MONROE, MI — La-Z-Boy Inc. will partner with Kuka Home, one of China's largest upholstery producers and retailers. The residential furniture manufacturer said the partnership will include the distribution as well as the manufacture of La-Z-Boy recliners and motion furniture.

According to a statement by La-Z-Boy, the products will manufactured under license in Kuka Home's manufacturing plants in China, as well as in La-Z-Boy facilities outside of China, including those in Thailand and the United States.

Kuka Home and La-Z-Boy also will develop and launch a La-Z-Boy store concept in 2012. Kuka Home is expected to open several hundred La-Z-Boy retail stores over the next few years.

"A major objective for us is to grow the La-Z-Boy brand globally, and China represents a significant opportunity for international expansion," La-Z-Boy Chairman, President and CEO Kurt Darrow said in a statement. "Our model has always been based on strong relationships with local companies, and with Kuka Home's highly regarded reputation in the marketplace, we're very pleased they are our partners in China."

Kuka Home has more than 1,600 stores located throughout China. According to Jason GU, chairman and CEO of Kuka Home, the goal of the partnership is "to introduce high-quality motion furniture to Chinese consumers and help them live life comfortably. We believe that our cooperation will be a great model of how to create win-win partnerships between American and Chinese furniture companies."

In addition to its retail ventures, Dongguan-based Kuka Home manufactures and sells furniture for living rooms, family rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms. Kuka Home President LI Donglai said, "La-Z-Boy has high standards and strong operational management processes and we look forward to using them as a valuable benchmark for Kuka Home. The cooperation with La-Z-Boy will help Kuka Home enhance our own management standards and approaches."

La-Z-Boy's Doug Collier, chief marketing officer and president of its international division, said, "We are excited to combine our heritage, expertise and experience in motion furniture manufacturing and marketing with Kuka Home's local market knowledge and their tremendous furniture retailing and manufacturing expertise and strength in China. Our shared goal is to make La-Z-Boy the leading motion furniture brand in China."

One of the leading producers of residential furniture, La-Z-Boy has operating units for upholstery as well as casegoods production. Included in the La-Z-Boy Upholstery Group are Bauhaus, England and La-Z-Boy. The Casegoods Group consist of American Drew, Lea, Hammary and Kincaid. Its retail network includes 309 La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries stores and 549 independent Comfort Studios, as well as in-store gallery programs for the Kincaid, England and Lea brands.

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