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Published: Tuesday, 4/5/2005

La-Z-Boy links to outdoors for licensing venture


For its first major licensing venture, La-Z-Boy Inc. has picked an unusual partner: NorthPole Ltd., best known for its camping tents and sleeping bags.

No, the Monroe, Mich. furniture maker isn't going to make recliners for campsites.

Instead, it was announced yesterday, NorthPole will design, manufacture, and market products carrying the La-Z-Boy name.

Included will be tents and sleeping bags, air mattresses and portable beds, and hammocks and collapsible chairs.

The collection will be available at major retailers, including Target, Home Depot, Sam's Club, and Sears, in time for next year's spring season.

The most expensive piece carrying the La-Z-Boy name will cost $200, said Lisa Napolitano, a spokesman for NorthPole, a privately held company with U.S. headquarters in Washington, Mo.

La-Z-Boy Treasurer Mark Stegeman said yesterday that company executives know they have a strong brand name - in 2003, it ranked in one survey behind only Rubbermaid and Tupperware in well-known names for home products - and had been looking for more than a year for the right fit for a licensing agreement.

"We wanted to find something that made sense, and we thought this was a natural extension of [our emphasis] on comfort," he said.

The NorthPole spokesman said the alliance will help her firm because it will emphasize comfort in those products, such as an oversized down-filled sleeping bag.

The company has similar licensing agreements with Disney Co., Mattel Inc., and Columbia Sportswear Co.

Contact Mary-Beth McLaughlin at


or 419-724-6199.

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