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Learning from the Past

"Even in the bad spots, there were many lessons from the year that going forward will benefit individuals and companies alike."

NOW THAT THIS TUMULTUOUS year is finally coming to a close, it's time to look back - analyze -and see what can be learned and used from 2010 for the year ahead. Granted it was a year that few would wish to repeat - but then it was not all bad. For even in the bad spots, there were many lessons from the year that going forward will benefit individuals and companies alike.
     First, we learned that even the really, really big guys - aka the retail giants - can only swing their weight so far in a global marketplace. It happened this year, many times over and quite publicly.
     Then, of course, we had lesson after lesson as to how small a player in the global marketplace that the world of home textiles really is. This scenario played out whether in terms of pricing, commodity availability, transportation - or just about anything else.
     The retail community got its comeuppance in many ways - but most of all in terms of demands on pricing. When a price commitment won't hold more than a nanosecond, and often results in a higher price just hours later, there is trouble ahead.
     Style-outs and market tests that go on for eons, just won't cut it in the new world environment of supply and demand. The stuff just probably won't be available when the super retailer is finally ready to place the really big order. There's a whole new world out there where consumers are shopping. They're non-traditional spaces and formats - some probably not even ready to roll as this is written - but still on the horizon nonetheless.
     This is not to say the traditional forms of retailing are being abandoned - but that new competition is quickly forming. It's time for everyone in home textiles land to keep this in mind and act on it.
     And, as we have every year at this time, we wish one and all a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

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