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Vegas opens for business

Las Vegas -- Buyers were arriving in waves as Building C of the Las Vegas World Market opened for its first day of business, while soft home suppliers remained relatively cautious about how market activity would build between now and Friday, Aug. 1.

At Kas Rugs, where business this year has been up from 2007, expectations were for a solid turnout. The company has been very aggressive in beefing up its sales organization in recent years, especially targeting furniture retailers in Western territories over the past 18 months, said vp sales and marketing Don Newton. Kas has extended its reach in California, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Denver and Dallas, as well as Canada, he pointed out.

While Kas unveiled most major 2008 product introductions in January, Newton pointed to several July intros. Natura is a no-dye line of wool area rugs in asymmetrical ,  botanical patterns in sharply contrasting natural wool hues. Bali is a line of hand tufted poly-acrylic rugs offered in two- and three-color combinations. Both lines are aimed at the retail sweet spot of $299 to $349 in the 5-by-8 size.

Kas also debuted the Monte Carlo III line, a set of new colors in an already successful series. The super-soft viscose rugs, made in Belgium, hit $199-$249 retails. Looks are traditional and transitional.

“We lead with new products,” Newton said, by way of explaining the core Kas marketing strategy.

Adding energy at Building C today was lifestyle brand maven Kathy Ireland, on hand for new launches by several of her licensees that tap the same thematic directions that inform her furniture lines.

Hallmart Collectibles was among these companies. Jesse Galili, vp, said that interpreting the wood finishes and upholstery styles in use by his furniture retailer customers is nothing new. “We sell to all the top 100 furniture retailers,” Galili told HTT. “Our products for them must have lots of appeal, with ‘bells and whistles’ in the colors, fabrics, embroideries and finishes.”

Many of the Hallmart items for furniture retailers are designed in a process of direct product development meetings with furniture retailers, whether resulting in an all-cotton reversible, classic-pattern 4-piece bed set retailing at $129-$149, a minimalist menswear-inspired nine-piece set including a double-width sham at $379, or a cocoa and cream multi-needle embroidered tribal-urban look adorned with pintucking.

In the luxury linen area, SDH was getting strong reaction on its The Purists collection of luxury European organic goods. “We finally can obtain the range and quality of organic yarns we have been after,” SDH national sales manager Cathy Stemmler told HTT. She noted that the company has been doing its part to build demand for organic yarns since 1994.

As if to defy the general economic doldrums, Stemmler said the company’s recent introduction of its $1,800 (queen, retail) Ankara bedcover, woven of 62% organzina silk and 38% cashmere wool, has been a magnet for orders.

SDH also is seeing warm response to its Lyon collection, which uses a handful of Italian looms that weave each piece to size; and to Legna, its trademarked collection of yarns made from wood pulp that SDH weaves into ultrasoft sheets of high durability; Prieta is the latest pattern in the Legna line.

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