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Home Alone 3

Warren Shoulberg, editorial director for HTT, always seems to have something to say about things.
  • The Coach Catch

    So, Macy’s is the latest big-time “legit” retailer to get into the outlet business, announcing earlier this month it would launch the first four of what will eventually be a larger chain of Macy’s Backstage stores. Not many details on size, location or merchandise content, but one has to assume they will follow the pattern set by its brethren in the department store world. Neiman’s, Nordstrom and Saks have all gotten into this racket, at first opening stores somewhat off the beaten track and more recently putting them pretty much wherever there are shoppers. Following that, Macy ... Read More
  • Two Years … and Not Counting

    As much as some people hope problems will go away if you don’t pay attention to them and time goes by, that’s not always the way things work. Last month marked two years since the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh when more than 1,100 workers in a multi-story textiles factory facility died when the building collapsed because of unsafe conditions. And while the companies in the building were in the apparel business and there were no home textiles producers located in Rana Plaza, the incident raised the whole issue of safe product sourcing across many industries around ... Read More
  • Parallel universe

    There’s little dispute that the New York textiles market is the center of the industry and the most important twice-a-year event on the show calendar when it comes to home textiles. But having just returned from the High Point Market I have to tell you there is something going on outside of New York and if you play in this space, you need to consider a wider view. In High Point – which as everyone knows is focused around furniture – there is more textiles life than you probably think. Yes, it’s the better bedding lines that appeal to independent ... Read More
  • De-Merchandising

    The recent change at the top of Saks Fifth Avenue — high-profile merchant Marigay McKee out, low-profile operator Marc Metrick in — is only the latest example of the ongoing de-merchandising of American retailing. Virtually every single new retail ceo that has been put on the job over the past few years has come out of operations, finance, logistics or some combination of the three. This has been the case in big national chains as well as specialty operations, in general merchandise, apparel and most non-durable stores. Think about it: JCPenney, Target, Gap and now Saks all made the same personnel choices ... Read More
  • March Madness

    While most of the rest of the semi-same world is focused on what’s really important this month — the college basketball playoffs — those of us in the good old home textiles industry will once more square off in that delightful exercise known as New York market week. It’s what we do. But in the spirit of competition, let’s get our brackets set for this sporting event where full-court presses, man-to-man defenses, picks and an inordinate amount of fouls are all part of the game. The Same Old Customers vs. New Prospects. A lot of vendors will complain there ... Read More
  • Oh ... Canada

    Like most people who think the United States and America are the same and that the place north of us is … well, that place, my understanding of the particulars of Canada are somewhat vague and largely uninformed. Nothing personal, mind you. I’ve rarely met a Canadian I didn’t like and I’m quite fond of their comedians, hockey players and bacon. But when it comes to understanding why business in Canada is not necessarily the same as business in the United States I’m as ignorant as the next guy … especially if the next guy works at 1000 ... Read More
  • Changing of the Guard

    The end of one era and the beginning of another is not usually so readily apparent at the time it all happens. It’s not like a calendar where you turn the page from one year to another and you can neatly mark the occasion. But over the past few weeks we’ve seen just that happen at both the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s divisions of Macy’s corporate. Yes, Terry Lundgren still runs the show overall and Tony Spring is now entering his second year over Bloomies, but one layer down there have been some pretty serious changes ... Read More
  • The SHOW Report

    So, it's once again time for some pretzel logic – excuse me Donald and Walter – straight from the aisles of beautiful downtown Heimtextil, the ginormous textiles fair in Frankfurt last month. As always, it's the ground zero for the global home textiles market and anyone who is anywhere is usually there. Those who choose to ignore it do so at their own peril. Post-show there are the usual reports from the show organizers and anecdotal stories from attendees on how it all went, and if you cobble enough of them together you can generally get a pretty fair idea ... Read More
  • 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