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Slow, but satisfying

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, September 16, 2002

Well, another September of Decosit, DecoContract and TIP has come and gone.

From a business perspective, it was fairly unanimous that attendance was down. But as one American said about the overall results, "I'm not crying in my beer."

It was clear that the congruence of the Jewish High Holy days at the beginning of each of these shows had a significant impact. Many Americans, Europeans and Israelis stayed away completely, while others flew in for truncated visits on Monday and Tuesday.

But also it is increasingly clear that companies are sending fewer people to these events. What had been perks for some members of the companies during the roaring '90s are no longer enjoyed.

But sagging global economies also played a behind-the-scenes role in the business — as well as in the product offerings across all three shows. With many exhibitors realizing that their customers were not coming in with open wallets, there seemed to be an overall tempering of new directions, new colors, new designs.

But still, despite this, a number of companies — American and others — reported that business was fairly good.

Interestingly, one of the most frequent comments was about a significant uptick in the world of prints. This assessment came not just from the exhibitors in the print world who have been suffering for several years, but from the buyers from many countries who volunteered their opinions.

But as with most of the winners cited by exhibitors in both the print and wovens world, the key definition was differentiation. Formula designs and weaves just didn't make the winners' circle during the three concurrent shows.

Granted, there were no major direction changes but merely refinements in color and design — there still was a lot to pick from.

As for TIP, the new venue offered challenges in making certain that everyone went to the right place. But the consensus among visitors was that the array of products from many countries offered outstanding potential.

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