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Retailers and Vendors Warm to Atlanta Market

Capel has partneredCapel has partnered with HGTV celebrity designer Genevieve Gorder for a line of rugs, which includes Uzbeck.
ATLANTA - By mid December, it had become practically impossible to find an available hotel within a mile of the AmericasMart here for the bi-annual International Area Rug market and the concurring Gift Fair.
     If the paucity of accommodations is any indication of potential traffic, both events should be well-attended by buyers and avidly represented by vendors. The rug market takes place Jan. 12-15 and the gift fair Jan. 11-18.
     Jaipur Rugs in Norcross, Ga., expects traffic to the rug market to be "definitely strong," said Josh Roberts, vp, sales and marketing. "We are seeing good things from all sales channels and everyone is ready for the New Year."
     Also expecting a "strong turn-out ... based on current appointments" for the Atlanta shows as well as other similar events this winter is Dalton, Ga.-based Shaw Living, according to brand manager Kim Barta.
     "Winter
Surya’s new MezzoSurya’s new Mezzo collection features whimsical designs, like the one seen here, on a hand-tufted, 100% polyester construction made in China.
markets are so important to assist in getting stores stocked and ready with new product for the upcoming year," she added.
     And this year, retailers will be looking for both fashion and basics, Barta expects.
     "Retailers want the safe, tried and-true product that they know will sell," she said. "But at the same time, they want to update stores with the latest trends as well as a few pieces that make the store stand out from others."
     Steve Roan, vp of Sugar Valley, Ga.-based Karastan Rugs noted that "initial indications from Atlanta [AmericasMart] management are that pre-registrations are up, fairly significantly."
     He added that the company has made "numerous appointments with the major accounts that usually attend, and we are seeing some of the mid-level home furnishings accounts indicating they will be attending. We are optimistic that attendance will be increased."
     Expressing more guarded optimism about the rug market's buyer attendance is Allen Robertson, vp of sales for Troy, N.C.-based Capel Rugs.
     "My expectations are that traffic will be slightly improved," Robertson explained. "We have more dealers telling us they plan to attend than last year. I think that many have decided to concentrate on selling to [con
Shaw is expandingShaw is expanding its Newport collection with 25 new sophisticated patterns that range from ornate scrollworks to crisp contemporary lines.
sumers who] are employed and that can still buy."
     Capel is counting on its recent partnership with HGTV celebrity designer Genevieve Gorder to increase its showroom traffic this market.
     "Dealers will definitely be looking for what's new to be the catalyst to grow business," Robertson continued. "We will continue our emphasis on ‘Capel New Style Point Of View' by showing 96 fresh new rugs at Atlanta. Most manufacturers are already selling basic product at the lowest possible prices. Dealers may buy basics in anticipation of rising prices in the spring. Of course, Made-in-the-USA will continue to be a large traffic builder."
     Jim Thompson, vp of sales and marketing at Central Oriental in West Warwick, R.I., said he expects more retailers to attend the January market than did a year ago. Most will be emphasizing price points, he believes.
     "I still see most of the action at the more promotional price points," he explained. "I continue to be surprised by both the vendors entering the promotional markets and the dealers who are hanging these rugs. Retailers who in the past would never entertain a $299 retail [for an] 8-by-10 [size area rug] are now offering and selling these price points. So, at the market more buyers will be looking for good looking rugs that retail at key promotional price points."

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