Outback Chair Company to Display its Remarkably Relaxing Hanging Furniture at the National Hardware Show

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Hardware stores and lawn & garden retailers will have the opportunity to learn how to merchandise hanging furniture to engage customers and boost sales.

Outback Chair Company, manufacturer of the casual furniture industry's most complete line of remarkably relaxing hanging furniture, will exhibit its hanging chairs, loungers and recliners at the National Hardware Show, May 8-10, Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. Outback Chair's display will be located at booth W1765. Distributors, dealers and retailers who visit with Outback Chair Company will learn how to display hanging furniture in order to maximize sales. "Some sensations simply must be experienced to be appreciated. And so it is with the carefree feeling of lofty comfort experienced in our hanging chairs, loungers and recliners," said Jack Bass, president, Outback Chair Company. "We will share the experience of hardware stores, such as H&E Do-It-Yourself, that have achieved sales success with our product lines by effectively displaying the furniture in their stores."

H&E Do-It-Yourself has stores in Barstow, Hesperia, Lancaster, Palmdale and Victorville, Calif. and has served several generations of customers in its Southern California communities since 1952. That is when brothers Herb and Ed Stein opened their first hardware store. Today, Philip Stein is the company's president and chief executive officer. He contends with challenges that his dad and uncle never imagined back in the 1950s. To compete with the big-box home centers, he must offer H&E's customers distinctive products that provide exceptional value at affordable prices. For casual furniture, Stein has found this winning combination with hanging chairs from San Diego-based Outback Chair Company.

However, H&E did not achieve immediate success with Outback Chair's hanging furniture. And H&E's experience offers a valuable lesson to independent retailers who sell outdoor furniture in competition with mass merchandisers.

Stein first visited with Outback Chair Company and met Jack Bass at the National Hardware Show in 2003. "I was impressed with the styles and craftsmanship of Outback Chair's products, but I was uncertain whether hanging chairs would be right for H&E," said Stein.

"To not just survive but thrive, we give our customers high-quality, personalized service and sell unique items that they cannot find at a huge home center or big discount store," said Stein. "Patio furniture accounts for 20 percent of our total sales. That number has been steadily growing, so I look for new and different casual furniture lines for our five stores." Stein brought Outback Chair products into his stores in 2005, but they did not sell. "People have to try them to buy them," he explained. "Hanging chairs don't sell themselves if you stake them up in boxes on the shelf, but that's exactly what we did."

Bass offered to come out to the H&E stores and install Outback Chair's custom merchandising system which creates a wooden framework on which its hanging chairs can be displayed. "Jack was committed to helping us be successful," said Stein. "Merchandising the products so customers could try them - and feel for themselves how comfortable they are - made a huge difference."

Indeed, in 2006, H&E's sales of hanging furniture from Outback Chair far exceeded expectations. "To fulfill customer demand, we re-ordered three times," said DeeDee Neilson, merchandising manager, H&E Do-It-Yourself. Today, H&E offers a total of 18 different SKUs from Outback Chair, including the Air Chair, Outback Recliner and Outback Single Lounger. They are adding the new Outback Double Lounger for the 2007 season.

The lesson of H&E's experience for other independents selling casual furniture in competition with big-box stores? "Find unique, high-quality products from manufacturers who stake their success on yours -- and then merchandise them right," Stein said.

"Hardware stores win customers, increase sales and boost their margins with our hanging furniture by merchandising the products so that customers can experience their incomparable comfort," said Bass. "We will show them how they can do so at the National Hardware Show in May."

About Outback Chair Company, Inc.

When selecting casual furniture, discerning consumers seek exceptional value: imaginatively designed, well-made furniture that provides genuine comfort at a sensible price. For these consumers, and the retailers who serve them, Outback Chair Company manufactures and distributes the most complete line of remarkably relaxing hanging furniture. Suspended from the ceiling of a porch or swaying gently from a frame out back on a patio, by the pool or in the garden, Outback's hanging furniture -- including chairs, loungers, recliners and hammocks -- offers lofty comfort that raises relaxation to serene heights. Founded in 1997, Outback Chair Company (http://www.outbackchair.com) is headquartered in San Diego, Calif.

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DAVID AQUILINA
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