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Fight Monotony!

The occupants of this page seem to take turns bemoaning the blandness of much of the product in the home textiles world generally — and in bed and bath, especially.

Beginning with the Heimtextil show last month and moving to the Las Vegas show last week, there was a major divide between the two — and from the looks of things in previews for the round of New York markets, it appears that the same situation will prevail. There is widening divergence between the forces of repetition and the forces of fashion.

The "hotel" look and the monotony of neutrals have been around for eons, and have sunk to the lowest possible level of the retail scale. It's now all about price, and if there's a soul alive who doesn't realize that the Big Bruiser from Bentonville can easily take a price down — nationally or store by store — then it is long past time for his or her wakeup call.

It's time to stop playing the price card. It's getting the business nowhere. And customers are increasingly turned off by the day-in, day-out promotion of percentage sales offers.

Hopefully these next weeks will see some change.

Postscript to the Las Vegas market last week…

The powers that be obviously heard the angst of the visitors and corrected the transportation issues. The cab lines, even with a couple of hundred folks waiting, took no more than 15 or 20 minutes. Whether every cab in a 500-mile radius was obliged to stop at the World Market Center, I don't know, but it was a no-problem situation compared with last year.

The shuttle buses also seemed to be running on a more frequent basis and with an expanded fleet — quite a different situation from what happened last year.

It can't be all good, so here are this year's Vegas challenges.

Not one but many visitors and exhibitors in the pavilions and off-site showplaces in the MGM Grand remarked about the absence of aisle indicators or other designations to help guide people to specific areas. No one on the support team seemed to have a roadmap of what company was sited where, an issue that came up in conversations with exhibitors over and over. It's a simple and quick fix — not like getting a fleet of cabs and buses.

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