Vendors Upbeat in Vegas

New Distribution Channels Beckon

Carole Sloan, February 23, 2009

Despite apprehension about traffic and results going into the Las Vegas market, many home textiles exhibitors were surprisingly pleased with their results.

Attendance was admittedly down, and the old cliché "the buyers that were here were buying" was stated over and over again, there were good vibes going through the buildings.

For a number of exhibitors, Tuesday ranked as the strongest day — both in traffic and order writing. Orders, most exhibitors noted, while comforting, were nonetheless for small quantities — enough to bring newness to retail floors rather than future inventory buys.

Tuesday was the big day for numbers of customers and order writing at Home Source, said Keith Sorgeloos, ceo. But overall, he pointed out, "Of all the business we did, 60% was with new customers. This market was by far a huge hit for us — we doubled our summer '08 business, and broke January '08 by 20%."

Interestingly, Sorgeloos remarked that the absence of West Coast retailers from the Dallas, Atlanta and New York shows brought them to Vegas, along with some merchants from Latin America and western Canada.

"Without a doubt, furniture retailers and dotcoms led the way. Furniture stores are trying to create new business opportunities and the dotcoms are coming out of the woodwork — but many of them don't get it [in terms of what is needed to succeed]."

Activity and order writing was good at Rizzy Home, with Tuesday especially strong, said Mark Ferullo, vice president. Overall, he said, "I'd say it was OK."

For Richard Downing, svp, consumer products division, Leggett & Platt, "We were pleasantly surprised at both the volume of our customers and the order writing. It definitely was a positive market — considerably better than we though going in."

Looking at the company's textile product results, Downing said, "We had a pretty good reaction to top of the bed, especially because of our promotional pricing and fast delivery. Utility bedding was very strong."

"The quality of the buyers was exactly what we wanted it to be," commented Bob Pearce, vice president, DreamFit. "There was an overwhelming response to our Comfort Quilted Sheet."

From another perspective, Pearce remarked "It was refreshing to see so many positive attitudes. They were tired of gloom and doom. They were more committed than ever. They understand the programs we've put in place for the furniture and mattress stores."

"It actually was pretty good for us," said Jesse Galili, vice president, Hallmart Collectibles. "We built more features into the products and offered better value."

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See the May 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we discuss our annual Market Basket survey, which finds higher prices and more polyester at leading retailers. See details!