Covington Turns in Record 2015 Results, CEO Tarver Expects 2016 As Another Record Year
December 18, 2015
NEW YORK, New York —Covington Fabrics & Design LLC has turned in an annual sales growth of 20 percent in each of the last three years and is coming off a record year in 2015 with more to come in 2016 according to Greg Tarver, President & CEO. Covington turned in an impressive 84 sales increase with a staff increase of only 20 percent since Tarver joined in 2011. Covington as a decorative fabric supplier will introduce more new prints in 2016 than it has in the past decade, he says, in different price levels and basecloth options with coordinated packages including solids. There will be a total of 85 sku’s introduced at Showtime in December. Tarver says prints are selling well for Covington. “Prints have grown exponentially in the last three years. They represent 35 percent of Covington’s business today but deep color lines of solids that are in stock in up to 72 colors are the keystone of Covington’s business today. “We’re known for prints but we are now wovens rich,” Tarver explains.
Tom Bruno, Senior Vice President, Sales, Chari Voehl, Vice President, Design, Greg Tarver, President & CEO and Stefanie Wotton, Director, Marketing & Contract Services, Covington Fabrics & Design LLCFor example, Covington’s best selling lines are solids: Jefferson Linen in 72 colors; Brussels, a new solid color linen yarn dyed in 45 colors and Glynn linen- yarn dyed in 47 colors, all sourced in China, a good, better and best scenario. Products are priced at $3.95 for some plains to $22.95 for high-end embroideries.The company also says it is expecting a record year in the furniture business for 2016 as an upholstery fabric supplier. “We still think we can grow this business. We’re entrepreneurial and nimble,” he says. Tarver joined the company three years after the new and current owners Mark Kahan, his sister Susan Rifkin and his brother-in-law Bill Rifkin (Susan’s husband) put in a major cash infusion and inventory into Covington. They turned over operations to Tarver in March, 2011 when he joined and he was soon followed by his team including Chari Voehl, Vice President, Design (2011) who was designing for Swavelle before she came on board; Stefanie Wotton, Director of Marketing & Contract Services (2012) while Tom Bruno, Senior VP Sales was already on board since 2008. “Our owners are extremely satisfied with the Covington business today,” Tarver says. While his first three years were spent on building the product lines and sales while proving to customers “we could ship” he turned to improving operations including converting, purchasing, and computer systems. “We have world class computer systems today and we can fine tune sales reports by territory including the customers’ use of samples and the return on that investment.” Covington competes with P/Kaufmann, Richloom Fabrics Group and Swavelle in the USA and Bru Textiles, based in Belgium, the four largest converters in the world today, all over $100 million in sales and much larger than Covington which is under $100 million in sales. “We’ve been able to increase sales in a mature market like furniture and with the fabric retailer,” says Tom Bruno. “We’ve been hitting the retail chains hard. We had 174 appointments at Showtime last June versus 80 appointments five years ago,” Bruno points out. Covington will introduce its first contract line with Jennifer Adams in May. Covington Contract first started in 2010 and contract was only three percent of sales three years ago. In 2015, it is 20 % of sales. “We’re a decorative fabric supplier but contract is an investment that paid off for us,” Tarver says. Jennifer Adams continues to be a successful residential entry for Covington, with a third residential line coming next June. She is still its only designer line in its stable. “That doesn’t rule out other licensed lines,” Tarver says. “Her residential royalties exceeded our expectations so far,” he says. “Jennifer Adams original start was in the small hotel business with a bedding line for spa and hotel. The Adams contract line will be a crossover line with performance capabilities; upholstery with 50,000 double rubs for example. Other opportunities for Covington includes export, which it steered away from consciously in the past year but expects to start up again in 2016. Sourcing is another opportunity for the company, which has recently rediscovered Pakistan as a viable product source, competitive in quality and price to China in printing and basecloth.