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Cecile Corral

High hopes for 2010

January 6, 2010

I just wrapped up my piece of what is probably one of the most heavily read – and most involved – special reports HTT compiles annually: the Top 15 Suppliers and Top 5 supplier lists. (To be featured in our issue on Monday)

 

And I’ve got to say, I’m slightly encouraged with the overall results – at least from the companies and product categories I cover, which includes rugs, bath coordinate pieces, dec pillows, kitchen textiles and table linens.

 

The project has many moving components, requiring me to gather data from many different sources. So I always begin my reporting on Thanksgiving week to get an early start. For me, as sure as there will be turkey (and Cuban black beans and yuca, in our family’s version here in Miami) at the end of November, so will there also be the launch of my annual Top 15/5 reporting for that year.

 

I braced myself. I was sadly expecting many of the companies I cover to report some significant sales declines compared to 2008. We all know how hard the recession has hit the country – personally and professionally.

 

But this long project has proved a not-so-disappointing one in terms of the numbers. As one of my closer sources noted to me this week in friendly conversation, “2009 was actually so much better that I expected it to be. We’re really glad with the way we turned out.” He and his family celebrated with an end-of-the-year trip to “the islands,” which sounded great – regardless of which islands those might be.

 

Here’s what I found:

–Flat sales over 2008 was common. Not bad for 2009.

–Declines varied, but for the most part kept under double-digit standards. Again, could have been worse.

 

Demand for lower price point products helped many companies turn product quickly, but often put a damper on sales. But let’s be thankful there was some consumer demand out there, churning even if just a bit of business.

 

As my island-bound friend buoyantly told me before ending on our chat, “I feel really optimistic about 2010 and about how it will go for the home textiles category.”

 

Me, too. Maybe I’ll be making it to “the islands” next December as well. Even though I must admit I already live in my own paradise down here in Miami.