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Shoulberg PUBLISHER/EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Warren Shoulberg, editorial director for HTT, always seems to have something to say about things.
  • Guten Plenty

    I’ve lost track of how many Heimtextil fairs I’ve attended, but I can safely say it’s more than most people and I can just as safely say I always come back being better informed about the general condition of the home textiles industry. This year was true to form. Some ongoing observations were apparent, as always; others were new takes on old issues. In no particular order: The U.S. Dollar Rules. The surprising strength of the American currency was good news for U.S. buyers looking to spend their money wisely. Versus the Euro, the dollar ... Read More
  • 5 Ways 2015 Will be Different

    It’s a strange custom, don’t you think, that we all truly believe that with the changing of a calendar page, the world suddenly becomes a different place? Strange indeed, but who am I to contest it? So, in no particular order I offer up five big changes I see for the industry. 1. Same Day Delivery. From a futuristic concept to an occasional test to more widespread-but-still-limited use, immediate delivery of merchandise is going to explode in 2015. Of course, Amazon will be in the forefront of the movement, as it has been for most of the customer ... Read More
  • Plus Ca Change

    January 2005 marked a turning point in the modern history of home textiles. Ten years ago, on Jan. 1, off-shore manufacturers were unshackled from the last remaining trade quotas on shipments to the U.S. market. The Heimtextil show that year was packed with U.S. suppliers and retailers racing to nail down new sources of supply. Companies arrived in Frankfurt with platoons of staff. Target Stores hired buses to haul around the 80+ buyers, designers and product developers it brought to the show. Many manufacturers who expected to rake in all that new business were fairly clueless about what ... Read More
  • Doing the Lampert Talk

    Every time I think I’ve said all I possibly can about the sad, sad tale of Sears, Eddie Lampert comes along and fuels the fire. We all know the deconstruction process is entering its final stages and that Fast Eddie’s end game is drawing closer and closer. Yet, there’s no end to the sheer audacity of this guy to keep up a front that this is all part of his master plan and that the corner is…well, just around the corner. You can always depend on him to come up with some new spin to continue ... Read More
  • Presents of Mine

    My, oh my, where did the time go? Hard to believe, but it’s December already, the end to what may go down as the most lackluster year in the industry in recent memory. Business was OK, neither very good nor very bad. Hot products? Not so much. Cotton prices eroded yet over the cause of the year it really didn’t impact pricing or product selection very much. And let’s face it: when the biggest retail drama of the year concerned a small regional discounter named Alco liquidating, that put things in real perspective. So, as the calendar ... Read More
  • Store Stories

    I am absolutely fascinated by what CVS is doing and whether it has applications elsewhere in retailing, including home. You may remember a few months ago the retailer announced it was stopping selling cigarettes, arguing it was inconsistent with its mission of being a store where people came to buy products for their health. What's more, it said it wanted to go by the name CVS Health going forward. This was no small concession, mind you. CVS said it was giving up $4 billion in annual sales by stopping the sale of tobacco products. That's some serious revenue ... Read More
  • Gluten-Free Retailing

    We have entered a new reality in retailing over the past few years. It’s defined by stores that err on the side of conservative merchandising to a fault, that homogenize their assortments to the least objectionable level and underestimate both their customers and their own ability to sell interesting product. American retailing, of course, needs to be put in the context of the broader society. Movie studios, rather than take chances, endlessly recycle the same super heroes and comedic plots ad infinitum. The fast food business is built on the concept of playing it ultra safe and giving the ... Read More
  • Operation Retail Operation

    With all due respect to Benjamin Braddock in “The Graduate,” I have just one word for you…at least when it comes to retail ceos these days: operations. If you’re looking for the common denominator in the latest round of big-time retail executive appointments, it’s that virtually every one of these guys – and they are all guys – comes from the operations side of the business. Not one is really a merchant. The de-merchandising of the corner office at American retailing is nothing new. We’ve seen this gain traction for years, but up until very recently it was ... Read More
  • September Song

    We all know the song lyrics: “It’s a long, long while from May to December But the days grow short when you reach September. One hasn’t got time for the waiting game.” The September New York home textiles market week (sorry, I just can’t call it Home Fashions) is now in the books, but exactly what happened — and more importantly, what happens next —is subject to much interpretation and even more speculation. Certainly, it has been a long, long time from those heady days of spring when everyone eagerly awaited the fourth quarter where the economy and ... Read More
  • Casablanca

    A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to the textiles market this week: Business at all the usual suspects just is not getting better. It’s why at this market week more than ever, whether you’re a vendor or a retailer, you need to get some Letters of Transit and get out of town. The fundamental things don’t apply anymore. For most of the past two or three textiles lifetimes, the business has relied on a handful of increasingly larger retailers selling their wares to a targeted demographic group of Baby Boomers. It was a rather simple formula ... Read More
  • Greetings From Shanghai

    There’s an amazing home textiles trade show this season, one where the optimism and enthusiasm for business, for new products and for new markets is off the charts. Not that most people in the American market would know about it. That’s because the trade show in question is Intertextile in beautiful semi-downtown Pudong, Shanghai, 7,386 miles, as United flies, from Fifth Avenue in New York City. And at the risk of sounding like a broken Asian record, the future of the home textiles business is here and anyone who doesn’t get that may not have much ... Read More
  • King Cotton…again

    “I was influenced a lot by those around me - there was a lot of singing that went on in the cotton fields.” ----Willie Nelson Well, if they were singing back in the days when Willie was picking cotton, they’ve got be doing the Hallelujah Chorus these days. The price of cotton is down to about the lowest level it’s been since 2008 and it is settling into the historical range of cotton pricing for much of the decade before. Given the wild ride cotton prices have taken over the past few years, this is major news for the ... Read More