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Vendors Satisfied with Specialty Traffic

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, February 25, 2008

Home textiles exhibitors during the New York Home Textiles Market Week here earlier this month were generally pleased with their results, despite what a number of them called "lighter attendance."

The Market Week, held in conjunction with the New York International Gift Fair, had exhibitors at the Javits Center, the Piers, 230 Fifth Avenue and 7 W New York.

"It was a good solid show; we opened a lot of new accounts," said John Rose, co-owner of Textillery. One of the pluses, he noted, "was our being in the Sustainable Products exhibit with our bamboo throws. People saw them there and came to our stand."

For Katha Diddel, head of her namesake company, "There were a lot of people not there who typically were. Traffic definitely was down, and 7 W 34 was quiet. But we saw a lot of our major accounts who were buying, especially for holiday. The specialty stores had less to spend."

Sales were "about the same as for the past few shows, and that was fine because they had been excellent," said Murray Massre, owner of Fino Lino. A trend among specialty stores, he remarked "is they now are buying a bed to show and sell against on special orders, rather than buying stock. It's been a trend for a while."

Massre also commented that market organizer George Little Management "has come into the 21st century by grouping the home textiles firms together. But there is a major void being left from when they discontinued the April show."

Ann Gish, head of her namesake bedding company, said "It went OK. I went in with lower expectations. It was not like August, which was spectacular."

One positive, said Gish, "was that there were fewer personal orders. And many specialty stores are updating themselves — from a physical uplift to product changes and a younger approach."

"We were actually up 5%," said Pamela Kline, president of Traditions by Pamela Kline. "It was a really good show and we had good response to our new Charlotte Moss bed," which won a show design prize.

Walter Chapin, owner of Company C, termed the show "an average show," but noted, "The New York show is always more than half a textiles-driven vs. a rug-driven show." Overall he considers it a Northeastern activity.

"We had a lot of traffic [at 7 W 34] and business during that week was good," said Jennifer Nobis, sales director for Designers Guild. "Business was strong and we saw a lot of specialty stores, especially later in the week."

For Toni Valle, manager of a multi-firm showroom at 7 W 34 that includes DownTown, Fino Lino, Katha Diddel, and Greenhorn, "Changing the dates and the different opening and closing times really threw everyone off."

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