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High Point Readies for Market

Exhibitors Anticipating Better Level of Order Writing

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, October 19, 2009

Home textiles exhibitors at the High Point Market here this week are hoping that the buyers who didn't go to the Las Vegas market last month will instead shop here.

At the same time, a number of exhibitors anticipate a slightly better level of order writing than had been the case in New York in August as well as in Las Vegas in September. Business has been coming in at an improved level for some suppliers, though not yet at pre-recession levels. The consensus appears to be that retail shelves need replenishment after an almost year-long cutback in inventory as stores move into the critical holiday season.

And there have been occasional comments about the relevance of markets in today's business world, with the increase in doing business over the Internet and the rise in special order and customer order capabilities, as well as the cost of traveling to markets with other options available.

This market also will highlight a group of new exhibitors in the home textiles world at the Suites at Market Square that will be featuring their products to a different audience — interior designers.

“This is still very much a designer-driven market, and many are now getting big projects,” commented Pamela Kline, ceo of Traditions by Pamela Kline. Pre-market calls have produced appointments as well as “some more positive responses. But there also are those with significant budget cuts, and others will be 'just looking,'” she added.

“There were a lot of no-shows in Vegas, and we expect a good turnout here. Retailers need goods,” said Jesse Gallili, vp of Hallmart Collectibles. As an incentive, Hallmart has added new price points and ideas. You can't be stale. We follow design trends and are featuring a lot of larger prints — transitional, but traditional still has its place.”

Relating the business to the major segment of its market here, Gallili remarked, “Selling decorative bedding in furniture stores takes a lot of work and training.”

For Textillery, “We've had neither negative nor really positive conversations pre-market with customers. We've been steady [on orders] but not great,” said John Rose, co-principal. Interestingly, he noted, “Customers are coming back to shop after being away for a significant period, while others just need product.”

Looking at the market overall, Rose sees a growing gap in activity between the majors — suppliers and retailers — and smaller retailers and suppliers. “We see more activity at the smaller level, though not at a strong level.”

For Ann Gish, head of her namesake company, a move to the Green wing of the IHFC opposite the elevators offers a new opportunity and increased traffic, she said.

The company had long been situated in the Design Center wing.

Exposure to more designers is the motivator for Brimar's showing in the new Suites area, said Christine Hoffman, marketing director. The company already shows at Showtime “where we wrote a little business, but here we're just showing.”

Similarly Brentwood, a longtime Showtime exhibitor, has joined the furniture market exhibitor roster at Suites at Market Square to highlight the company's year-old program of drapery panels. “We're testing the waters. This market brings in a new customer for us,” said Jeff Veach, vp, sales.

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