improperly renovated mattresses, in which used mattresses are recovered and sold as new products to unsuspecting consumers, will be dramatically curtailed as well, thus opening the door for new mattress sales. “The key to this endeavor’s success is full retailer participation, an adequate and reliable supply of used mattresses, and an efficient and comprehensive dismantling system, all of which are attainable,” according to ISPA President Dick Doyle. “The technology exists and the will to succeed is there.” The Board approved initiatives will be crafted over the next three months. Specific recommendations then will be brought back to the ISPA Board for approval this summer. Each has an impact on broadening the market for new mattress sales. Together they represent a major opportunity for all segments of the mattress industry and a positive development for consumers. Established in 1915, the International Sleep Products Association is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the growth, profitability and stature of the mattress manufacturing industry. ISPA represents over 750 mattress manufacturers and their suppliers throughout the world.

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