News & Press

The New Frontier - Rigid Core Category Poised for Continued Innovations

The rigid core category is one of the most innovative in the floor covering industry.

[Dalton] The Rigid Core category is one of the most innovative in the floor covering industry with new advancements being made daily — innovations that enhance the look of a product or resolve a performance or quality issue. Coretec president and WPC inventor Piet Dossche said that these tech-forward products will always be embraced by dealers and consumers alike and able to command a premium price.

“The Rigid Core category right now is at a point where the ‘rough, primary’ innovation has happened for the most part, and now the category is focusing more on the ‘intricate, more refined’ improvements to enhance the product,” said Dossche.

These improvements, he said, include scratch resistance through the use of different wearlayers and finishes; sharper clarity and more realistic looks in decors and design, using alternative films and print technologies; realism in bevel technology; sound abatement; and, enhanced performance in dimensional stability. And, these types of benefits are constantly being evaluated in order to bring a better product and solution to the market.

“New market introductions featuring these more refined but important features will appear this year and beyond and will keep the category vibrant and growing,” said Dossche.

Looking to the future, Dossche said Coretec will focus on other surfaces besides flooring as well as products for the home and commercial space. “Any new Coretec innovation will always be true to its core value of bringing solutions while enhancing and beautifying the look,” he said.

To maintain the category’s profitability, Dossche advised suppliers and dealers “ignore the noise" in the market concerning pricing and deals. “Focus on maximizing profitability by keeping retail prices stable and always look to enhance margins on unique products and brands,” he said. “The last 12 months have proven, when the tariffs forced prices up at retail, the consumer didn't stop buying our products, just the opposite, she still acknowledged the beauty, performance and value we are bringing her and she continued to drive the category to new heights in sales and margin dollars.”

What’s more, Dossche added, “With potential supply issues looming as a result of the production interruption caused by the Coronavirus, it would be total insanity to start discounting products right now only to find out down the road you might have to pay a premium to replenish inventories,” he said. “Interest rates just came down by 50 basis points which will reduce further the mortgage rate and the cost of borrowing, stimulating remodeling and new construction which all bodes well for our industry outlook.”