Engineered birch flooring in Hartco's Century Farm line is new from Armstrong.

The launch of an advanced hardwood adhesive system as well as new hardwood collections for the Bruce, Hartco and Robbins lines highlighted a recent product preview at Armstrong's headquarters in Lancaster, Pa. CEO Frank Ready used the occasion to offer an upbeat assessment of the company's position.

"2005 was a very successful year for us in North America," Ready told guests at the day-long event. "We are seeing significant growth in wood. Laminate for us is off the charts. We're picking up bundles of shares in the independent channel. Commercial linoleum and LVT have both set records in sales." He added that the residential vinyl segment is "a business that's struggling to grow" due to rising raw material costs.

While ceramic flooring accounts for a small portion Armstrong's overall sales, Ready predicted strong growth for the segment. He said sales will be spurred with the help of a Retail Strategic Accounts team created by Armstrong to focus on independent retailers. Ready said the team "paid significant dividends," last year. "We see continued momentum for the team to pay even more dividends in 2006," he added

Allen Cubell, Armstrong vp resilient, presented several new resilient lines at the recent product preview held at the company's headquarters.
Ready noted that Armstrong's recent success has been driven by products that quickly won favor with consumers. The company plans to follow the same strategy this year with an emphasis on hardwood. Included are engineered collections joining the Bruce, Hartco and Robbins lines. One early standout: Robbins' new Artesian Classics Color-Wash line. Available in four species, the products are first washed with a black stain, sanded, and then stained in a different color and finished. This process enhances the texture and character of the wood grain.

The company's new adhesive product is also seen as a breakthrough. VapArrest is a two-part epoxy and urethane adhesive designed to reduce vapor transmissions up to 75 percent in engineered wood flooring installations. New products were also introduced to Armstrong's four most popular commercial sheet vinyl lines, Natural Fusion residential resilient flooring, and Armstrong and Bruce laminate collections.