Things are Looking Up
Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, April 26, 2010
Things are definitely looking up — and that's the right direction.
After a whirlwind tour through last week's High Point Market in North Carolina, “looking up” is definitely the proper phrase. Not great, but definitely better than recent history would show.
It's a scenario that was repeated in High Point — albeit with a higher level of enthusiasm than had been indicated at the many regional markets involving home textiles since the first of the year.
Retailers and interior designers are writing orders. Yes, they're not huge orders, but they are orders. And interestingly, much of the writing is definitely at the top of the price points — whether sheets, decorative bedding, furniture or accessories.
In a number of showrooms, suppliers mentioned designers with 10,000-square-foot-plus homes walking the market and placing the orders for merchandise. No, the luxury end is not flooding the market, but they are now visible as buyers whereas in the last year or so, these projects were being done very quietly.
Whether designer or retailer at the upper end, availability is a key issue — a factor that is definitely having an impact on how goods come in from China, India and Pakistan. The feeling is that more and more, distribution will be handled here with a high degree of service built in to the programs.
For the more mainstream suppliers at High Point, there still is the high wall to leap to get furniture sales people to do the minimal paper work beyond a typical furniture sale. But there are those who are getting it – and getting it right and properly with little agita on the part of the retail sales person.
It's these cases where the “keep it simple, stupid” are paying out. Top-of-bed business is growing and is profitable. The suppliers that have the patience to work their way through this “different” way of doing business other than via a Bed Bath &Beyond, JCPenney, Kohl's or Macy's are finding there's a good sales volume as well as a significant profit to be achieved in this market.
The suppliers in High Point last week apparently feel they have that special key.
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