(Photo: Mediafreaks)

Popular American furniture chain store Ashley Furniture HomeStore has opened its first outlet in Singapore.

The 7,000 sqf flagship store, on the ground floor of North East Building in Kallang Way, launched yesterday and has products designed for the living room, dining room, bedroom, family spaces and home office.

The items are part of five lifestyle collections – Vintage Casual, Urbanology, Contemporary Living, New Traditions and Family Spaces. They range from beds and sofas to vases and clocks.

Prices can range from $69 for a vase to $999 for a sofa.

Ashley Furniture Industries was founded in 1945 in Wisconsin, United States, and now has more than 800 stores in 45 countries, including Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Mongolia.

The chain is known for its modern American-style sofas.

It became the top-selling furniture brand worldwide in 2006, according to American magazine Furniture Today.

Exclusive to Singapore is the King Koil area in the showroom offering the entire range of King Koil mattresses, as well as made-to-order sofas and sofa beds.

The chain will also sell three types of a device known as Sleepace, which help people track their sleep patterns.

Matsushita Greatwall Corporation, the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of King Koil products in Singapore and Brunei, helped the US company with advertising and promotion in Singapore and also gave it feedback on consumer preferences here.

Its group chief operating officer, Ms Jenny Koh, says the Ashley products in the showroom were chosen to cater to the Singapore market.

"Generally, Singapore houses are smaller. Overall, the sizes of products (in the showroom) are smaller to fit into houses," she says. They are also "more sleek… (as) people are looking for a 'cleaner', more modern look".

Products that are not sold physically at the store can be viewed online, ordered and shipped to customers' homes.

Ms Koh adds that a second Ashley Furniture HomeStore will open in Sungei Kadut Drive next month.

Mr Charles Spang, president of international sales and operations at Ashley Furniture Industries, says the store in Kallang caters to the middle-and upper-income market in Singapore.

He adds that in the next three months, augmented and virtual-reality headsets will also be available in the Singapore store. This will allow customers to better visualise how the various pieces of furniture might fit into their homes.

(First published in The Straits Times)