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Here's the latest from Furniture Today regarding Ashley's purchase of the Berkline intellectual property rights.

"Ashley Furniture says it plans to resurrect the Berkline/BenchCraft line of furniture products, reintroducing it under its current name but as a member of the Ashley stable of companies.

"Our intention is to really enhance both those brands over time and make those brands what they once were - which was distinctive brands in the furniture industry," said Ashley President and CEO Todd Wanek.

Ashley acquired the intellectual properties of Berkline/BenchCraft earlier this month for $6.07 million in a bankruptcy court bidding process. The company's bid topped those from others, including Best Home Furnishings and Li & Fung, an international development and distribution company based in Hong Kong.

Ashley's initial "stalking horse" bid for Berkline/BenchCraft was $850,000.

A rollout of product will begin in October, with a major expansion over the next 12 months, the company said.

Wanek said Ashley will not open plants for the manufacturing and distribution of the former company's products but will produce them out of current plants in Asia and the U.S.

"Obviously, the Berkline and BenchCraft names have been very important names over the last 30-plus years in the furniture industry. We felt like the IP for designs, patents as well as brand names were important for our organization," he said.

He said the brands will be sold through their previous channels of distribution, including traditional furniture stores, mass merchants and other outlets."
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