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  • Jennifer Marks

Accentuating the Positive

Retail Editor 2, Jennifer Marks -- Home Textiles Today, September 28, 2009

The mood during market was fairly positive. We've finally reached the point where retail inventories are so depleted the pencils had to start buying.

While price points are still a consideration — when are they not? — many suppliers reported seeing a genuine appetite for something new, something different.

To that end, I think suppliers delivered during New York Home Fashions Market. There was a lot of great color. Overscaling blew up even bigger and became even more open. (For more details on the fashion trends, read Carole Sloan's column below.)

In basics, there were more technical applications than in earlier markets, even though those markets had plenty of them. Bleach-resistant and wrinkle-resistant constructions were abundant. The folks at Lenzing and Invista must be happy; I saw their fibers blended into all kinds of products.

Breaking out on the eco-friendly front is recycled cotton. And recycled poly (usually from bottles) was everywhere, so much so I'm beginning to wonder if we're now generating bottles solely for the purpose of breaking them down into recyclable material.

Speaking of suspect ecological claims, a word about bamboo. The news last month that the Federal Trade Commission has begun charging suppliers with deceptive labeling and advertising over the use of the word "bamboo" appeared to be well-known.

One supplier pointed to a sheet set and said: "It says 'bamboo,' but it's really rayon." (The FTC classifies bamboo as rayon and requires products made from bamboo to be labeled either as 100% rayon or 100% rayon from bamboo.)

All others who raised the subject, and there were several, were uncertain as to how the FTC's actions will impact retailers' interest in bamboo products.

Eco-friendly packaging continues to trend up whether in the use of new materials or simply stripping away as much packaging as possible.

The big question was what happens after those depleted retail inventories are filled. Will consumers spend? Will the replenishment orders come? If so, at what pace?

I don't think anybody's expecting we're gonna be partying like it's 1999, but on the up side, retailers will shortly begin to anniversary some really lousy numbers. With the right inventory in place, they could look like heroes.

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