A tale of two markets
November 5, 2001,
It's amazing how different opinions are about any given event. Lawyers trying accident cases know this upfront as they call witnesses to the same event; other events, such as a market, don't seem to elicit so many different viewpoints or observations.
One thing all were in agreement about was attendance. But we've covered that ground earlier.
The thing that caused the critical divergence of opinion was the product offering — the raison d'etre of a market — and in this case it was black and white, no gray. There were those that loved it, found lots and lots to pick up their assortments in terms of newness and value. Then there were those who hated the introductions — and implied that it was a waste of time to schlep to New York.
This all came to a critical head as we called retailers around the country to solicit their selections for our semi-annual Buyers' Choice survey. I had been in touch with several dozen, either in private conversation of for our survey.
Never before, in all the post-market overviews that Home Textiles Today has conducted, have I had retailers tell me there was nothing they could pick as outstanding — and sadly these opinions were from those of somewhat senior ranking.
These were guys who had spent the typical four to six days in market and couldn't wax enthusiastic about anything.
In the opposite camp were those who saw this market as offering super opportunities in terms of product, value, innovation and technological advances.
These guys and gals saw individual items at specific suppliers, or either general trends or a technology breakthrough in a category as being something significant that they could offer their customers.
And while price is a critical issue, these folks were definitely aware that the products in this business are being deflated because of the growth of imports.
But it wasn't price for price sake that caught their attention. It was the product plus the value that made the equation work.
Yes, there was no single significant color or design trend.
But maybe the naysayers need to go back and look at their notes or even maybe relook at some of the lines.