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They’re off and running at Area rug market

Atlanta — The Area International Rug Market is in full swing here, and retail buyers are pressing demands for more value in the products they’re considering.

That doesn’t necessarily translate to opening price points, according to suppliers, but perhaps to lower and moderate prices with higher perceived values. Carved looks are continuing their popularity. If there is a flight to quality, it can be found in the attendees. Like other markets in the recent past, retail contingents are a bit smaller but include the key people managing the business.

Seen and heard around the market:

-- Shaw Rugs unveiled an extension of high-end rugs to its Kathy Ireland licensed program. The collection, titled Gallery, is the line's highest priced assortment, composed of rugs made of a new proprietary yarn system Shaw calls Comfort Touch. Jeff Meadows, division vp, described them as "polypropylene that looks like wool but feels like cotton."

-- In an effort to continue growing its year-old area rug division, Fashion Industries is reconfiguring its showroom on the second floor of New York’s 295 Fifth Ave. to place more emphasis on its new rug business, as well as its growing table linens business.

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