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In This Corner ...

PSSST!

Yo, man! Come on over here! This is your room — no one else can come in!

No — this is not the hustle patter of some street folks. More to the point, it is the verbiage that is becoming the modus operandi for a number of major suppliers in home textiles this market as the two sides of the buying and selling functions square off.

It's a situation not heard of, nor even imagined, in days gone by — even as recently as this century.

This market is notable for the introduction of trend or fashion statements — available for all and sundry retailers in showroom after showroom. This step is being taken to emphasize to key retail accounts how trend-aware the supplier is — and how the trends are being translated in house.

As for the nitty-gritty of looking at product, negotiations about all and sundry issues and “forward” planning and “forecasting” are being be done in separate “name only” rooms under lock and key for specific retail accounts.

The ferocity of the competitive beast that has been unleashed in the home textiles world is definitely impacting the way retailers and suppliers are at the market function.

In a script that follows many of those at the European home textiles and fabric shows, a growing number of suppliers are cautioning their customers against taking pictures of new products on the show floors.

Imagine how things have deteriorated in the “partnerships” that have allegedly been so critical to the growth of the home textiles business

It is bizarre that significant suppliers cannot even trust their major customers not to knock off their products via direct sourcing. And the photo ban has apparently spurred a new creative pattern among some of the retailer constituency — sketch pads.

The next step, if it isn't here already, would be lithesome young retailers sporting pick glasses and portable CAD systems.

This business is in enough of a turmoil, there needs to be a truce — forget partnerships — among buyers and sellers or the whole industry will be facing challenges more intense than ever before.

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