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Gains Seen in Salary Survey

Average Sales Exec Salary up 10% from Last Year

New York — While the home textiles industry has encountered harsh market conditions over the past year, some sales executives and product designers have found prosperity.

According to the 2008 Home Textiles Salary Guide provided exclusively to HTT by home textiles executive search firm Westover & Associates, the average base salary of sales execs working for home textiles suppliers is $107,000, up nearly 10% from the 2007 Guide finding of $97,300.

Sales managers responding to the 2008 survey have done even better, posting an average base salary of $166,500, up almost 22% from $136,900 in 2007.

If product is king, some of the stylists and developers on the design and sourcing side of the industry are getting their taste of noble rewards.

According to the 2008 Guide, the average base salary of creative directors/design managers working for home textiles suppliers is $143,600, up nearly 14% from the 2007 Guide finding of $125,900.

Designers and stylists responding to the 2008 survey have also fared every bit as well, reporting an average base salary of $86,600, up 15% from $75,100 in 2007.

Catherine Westover, president of the search firm Westover & Associates, noted that activity in recruitment and staffing in the first half of last year moved at a brisker pace compared to the first half of 2008. However, gains from 2007 have propelled the compensation packages of home textiles supplier personnel onto a higher plateau.

When that momentum will pick up again is the question for the remainder of 2008, Westover indicated.

Looking at length of service, the 2008 Guide shows that the average number of total-career years and current-employer years both have generally increased from last year's levels. One interpretation, in light of the churn and restructuring affecting the home textiles industry, is that some of the better established professionals have become more concerned about their job security.

Ironically, most said they are unwilling to relocate — on the product side, the range of positive responses to this question goes from just 20% among product development staffers to a high of 40% of sourcing professionals. On the sales side, 27% of sales managers said they would be willing to relocate, while 32% of sales executives said the same.

Westover & Associates first published its Home Textiles Salary Guide in 1998. Full results of the 2008 survey are available at www.westoverinc.com.

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