The Monster mash
Jennifer Marks -- Home Textiles Today, October 27, 2003
When it comes to swapping scary ghost stories on Halloween night, the home textiles industry has plenty to share.
There's the tale of once-robust home textiles producers who either fell dead or found themselves severely dismembered over the past three years: Thomaston Mills, Spartan, Pillowtex, Guilford, Glenoit, Burlington House and Sunbeam. There's the spooky story of extreme margin erosion, as well as gruesome yarns about blood-sucking auctioneers.
In the spirit of the trick-or-treat season, here's an assortment of tidbits to chew on.
Trick: What was a delegation from Pakistan's Export Promotion Bureau doing in the exhibition hall at Intertextil Shanghai earlier this month? Encouraging Chinese manufacturers to invest in and partner with Pakistani mills to better serve Europe and the U.S. Their message to the Chinese: we're located closer than you are.
Treat: Linens 'n Things last week demonstrated that its earnings recovery has legs by posting a 14.8 percent jump in third quarter profits — derived largely from stepped up sales volume. Early response to the new Liz Claiborne Home collection has been positive, as has the reaction to the company's window treatments catalog debut, LNT said. Up next: the launch of an exclusive Trading Spaces collection. The revivification comes as welcome news at LNT, which slogged through much of the recession looking like a goat next to rival Bed Bath & Beyond's streaking stallion.
Trick: Affluent shoppers of luxury goods are — gasp — bargain hunters. That's the conclusion of the recent Luxury Market Report by Unity Marketing. Although brand marketers of luxury goods hold fast to the belief that discounting their products devalues their brand, it just ain't so, says the report. Unity found that affluent consumers seek out sale or discounted pricing on luxury goods in every category except fragrance and beauty products. The fastest growing channel for discount luxury items: the Internet.
Treat: Close-outer Tuesday Morning heads into the fourth quarter with the wind at its back and a staggering 62.3 percent increase in profits during the third quarter. Home textiles is a winner category, and the retailer will throw the spotlight on high-quality sheets and upscale bath towel offerings during the fourth quarter. Tuesday Morning also has boosted its new merchandise deliveries from 14 times per year to weekly.
Trick: the February mini market is a mere 14 weeks away. But by the time the market starts, the orders for holiday and winter seasonal goods will have been all buttoned up.
Treat: The spring New York Home Textiles Market is just 21 weeks away. If holiday '03 turns out to be as hearty as some analysts are projecting, and if hiring practices begin to pick up — as it seems they could —the market could be the most promising in nearly three years.
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