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Show and Tell

Carole Sloan, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, October 10, 2005

Moving into the home textiles market that begins in New York later this week, this industry is facing a plethora of challenges on both the retailer and supplier side of the fence.

First is the issue of markets. The basic home textiles challenge in this regard was resolved mid-year with the announcement of the move of the New York market to a February and September time frame that will finalize by February 2007.

That should help the many senior home furnishings retail executives I see on the planes from New York to Greensboro, N.C., to attend the High Point home furnishings market that typically tacks on to the end of the New York event.

But one shouldn't get too overjoyed at the spacing between shows. The High Point folks are surveying retailers for their views about the timing of the furniture market and its related products shown there.

Then there's the change in Showtime dates — now set for June and December — and already creating some concern as to the impact on the home textiles customers that buy there as well as all others,.

While it hasn't quite made the impact on the world of home textiles as it did in furniture, the Las Vegas show that made its debut in July is another venue that needs to be reckoned with. It has all the earmarks of a snowball gathering a huge amount of momentum — and cannot be ignored.

And then there are the standbys — Heimtextil and Decosit — that factor into the show-and-tell scenario. But add Shanghai to that, as more retailers and suppliers go in the other direction for sourcing, and the complexity of what the next few years will bring becomes clearer.

The need for speed to market is definitely one of the key issues. But as critical is the need for product development and newness that typically has been the signature of the many markets in this country and around the world. If this piece of the cycle is shunted aside, this business will become one focused solely on the lowest price for the most common look.

This coming week could well be a defining one for both retailers and suppliers in this regard.

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