Westin signs Pottery Barn as new 'Heavenly' shop

Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:47am EST

Starwood Hotels and Resorts' ''Heavenly Bed'' is shown in this undated file photograph with part of the Los Angeles skyline in background. REUTERS/Handout

Starwood Hotels and Resorts' ''Heavenly Bed'' is shown in this undated file photograph with part of the Los Angeles skyline in background.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

(Reuters) - The "Heavenly Bed," a hotel room staple, is making its way to Williams Sonoma Inc's (WSM.N) Pottery Barn chain as Westin Hotels & Resorts tries to keep up with competitors in the upscale mattress market it helped to create.

The innerspring mattress, which Westin introduced in 1999, sells for more than $1,100. Until now, it has only been available through select Nordstrom stores, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Westin itself.

Westin has sold roughly 60,000 of its mattresses so far, mostly through Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N), according to Brian Povinelli, global brand leader for Westin, which is part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc (HOT.N).

However, Nordstrom has limited reach, selling the bed only at 58 of its stores that feature a home section.

"We were looking for ways to broaden the exposure of the product," said Povinelli, who has three pillow-top Heavenly Beds in his home, plus a dog version for his adopted labradoodle. "Nordstrom and Pottery Barn are on a very short list of brands we would want to partner with."

Sales of Westin's mattress and box spring, made by Simmons, have rebounded after demand declined in 2009 and early 2010 during the economic crunch.

"We're looking to have one of our stronger years ever," said Povinelli, who did not give a specific forecast.

The deal gives Pottery Barn shoppers the chance to buy a complete bedroom set, rather than shopping elsewhere for a mattress, said Felix Carbullido, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for Pottery Barn direct.

"They invented the luxury mattress, if you will," Carbullido said.

Westin's bed has a 13-inch pillow-top mattress with "motion separation technology" and individually pocketed coils.

NEW COMPETITION

After the number of U.S. mattresses sold declined from 2006 until 2009, the industry is in a bit of a turnaround, particularly for products with gel, said Ryan Trainer, president of the International Sleep Products Association.

Gel products are promoted as conforming better to a person's body, possibly improving their comfort as they sleep.

Prices have started to rise with the popularity of products such as Tempur-Pedic International Inc (TPX.N) cushioning and Select Comfort Corp's (SCSS.O) Sleep Number bed -- which allows people to adjust the firmness of the mattress.

Such non-innerspring mattresses gained market share in 2010. Click here for a graphic: link.reuters.com/wup65s

Trainer said his group expects mattress sales to rise faster in dollars than units this year, indicating that consumers are buying pricier items.

Westin's Heavenly Bed comes in sizes from twin to California king, and suggested prices range from $1,195 to $1,795.

Pottery Barn will carry the Heavenly Bed on its website starting on December 28 and in all of its 192 North American stores in early January.

Meanwhile, Westin is working to expand online sales of the mattress beyond the United States, starting with Europe and Asia. (Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)