Expanding Business Segments
January 26, 2011,
"With traditional retail business starting to look better, this is not the time to retreat to the same-old-same-old business patterns."
No, it was not like old times. In days of yore, Heimtextil attendees were traditional retailer and supplier/importer buyers - often bringing massive numbers of employees to roam the halls.
Today that population mix has changed. This year, there were the regular retailers and suppliers, albeit in reduced size of buying team, but also interior designers, architects and contract furniture buyers.
Hopefully there will be a growing understanding on the part of home textiles manufacturers about the differences between the distribution of merchandise. It's definitely not a one-size-fits-all business.
First off, there are channels of distribution that most vendors have overlooked or ignored. For one, there is the entire family of dollar stores - a segment that is increasingly moving onto the ranks of the top home textiles retailers.
Then there are the supermarkets. When you consider the large regionals and independents there's a huge volume potential in virtually every area of home textiles - except perhaps window. And I've seen a great many of them with few major supplier names attached.
There continues to be a lot more talk about contract business beyond hospitality. That's a segment in which many in the conventional home textiles world feel comfortable.
But we're also hearing references to assisted living, health care, transportation and more.
Closer to home there are related business segments like kids, furniture and what seems to be a dramatically expanding opportunity - interior designers.
With traditional retail business starting to look better, this is not the time to retreat to the same-old-same-old business patterns.