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Buyers Flock to Las Vegas Market

Home textiles suppliers have voted a strong "yes" for their results at the Las Vegas furniture and home furnishings market at the World Market Center here last week.

Retailers from a wide range of distribution channels — department stores to Internet sites to mattress retailers, interior designers, specialty retailers, and conventional furniture stores — were among the many that visited home textiles suppliers showing in the permanent showrooms in Buildings A and B, as well as in the pavilions on the edge of the WMC site.

For many of the home textiles exhibitors, it was an opportunity to attract retailers beyond their normal spheres — in most cases department and big-box specialty stores and discounters.

"It was a very good market, with good reaction and good order writing," said Ridvan Tatargil, president of Eastern Accents. The company added a number of new customers — "mostly from the West Coast. I feel good about the week," Tatargil added.

Interestingly, he observed, "Mornings started slow, then it grew stronger through the day," a trend that is in direct contrast to the way the market unfolds for the company in High Point, N.C. Perhaps, he noted, it could be attributed to the entertainment aspects of Las Vegas versus High Point.

For Fritz Kruger, senior vp, marketing for Pacific Coast Feather, "I thought it was great, overall we were busy and the place was full of energy."

"We wrote business, which for us is not a common occurrence at shows and markets. Our goal at these events is developing new customers, which we did here, and have a presence and opportunity to be face-to-face, since much of our ongoing business is telemarketing and on the Internet," he explained.

"I was very, very pleased with the first three and a half days," reported Lonnie Scheps, vp, Hudson Inds. "Starting Thursday afternoon it slowed down." Overall, he noted, "We had good spillover from the World Market Center."

The customer base for Hudson also was a wide range from mail-order companies to furniture and mattress stores to small retailers and Internet companies.

An upgraded mix of top-of-the-bed fabrics and fabrications, as well as an expanded sheet and basic bedding program were winners for Leggett & Platt's top-of-the-bed division, said Richard Downing, president. "Monday and Tuesday were breathtakingly good, and Wednesday was very good," he related.

Among the retailers shopping the company, he said, were "a good sampling of those across the country, as well as from Australia and Central and South America. And maybe there were more sleep people and mom and pops."

For Hallmart Collectibles, "80% of the people here never come to High Point or the East Coast," said Jesse Ghalili, vp, sales. While many were here, Ghalili noted, "Many independents no longer go to High Point."

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