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Vendors see recovery, but differ on timing

Bud Frankel

president & ceo

Arlee Home Fashions

"I honestly believe the retail business will be soft. I believe it will be driven very much by promotions and tremendous values and very low prices. The textile industry will be worse next year than this year. I don't honestly feel the retailer puts a high priority on home textiles sales. Their money will be going into other categories, not home textiles. If money is tight and business is slow, money will go to other areas — ready-to-wear, sporting goods, housewares, those kinds of categories — but not home textiles."

Loren Sweet

senior vp sales and marketing

Brentwood Originals

"Absent any other calamity, the first half should prove to be a decent but not great season. Low interest rates, the strength of home over apparel, and some comfort level that World War III is not about to begin — [all these factors] should result in some renewed strength. I believe that retailers have been so focused on inventory being in line by late January that they have thrown the baby out with the bath water. Replenishment orders dried up in mid November through December. However, we have a very strong order position for late January. This inventory flow speaks volumes to me and bodes well for spring 2002."

Roy Brunton


Brunton Intl.

"The first half and second half will be soft at retail. I do believe that home textiles will be a stronger piece of the business than ready-to-wear. In the second half I think things will start to pick up. We're going to see more creativity on the vendor side to stimulate the business."

Kea Capel

director of marketing and creative services

Capel Inc.

"Partly cloudy vs. rain in the forecast. I'm now guardedly optimistic. I've never witnessed such a yearning for hearth and home. Merchandise with a point of view, a singular piece which transforms a room, or a nostalgic, romantic gesture — our industry supplies these things. These are now the components for happiness that consumers are seeking. Deliver on the 'Home Sweet Home' promise, and I believe we'll see things turn around by October."

Roger Gilmartin

executive vp and coo

Covington Industries

"I'm very optimistic about the next quarter and especially in furniture, which was soft. Retail and jobber business has been good all year. And with the previews of the new line we launch in January, I think we will continue to see growth."

Kevin Finlay



"I think that purchasing will go hand-in-hand with corporate earnings. Once the year-end numbers come out, that's going to have a drastic impact on consumers' purchasing behavior."

Steve Mazarakis


Hellenic Rugs

"My outlook of the first half of the year for retail and textile companies is positive. The chain reaction begins the 5th of January. Retailers involved with the home industry will see a definite increase in business for the first and second quarters. This directly relates to wholesalers and manufacturers. I think manufacturers will be scrambling to be able to supply product for the increase of the needs of the retailers."

Lonnie Scheps

vp, sales and marketing

Hudson Industries

"Business until November was great, then it softened and now we're enjoying a December order streak for January/ February shipments. We're very bullish for 2002. We're a fringe business, but a lot of our customers are seeing our products as an important support to their core business. And we have a lot of new product in the hopper."

Phil Haney

senior vp, marketing and sales


"We expect consumers to continue the positive trend we are experiencing in November and December. The strength of 'home' will be evident as consumers finally begin work on previously postponed projects, starting with soft home domestics and culminating in larger project and big-ticket purchases. An increase of 5 percent in the first half is realistic."

Wendy Reiss

key account manager

KAS Rugs

"I think that, although price will play an important role in the consumer's mind, design and color will continue to be a priority. Making the home a sanctuary and special place to relax has become more and more of a priority. Consumers want to feel good about their surroundings."

Park Smith Jr.

president and ceo

Park B. Smith Inc.

"I believe the first quarter of 2002 will continue to be weak, with spotty breakthroughs in retail sales. In the second quarter a base will have been reached from which a recovery will begin to be realized. The third and fourth quarters should prove to be much stronger on both sides of the fence [manufacturing and retail]. The good thing is that I believe that home textiles sales will continue to outpace sales in other areas. There has truly been a shift in buying habits all across the country, and the consumer truly wants her home to be a haven."

Bob Woodcock



"I'm an optimist. I see a good first quarter and a great balance of the year for 2002. We have lots of new product, and if there are no new major problems, it will be a strong year. This year was a decent year, but it wasn't what we wanted or expected. But we were profitable. And we had better placements with our new products."

Larry Liebenow

president and ceo

Quaker Fabric

"Business will be okay in the United States, but not easy. We'll have to work very hard to get it. Our jobber business is significant and growing, and we have a good start in the top of the bed in home textiles and a terrific base in accessories — decorative pillows and throws."

Don Harris

vp, marketing and product development

Revere Mills

"Judging from what we are seeing at retail during that last quarter of 2001, the slowness will probably last through the first half of 2002. It looks like a lot of retailers are coming out of the last quarter of 2001 heavy in inventory that they will have to work off. After the first part of the year, while most retailers get back into gear, it will be a very competitive marketplace, as everyone will want to recover sales and margins. That is where new, well-designed product at aggressive pricing will become even more important. We see the back half of 2002 to be very strong."

Stan Fradin


Rockland Mills

"As a fiscal year, 2001/2002 is slightly behind but I sense a loosening for home refurbishing and contract in the second half of the fiscal year [ending July]."

Michael Fux

president and ceo

Sleep Innovations

"Frankly, I think it's going to be difficult through the first three quarters. It's going to be a matter of fighting to keep what you've got. It's not going to be bad, but it's going to be tough. And from the supplier side, we're doing it to ourselves. We're beating each other up on price."

Eric Vergucht

executive vp and general manager


"It will be challenging, but I feel that if you work hard at it and try to make a difference, you can make it. As the retail picture is changing, we need to change also."

Carolyn D'Angelo

vp, marketing and licensing


"We plan an increase and are cautiously optimistic. We're on a good trend. Our Tuscany collection is selling well, and Echoes of Ireland has booked well. We also will have more newness with Target."

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