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Home Alone 3

Warren Shoulberg, editorial director for HTT, always seems to have something to say about things.
  • The SHOW from the Fair

    Now that I'm finally over my jetlag, it seemed like a good time to share some thoughts, observations and otherwise pithy comments on this year's Heimtextil, the world's biggest home textiles show held earlier this month in Frankfurt.To do so, I need to pull out one of my old reliable market barometers: The SHOW Index.For those of you unfamiliar with this trusted, incredibly reliable and otherwise infallible business tool, let me explain. Over the many years attending this fair, I've discovered that by closely observing the hosiery and legwear choices made by female attendees ... Read More
  • 14 ... or So Things To Watch in '14

    What would a new year be without stray strands of tinsel around the house or the ubiquitous forecast on things that may happen over the next 12 months?Far be it for me to disappoint you on the latter, though I have little control over the former. The only thing is that 14 is a lot of predictions to make, the odds really go down when you approach this kind of volume in the forecasting department. Even weathermen cut it off at seven.So, in no particular order and with a respect for limited expectations, here are ... well, a bunch ... Read More
  • Retail Twerking

    So, what's the takeaway from Holiday 2013?If you have to ask, you probably haven't been paying attention. Everyone always talks before the fact about how the coming Christmas shopping season is going to be the most promotional ever and how terrible that is and how retailers need to buck up and find another way to do business.And then everyone goes out and promotes the hell out of the next four weeks. That's what we experienced this year, and while there's no realistic way to gauge how 2013 compares to previous years, it's hard ... Read More
  • Presents of Mine

    You couldn't make up a year like 2013, could you?The economy zigged and zagged and zigged again in patterns and configurations never seen before. Big retailers did crazy things. Little retailers did crazier things. Vendors searched the world for the next great place to make sheets and towels and ended up right back where they started. Consumers said they were feeling good about things, buying up cars and houses and such at record levels. Then an hour later, not so much.And pretty soon it will all be over ... that is, except for that most wonderful time of ... Read More
  • Blackened Friday

    It's that time of year again folks: Time for my annual rant about Black Friday. As if anyone needed more proof that the use of this term has gotten totally out of hand, let me tell you that it showed up this year on my iPhone calendar app as a national holiday, right there up with St. Swithen's Day and Hamilton Jackson Day ... whatever that is.As you read this, the day after Thanksgiving will have come and gone, but the use of Black Friday as retail-speak for any promotional activity having to do with the Christmas selling ... Read More
  • Comps Schomps

    As you go about your usual yuletide gladding over the next six weeks and try to make some sense of what's going on at retail, let me throw this bah humbug into your eggnog.Comp-store sales numbers are virtually worthless this year and will be so for the foreseeable future.We all know that the monthly sales numbers that retailers have put out since Sears met Roebuck have been the backbone of understanding which retailers are doing well and which ones not so much. It wasn't always precise, but it was the best barometer out there. We also ... Read More
  • Christmas Presence

    With one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, a dysfunctional federal government that is doing an excellent Grinch-that-stole-Christmas imitation and a consumer psyche that just won't quite feel better about things, this holiday shopping season promises to be a doozy.Despite some rosy predictions from the forecasting suits who once again will maintain their perfect track records of always being wrong, the logical thinking is that business will be tough over the final seven weeks of the year.We know online will continue to gain market share. We know more stores will open earlier and earlier during the ... Read More
  • Vast Carelessness

    "They were careless people...they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness...and let other people clean up the mess they had made." I've been reminded of Fitzgerald's words in The Great Gatsby by the continued deterioration of the situations at what were once three of America's great retailing companies: Sears, Kmart and JC Penney.Instead of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, we have two other careless people who have smashed up things as perhaps no other individuals have ever done before in the business of retailing: Edward Lampert ... Read More
  • Ten Things I Learned at Textiles Market

    It's all over but the order-writing - hopefully - and the crying - yes, there's crying in textiles, plenty. So it seems appropriate to break for a moment and take stock of what actually happened two weeks ago in New York City....Or at least what happened to me.1. Business is OK... Really. Maybe it's not insanely great, and it probably never was for most companies in the business. But you just didn't hear the whining and kvetching that usually indicates textiles times are tough. They are not.2. Retailers Rule...and Write the Rules, too. There's ... Read More
  • Attack of the Zombie Market Week

    OK, so it's not a horror movie and there won't be much in the way of blood, gore or guts - at least not in the literal sense - this week at the textiles market in New York City.But any resemblance today of the living dead is not exactly coincidental. Once more, we'll see glazed-over expressions on the faces of the trudging hoards that invade the market buildings and showrooms, nodding in unison and nodding off in the corners. Who are these people, and if the big retailers have so many of them how come you can still ... Read More
  • One Week and Counting

    As the industry scrambles to get showrooms ready, products unpacked and styled for display and people in place for the semi-annual ritual known as New York market week, it will be circumstances far beyond the realm of midtown Manhattan that are likely to have the biggest impact on business next week.These back-stories behind the products tell the real tale of the textiles industry and will ultimately decide how and where business is done over the next year.In conversations around the world and in the build-up to market, a number of issues surfaced that are shaping up as the ... Read More
  • It's still not quite a small world

    There isn't anybody in the home business that will dispute the fact that more and more it is becoming a truly global economy.But nobody said it was going to be easy.As the international industry for home textiles products gathered last week in Shanghai for Intertextile - the biggest Asian trade show for the business - we all need to be reminded that doing business on a global basis is no easy task. Some of the smartest, most sophisticated corporations on the planet have stumbled - even failed - trying to establish business units away from their native countries.Take the situation ... Read More