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  • Jennifer Marks

Doubling Down on Market Dates

Las Vegas is pushing a fat pile of chips into the center of the table. Last week, the Las Vegas Market announced it will shift its July show into September, with dates set for the 14-17. The dates coincide with four out of five days of the New York Home Fashions Market week (Sept. 14-18) and most of the ABC Kids Expo (Sept. 13-16).

The move doesn't look like a bid to drive a stake through the heart of the New York show. There are a handful of home textiles showroom folks who currently show in Vegas, most of them rug suppliers. And the new Vegas dates would hardly undermine the Kids Expo, which will take place in Las Vegas.

It appears more likely Las Vegas is upping the ante in its battle for supremacy over the High Point market, which usually holds a market preview week (a mini market, as it were) sometime in September.

So far, home textiles suppliers that play in both Vegas and New York are taking it in stride. Selling multiple channels has always meant juggling multiple trade shows. Before Vegas altered its January/July schedule, it often bumped up against and sometimes overlapped the New York International Gift Fair, which also hosts some Vegas exhibitors.

Retailers are used to juggling, too. For years, the High Point Market began in the middle of the New York market week. Senior retail execs – dvp, dmm, – found a way to accommodate both by starting the week in New York and finishing it in High Point.

That is where, for showroom-based home textiles suppliers, the September 2009 overlap between New York and Las Vegas will get interesting. Will retailers who work both shows start the week in Vegas and arrive in New York mid-week? If so, the pattern of basically turning the lights out in New York on Thursday and Friday will no longer hold.

Another scenario: Retailers say to New York, "Nuts to your Monday-Friday schedule. We're coming in Wednesday-Saturday and flying to Vegas on Sunday."

Further, the battle of the events falls at a peculiar time. No sector of the home furnishings industry has been left untouched by the economic crisis. We're already seeing bankruptcies among chain retailers, furniture retailers, catalogers, and suppliers. More are expected. The extra stretch of finite resources won't be helpful to anyone.

But Vegas appears to be serious about this bet. It has released market dates through 2011. We'll see whether anyone cares to call it or raise it.

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