Study forecasts sleep product demand to increase 2.6% per year through 2024

CLEVELAND — Sleep product demand is forecast to grow 2.6% annually for the next four years, according to a recent report from Freedonia Focus Reports, and better sleep on premium mattresses will be a key marketing driver for the bedding category.

In its “Sleep Products: United States,” FFR says the advances each year will be driven by increases in household formation, home sales and higher levels of disposable personal income.

Marketing the importance of a good night’s sleep and the potential benefits of high-end foam and hybrid mattresses will continue to support purchases of premium bedding, the report notes. In addition, the aging population of relatively affluent Baby Boomers will increase demand of premium products that offer relief for problems such as back pain.

The Freedonia report also noted that, in the short term, COVID-19 will continue to spur demand for new mattresses, citing consumers who are experience negative effects

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NRF to USTR: Avoid tariffs against Vietnam

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation urged the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to avoid placing tariffs on imports of Vietnamese goods and rely on other remedies and authorities to address trade complaints.

USTR recently launched two separate 301 investigations regarding Vietnam’s currency practices and trade in illegal timber. NRF Senior Vice President of Government Relations David French provided testimony at both the illegal timber and currency practices hearings this week. 

“Vietnam has become an increasingly important political ally and economic partner to the United States to counter the influence of China in the region,” French said. “It is important that this relationship not only continue but expand as the global economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”

French cited a new report commissioned by NRF and prepared by the Trade Partnership Worldwide on the potential impacts of tariffs on Vietnam. The report estimates the use of tariffs

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AkzoNobel continues share buyback program

ANSTERDAM, The Netherlands – Paint and wood coatings specialist AkzoNobel announced it has repurchased 196,777 of its common shares in the period from Dec. 14-18 at an average price of euro 86.57 per share. The consideration of the repurchase was euro 17.04 million, the company said.

The repurchase program, which began Dec. 7, was first announced on Oct. 21. This latest round is in addition to a previous buyback of 204,347 shares announced from Dec. 7-11. Priced at euro 88.24 per share, the consideration of that repurchase was euro 18.03 million.

Overall, the company plans to repurchase common shares up to a value of euro 300 million. This process is expected to be completed during the first half of 2021. The company said it has engaged a third part to manage the program and perform transactions on its behalf.  The shares are intended to be cancelled following the repurchase.

The

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Lee Inds. to open dedicated employee health center

CONOVER, N.C. – High-end upholstery manufacturer Lee Inds. will open a state-of-the art health center here for the exclusive use of its associates and their immediate families.

A patient room in the health center for Lee Inds. employees.

Scheduled to open in January, the 2,300 square-foot facility is located between Lee’s multiple manufacturing facilities in the Newton-Conover area. The center will be staffed by three healthcare professionals including a medical assistant, patient advocate and nurse practitioner with the oversight of a licensed physician.

Lee Inds. employs more than 670 skilled furniture technicians.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be able to provide this benefit and convenience for all our Lee associates,” said Bruce Birnbach, CEO of American Leather Holdings, Lee Inds.’ parent company.

Lee is partnering with South Carolina-based provider Proactive MD to offer high-touch, comprehensive medical care to all employees and their families.

“Lee Inds. employees will receive best-in-class

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USTR denies request to reopen comment period for Section 301 inquiry into Vietnam currency practices

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of the United States Trade Representative will still hold a Dec. 29 virtual public hearing pertaining to a Section 301 investigation into Vietnam’s currency practices, despite recent concerns raised by 24 trade associations.

In a Dec. 18 letter sent to the USTR by law firm Mowry & Grimson, the associations voiced concern that a U.S. Treasury Department report labeling Vietnam as a currency manipulator was issued after the public comment period deadline for the Dec. 29 hearing. In addition to asking the USTR to reopen the public comment period, the associations asked that the hearing and post-hearing comment period be delayed

In its Dec. 22 response, the USTR said that interested parties may still comment on the Treasury report under an existing timeline for public input. This includes the submission of post hearing comments due Jan. 7. It also noted that witnesses at the Dec.

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