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Home Alone 3

Warren Shoulberg, editorial director for HTT, always seems to have something to say about things.
  • The Next Not Thing

    Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when everyone walks around at shows and says there’s nothing really new this season. At the housewares show this week in Chicago (and later in the month at textiles in New York) you will no doubt hear reasonably sane and semi-smart people lamenting the lack of big new product trends. To which I gladly respond: Is this your first rodeo? How many shows have we all been to where we said nothing was new, only for the latest, greatest thing to show up on retail shelves six months later ... Read More
  • Home Tech Home

    If there was ever a moment for the home furnishings industry to take its turn in the technical spotlight this is it.Coming out of the huge Consumer Electronic Show last month, the talk was no longer about hi-def, 3D or how big your screen was.Instead everyone was talking about wearable tech and the Internet of Things.... two trends that play perfectly into the hands of the home textiles and housewares industries.The wearable tech talk had to do with devices you could put on your body - on your wrists, your head or various points in between - that would ... Read More
  • The Haves and the Have-Nots

    If you mentioned the phrase "supply chain management" to most people a decade or two ago, they would have told you it had to do with S&M or something along those lines.But these days, everyone knows the term...even if not everybody gets how important it has become to running a successful business.Let's face it, most suppliers can come up with a pretty nicely designed product and even more will match just about any price a retailer throws at them just to get the business.But it's the execution of getting those products from the ... Read More
  • 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