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Jennifer Marks

This 'n that

As of this writing, the American government remains determined to do battle where it sees fit, France and Russia remain determined to veto such a plan, the American consumer remains wary about nearly everything from national security to job security, and a whole lot of home textiles product remains somewhere out on the water — with the New York Home Textiles Market just a little more than two weeks away.

Such are the times we live in. Having spent the past three weeks popping around to see what's going on during the run-up to a hair-raisingly early market, here are a few notes.

Life goes on … Anecdotal evidence suggests that the U.S. Custom Department's new 24-hour rule — which requires shippers to provide Customs with detailed manifests of containers destined for the United States at least 24 hours before the goods arrive at their port of embarkation — is definitely taking its toll. Suppliers large and small have had their goods hung up at the port because of minor paperwork snafus. Average impact of such screw-ups (again, anecdotally): a delivery delay of two to three weeks.

Life goes on Part II … Sure, it's hard getting global merchandise to the market while the war drums beat ominously. But imagine trying to launch an entirely new show for global producers in the midst of such uncertainly. That's the task facing George Little Management, organizers of the New York Home Textiles Show and the New York Gift Market, among many others. Managers of the new Sources show, slated for a May debut in New York, acknowledged last week that they're working diligently to overcome visa problems. Nearly three-quarters of the exhibitors hail from either China, India or Taiwan.

Talk about your contracted markets … For all of the complaining suppliers do about having a limited pool of large-volume accounts to chase, every now and then something pops up to demonstrate that there are others who have it worse. The most recent reminder arrived from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, which just announced the winners of its Baby Safety Month promotion. The JPMA awards safety campaigns in two categories: retailers with 19 or fewer stores and retailers with 20 or more stores. This year's winners in the 20 or more category? First place: Babies "R" Us. Second place: Babies "R" Us. Third place: Babies "R" Us.

Talk about your contracted markets Part II … And by "market," I mean the New York Home Textiles Market. You think the spring show is early? The fall show kicks off on Sept. 19.

Hope we've solved some of our dilemmas by then.

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