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Up In Arms

Heath E. Combs, Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, November 28, 2005

There's been a whole hoopla, hullabaloo about trade show dates over the last year or so.

Not unusual. It's something the New York marketplace tends to get riled up over about every decade or so. Once, there was talk of moving the market to Atlanta, or even — gasp! — Boca Raton. The retailers, and there were many more in that era, put a big fat NO on each of those suggestions. So you understand that this is not a new concept. It's a subject that has been with this marketplace for longer than most want to remember.

First, let's start this conversation with the simple premise. A market takes place when a buyer and seller get together. It can be a formal or informal activity, it can involve a lot of folks, or just a few, and it can even be on Christmas, Yom Kippur or whenever, depending on the parties involved.

And coming up, there's another sideliner. Mini-Market is set for Feb. 5 through 8. And Super Bowl Sunday is scheduled for — Feb. 5. Nuff said.

The buyer is the one calling the shots. And in this environment, those shots can be at any time, any place.

In this day and age, we have more challenges to market than in the past. Sourcing is a global activity that takes place 12 months a year. But the rationale for markets is more than a sourcing function. It is a bringing together of ideas, concepts and different perspectives on both a global and a focused perspective in home textiles specifically, as well an opportunity to review and analyze trends in all retailing and supplier segments.

This probably is the critical issue behind the market challenge. Without markets — or whatever one wants to call them — there would be little opportunity for communication — one on one or formal and informal get-togethers.

And while many are narrow-minded enough to think only of the folks in Bentonville, Plano, Minneapolis and the like, there's a whole bunch of retailers that represent not just significant volume, but also profitable business. If the New York market can't accommodate them, they may well go elsewhere.

And that will be the end of what we know of as home textiles markets in New York.

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