Millennium To Double Sales in 2004 With New Contract Line

March 11, 2004

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand-Millennium, the largest wholesaler/distributor of upholstery in New Zealand, plans to double its $8,000,000 business in 2004 by introducing contract goods, said Robert Thompson, co-principal and general manager of the seven-year-old firm.

Were going to double our business in the next 12 months with the major growth in Australia, a market we entered just three years ago, Thompson said. Contract is a big step for us.

Millennium is using its Envogue division in Australia and New Zealand to launch its new contract business, and has built a new 40,000-square-foot distribution center in Auckland to store contract goods, Thompson said.

A subsidiary of the Charles Parson Group, a $200 million apparel and home furnishings business headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Millennium launched in 1997 after Charles Parsons III, then head of Charles Parson Group, offered Thompson $5,000,000 to found a wholesale upholstery business. Thompson attributes much of his success to his many Chinese suppliers.

China has had a profound impact on lowering market prices and challenged long-term domination of the worlds mills, he said. China doesnt bring design. China brings weaving resources. We have learned to be a converter because of China, which is only 10 hours away.

Chinese resources are now one third of Millenniums business in the $2.50-$4.00 price range. For goods that cost above $4.00, Thompson employs Escolys and Depoortere in Belgium, Mario Sirtori, DEtoffe and Prosetex in Italy and Quaker in the U.S.

We love short run suppliers with two-piece minimums from European mills in Belgium, Italy and Spain. They will survive because of short run minimums. China offers 500-yard minimums in New Zealand, Thompson said.

Quaker, Millenniums largest - and sole American - supplier, boasts one-piece minimums and a 20-year history of trade with the firm.

The Rowe division of Charles Parson sells higher-end drapery and a small amount of upholstery. Charles Parson sold $40 million worth of drapery in Australia and Asia and about $50,000,000 in soft furnishings and upholstery in 2003.


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