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Showtime Provides Forum for Industry Issues

Pricing and Quantity Among Serious Topics

High Point, N.C. — Concern about the after effects of quota lifting, a measured drop in attendance, and increasing scrutiny of supply chain management were major topics at Showtime here last week.

Both customers and exhibitors were curious about pricing and quantity issues as well as the potential for increased quality concerns. With more Americans — both customers and suppliers — sourcing in China, these concerns take on added significance.

“I don't think there will be an impact, but it's too early to tell,” said Roger Gilmartin, executive vice president, Covington Inds. “The big question is will the Chinese textile explosion affect the global market? If it does and serious disruptions occur, there are mechanisms existing.”

For American Century Home, the lifting of quotas means, “Our prices will be even more competitive,” said Tom Finneran, president.

“We're sourcing more in China than in the past,” explained Arthur Friedman, vice president, Robert Allen@Home. “The challenge will be consistency, quality and price.”

Friedman termed Showtime “excellent. We had more than 200 appointments for the week. Attitudes from retailers, non-furniture manufacturers and furniture manufacturers were positive.”

At Textile Fabric Associates, business was good, “and we wrote especially nice orders at retail on better goods and looks.”

“Business is OK, everyone is upbeat,” Tom Muzekari, vice president of Quaker, remarked.

For Covington's Gilmartin, “There have been as many non-furniture as furniture customers. And the non-furniture customers have been writing.”

Gilmartin added, “Our export business over the last 12 months has grown nicely — partly the dollar, partly (due to) the line which is more appropriate to export needs.”

Noting that “attendance seems down,” Jack Eger, vice president, added, “Furniture seems strong.”

At Regal, “We are making some things in China, but it's important to keep our European looks. It's a struggle with the euro; we're getting some value cooperation, but we're taking a profit hit,” explained Steve Kahan, vice president.

China, he added, “is focused on quantity and repetition. We demand freshness in design.”

Showtime was strong for Portfolio, said Burt Kaplan, president. A key ingredient, he noted, was the relaunch of the Laura Ashley Collection, which got “great response to the new mix of yarn dyes, prints and washed linens.”

“It should be a fantastic year,” remarked Mark Aizawa, president of Chris Stone & Associates. The company began focusing on key retailers which has been important with programmed activities that will increase this year.

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