The National Bed Federation (NBF) 2019 Bed Industry Award winners were crowned last night at the Bed Show Gala Dinner.
Six bed industry businesses, chosen from a shortlist of finalists by an independent panel of judges, celebrated as they scooped the top accolades.
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; Mattress Online for Pure Online Bed Retailer of the Year and North East based Linthorpe Beds for Independent Bed Retailer of the Year.
Packed full of action and glamour, the evening was hosted by broadcaster, Gyles Brandreth, and was attended by more than 450 guests from the industry. The awards, now in their ninth year, recognise bed manufacturers, suppliers and retailers representing the very best in inspiration, design, growth and innovation.
“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,” said Tony Lisanti, president of the NBF.
This year’s Bed of the Year prize went to Vispring with 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 – beautifully upholstered and backed up by superb marketing materials for its bed 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 doesn’t compromise on quality, performance or fire retardancy.
Winning Component of the Year was Harrison Spinks with Cortec – a truly innovative component that is set to redefine comfort technology and potentially change the bed industry. Five years in the making, this glue-free, patented pocket spring system has already enabled the development of the world’s first 100% recyclable luxury sustainable mattress.
The winner of Pure Online Bed Retailer of the Year went to Mattress Online. 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 series to enhance the customer 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 like-for-like sales at 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 as well as a second store and committing to a new van fleet to defy the notion that traditional retailing is dead.
Winner of the National Bed Retailer of the Year went to Dreams. It was a close call in this contested category, but the judges were impressed with its fifth straight year of improvement including like-for-like 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.
Bed, Accessory Product/Component and Innovation of the Year were judged by Paul Farley of Furniture News, Steve Adams, md of Mattress Online, Jerry Cheshire, md of Surrey Beds, Paul Stott of Paul Stott Design and Simon Williams, marketing manager at the NBF.
Independent Bed Retailer, National Bed Retailer and Pure Online Retailer were judged by Richard de Melim of Furnishing Report, Andrew Kidd of Interiors Monthly, Dan Squires of Cabinet Maker, Bernard Eaton, md of Greenwood Retail and Lisa Artis, PR and communications manager for the NBF.