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Hope springs eternal at colorful market

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, December 31, 1969

NEW YORK — An unusually positive mood coupled with the dramatic explosion of color across all product lines gave an unexpected buoyancy to the home textiles market here last week.

Despite the clouded economic situation, retailers picked luxury bedding, upscale bath and bath coordinates, and a growing fashion approach in window coverings as some of the high spots across the market.

In terms of fashion, there were few new directions but rather an expansion and intensification of themes that have emerged over the past year: dressmaker detailing, layering, opulence, and bed and bath for age groups from kids to young adults.

"I liked what I saw and there was more than enough good product to buy," is the way Mark Grand, vp, home fashions and floor coverings for Hoffman Estates, IL-based Sears, described the market.

"For Sears, I was encouraged about the level of quality and fashion we can buy at price points that our customers can understand," he added.

"There was color all over the place, and I was glad to see it," Steve Jebbia, dmm for bed and bath at Plano, TX-based JCPenney, summarized the overall market direction. "The predominance of reds in pillows and bedding are just the beginning." Moving forward he sees the red/gold and purple families as "outstanding." Overall, he noted "opulence was even more important than before."

"Anything we've shipped to stores with lots of color has been strong," he explained.

For Alan Holland, window covering buyer for Atlanta-based Expo Design Center, "the reds, oranges, siennas and black warps were exciting color statements, and the fabrics from taffetas, organzas, crushed fabrics, and still chenille were strong."

As for top treatments, Holland cited ascots, scarves, beaded treatments and tabs as important both for fabric window coverings "as well as being able to use them as dressing for blinds and shades."

"It was a pretty fabulous market. It was wonderful from the bed in the bag to the luxury level," said Julian Tomchin, senior vp, Macy's West, San Francisco. "And the very opulent bedrooms were very well put together," he added.

"The mood was much more positive than I would have expected," Farley Nachemin, brand president, Domestications, Weehawken, NJ, observed. "There were lots of pretty goods, but not necessarily robust." The kids segment was especially strong, he noted.

Less enthusiastic was Jim Whitehead, vp, home textiles at Myrtle Beach, SC-based HomePlace, who said it was one of the "most uninspired markets — very safe — and undoubtedly due to the economy."

What is selling for HomePlace, he commented, "is product that is new, fresh, fun and exciting — and we didn't find much of this last week. With this kind of an economy, we need more not less creativity."

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