Get a Move On

Carole Sloan, November 9, 2009

Ahoy out there!!!

Of late there have been increasingly high volumes of discontent about dealings with a growing number of the conventional top 15 or so home textiles retailers.

Moaning and groaning about how these stalwarts of business ethics are increasingly “borrowing” designs, increasing financial demands and even coming back after a season of fiscally compatible and agreeable sales activity to demand a change in the earlier agreements.

For many suppliers, these scenarios don’t energize them to look elsewhere for business. It may be business strikingly dissimilar to the way they currently do business — i.e., back to the 20th century.

But listening to conversations of late and reading some of the “different” retailers’ moves in our home textiles world, it seems that there is an awesome opportunity out there to build home textiles business.

First off, there are channels of distribution that most vendors have overlooked or ignored. For one, there is the entire family of dollar stores — a segment that is increasingly moving onto the ranks of the top home textiles retailers.

Now before you snort with disdain, witness a recent Dollar General circular — yes, circular and Dollar General all in the same sentence. Featured were Christmas print oven mitt and kitchen towels, holiday rugs, placemats and table runners, fleece throws and towels. Yes, the price points were low — but not so low that they couldn’t tickle the bottoms of some major players’ promotional nosedives.

Then there are the supermarkets. When you consider the large regionals and independents there’s a huge volume potential in virtually every area of home textiles — except perhaps window. And I’ve seen a great many of them with few major supplier names attached. Get into these stores guys — don’t send your better halves in to do your research.

Relating to this week’s International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show at the Javits, there’s a lot more talk about contract business beyond hospitality. That’s a segment in which many in the conventional home textiles world feel comfortable.

But now I’m hearing references to assisted living, health care, transportation and more.

Closer to home there are related business segments like kids, furniture and what seems to be a dramatically expanding opportunity — interior designers.

The business is there if you look for it. That’s the key!

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See the May 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we discuss our annual Market Basket survey, which finds higher prices and more polyester at leading retailers. See details!