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Time At Last for Better Goods

There may be something of a breakthrough in the lack of energy that has consumed the home textiles marketplace in the past few years, as both buyers and sellers adjusted to the off-shore phenomenon.

And that breakthrough could well be a renewed interest in developing and marketing better goods for bed and bath.

As we here at Home Textiles Today worked our way through the many submissions by suppliers for our previews of the New York International Gift Fair, The New York Home Textiles Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion, and the Las Vegas Market at the World Market Center — all being held this week — and the early product submissions for the New York Home Fashions Market next month, there was a clear statement emerging.

A number of companies, previously focused on lower-than-low price points, have now moved their sights to better goods and better constructions with the resulting higher price points. Then there are the companies that have long held to the better goods mantra, that are continuing, if not expanding, their efforts in this segment.

A number of things are spurring this move. First, there is just so low anyone can go in price reductions before someone in the competitive milieu takes them on for a dollar or more less than the previous existing price point. This is a losing proposition.

Second, and perhaps the most critical factor, and one still not enunciated loudly enough, is that the cheap everything on the other side of the world is rapidly becoming not so cheap anymore. Basic commodity prices for things like energy and agricultural products are increasing at an almost daily pace. And labor costs, once heralded as the defining factor between production costs here and there, are moving up as well. Those folks see what the other half has and they want some, if not as much of it, as we have.

From early indications, there may be a revival of putting stuff back in the product, rather than trying to take out enough to bring the price down to someone's perceived need for a specific lower price point.

As these multiple markets unfold, the product analysis will be critical.

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