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Jennifer Marks

Market recap

March 11, 2010

The New York Home Fashions Market winds down today, with a few suppliers reporting an appointment or two tomorrow.

A few bullet points from my notebook:

 “Positive.” The word of the week. Nearly every supplier I spoke with had a healthy slate of appointments. Not one complained of an account failing to show. With retail inventories running low and many 4Q retail financials exceeding expectations, there is open-to-buy again. Manufacturers, forced to tighten up in the face of rock-bottom demand last year, are also lean on inventory, with fewer close-outs available then usual.

Pricing. Cotton prices in January were up 34% compared to a year ago, and with farmers growing less cotton, they’re likely to remain high going foward. This isn’t a blip, say cotton buyers, it’s a reset. Down and feather prices are up 100% or more compared to historic lows in pricing a year ago. Supply is also a severe issue here and not likely to change for a couple of years, according to down and feather customers. Also soaring: poly prices and ocean freight costs. Enough suppliers having started saying “no” to unprofitable business that retailers are beginning to bend on passing along prices, if only on new programs.

7/11. The new outlook for business growth. The generally held view appears to be that the industry won’t see 2007 levels of business (the benchmark) until 2011.

In terms of product:

  • Cotton/poly blends with a more satiny hand than was standard for the old cotton-rich blends.
  • Contemporary looks. Where the last wave of contemporary echoed or updated specific looks from the ’60s and ’70s, today’s contemporary attempts to establish “modern” for a new century. It’s also heavily influencing the interpretation of traditional looks.
  • Speaking of which, if you want to see what 21st Century packaging looks like, Hollander is the showroom to visit.
  • Global influences. They still abound, but are less rigidly tied to one country. They’re also less fussy, more purely distilled.
  • Overscaling. You thought it was big before? It got bigger.

Brands by the boatload. Each market typically brings three to five licensed introductions. Here are the brands unveiled or announced in the past couple of weeks:

  • Arm and Hammer (utility bedding) - London Luxury
  • Alexander Julian (bedding) - AQ Textiles
  • BeautyRest Black (utilty bedding) - Louisville Bedding
  • Carribean Joe (bed, bath, kitchen) - WestPoint
  • Collier Campbell (bedding) - Li & Fung
  • Conde Nast Archives (beach) Home Source Intl 
  • Court  of Versailles (utility bedding) - Hollander
  • Diane von Furstenburg (bed & bath - announced for later debut) Springs
  • Eddie Bauer (utility bedding) - Down Lite
  • Elizabeth Arden (bed and bath) - London Luxury
  • Good Housekeeping (utility bedding) - Down Lite
  • HGTV (bedding and window) -Victorira Classics
  • HGTV (bath accessories) - Ginsey
  • Kate Spade (bed & bath - announced for later introduction) CHF
  • N Natori (bedding and accessories) - JLA 
  • Lenox (bedding) - Suntex
  • Mark Ecko (bed and bath) - CHF
  • Portico (utility bedding) - United Feather & Down
  • Teen Vogue (bedding) - Idea Nouva
  • Vera (bath) - Bardwil 
  • Waterworks (bed & bath - announced for later introduction) Springs