Pleasant surprises at Showtime

Carole Sloan, Staff Staff, January 20, 2003

Despite a number of external challenges, exhibitors at Showtime Winter 2003 were upbeat about results from the recent event.

As well noted by now, both the home textiles and furniture markets are significantly earlier than typical. The resulting push for December showings — which also are a normal thing at the major mills and specialty companies — resulted in faster decisions needing to be made during Showtime, rather than some weeks out. For suppliers that had not looked at the calender as well as their customers, this created a crash action at Showtime. Samples were ordered, and decisions were made on the spot.

Most exhibitors admitted that traffic was down, but all agreed that this was due in large measure to the significant amount of December shopping by both their home fashions and furniture manufacturing customers. For most, pre-planned appointments were on the mark and in some cases well ahead of last January.

"For us, it was really good, and especially in top-of-the-bed," said Jack Eger, vp, Craftex, who's also president of the International Textile Market Association (ITMA), organizer of Showtime. Among the firm's standouts, he said, were new polyester strie warp with an airy chenille and lots of ombre.

While there were fewer people, "we had the same number of appointments, fewer drop-ins and decisions were made faster," he said.

At Quaker, "Showtime was just terrific. We had no attendance issue, and the response to our new product was just extraordinary," said Larry Liebenow, president and ceo.

"The timing is driving people out of whack" is the way Mike Shelton, president of Valdese, remarked. "But we got ready, and this is going to be a good season for us."

Showtime was strong for Valdese, Shelton noted, with "lots of stuff in the hopper for home fashions and a pretty good move up for contract."

"We knew it was going to be light going in, so we did lots of pre-sell," explained Robin Slough, vp, American Silk Mills. "Overall it was okay; we had some no-shows among our pre-set appointments. We're more mindful of what is going on around us, but we have very strong product."

Countering the standstill on appointments, Bob Woodcock, president of Lanscot-Arlen noted, "We went from 120 to 175 appointments, January to January. Specialty retailing, jobbers and RV manufacturers were especially strong."

"We had the normal cadre of appointments," said Gary Stein, vp, American Decorative Fabrics. Highlights, he added, were the new chenille imberlines and a new body cloth. Overall, Stein remarked "people seemed positive, and their intentions seem positive."

"Thank God we showed the line mostly in December," exclaimed Jack Korngold, vp, Costa Blanca. But even with the early showing "Showtime for us was very good."

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