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Occasional sources eye market as omen for year

Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, January 28, 2013

LAS VEGAS — For occasional and accent suppliers, this week's Las Vegas Market should be a good indicator of business to come in 2013.

Coming out of an election year and a partial resolution to the "fiscal cliff," many suppliers are hoping that the show will be a good omen for the year.

In product design, industrial influences continue to be hot as are bright colors and faux reptile wraps. Hall consoles are big for Powell, while Twin-Star offers tech features to lure buyers.

Powell is showing 26 new accent pieces in Las Vegas. Twelve accent seating items will retail from $99 to $299. The Bombay Heritage line adds seven accent seating products ranging from $99 to $299.

John Conrad, senior vice president of merchandising at Powell, said acceptance of lighter finishes continues to grow. He said today's consumers also like eclectic looks in their homes, and it will be interesting to see what happens with the jewel tones trend in finishes and fabrics.

"Did you think emerald was going to be a hot color? But here we are. It's a jewel tone and jewel tones are starting to come back. We saw some of that at the fabric show a couple weeks ago," Conrad said.

Layered finishes and rustic and reclaimed styles continue to sell well, as do bright, exotic looks that Indian furniture is known for.

"Plain and simple, it sold at retail. I think everybody in the industry is seeing that trend happening and is on it," he said.

"I don't know how long that trend's going to last. But then you'll start seeing variations on that as it trends out and other things come forward. I know that the last couple of markets it was strong and it seems to be that way now too."

In accents, Conrad said pieces made for small spaces that offer creative storage options are doing well. Hall consoles also continue to be a hot seller for Powell, he said.

At Butler Specialty, intros range from retro styles to pieces featuring exotic woods, antique finished mirror inlays or embossed faux crocodile leather tops.

In Las Vegas, the company will continue efforts to show how easy its line can drop ship for online retailers. All of the company's line is drop shippable, said Monty Sihweil, executive vice president of sales.

"The e-commerce segment is a huge segment of our overall business. In the last four to five years, I've made a concerted effort to grow that segment again by doing things that are geared to the needs of Internet retailers," Sihweil said.

He said that the Las Vegas show tends to better attended by online retailers than High Point. Many of the items Butler will show in Las Vegas will be small parcel items and bestsellers.

"When an Internet retailer walks in they recognize this is a company that not only talks the talk but walks the walk," Sihweil said.

Among Twin-Star International's introductions are contemporary pieces with tech-savvy features, mantels with high-gloss white and engineered zebrawood veneer finishes, and dual zone thermoelectric wine cabinets.
"Our feeling is attendance is going to be high. The retailers I'm talking to, their business is booming," said Bill Caples, vice president sales and marketing at Twin-Star.

Caples said he expects heavy attendance from major retailers, and said their inventories may be down. Through his recent cold and snowy travels in the Midwest, Caples said decorative accessory heating products could sell better during a 2013 winter that has been colder thus far in much of the country, compared with a mild winter last year.

He added that coming out of the election cycle and after recent resolutions to tax and fiscal issues at the federal level, retailers are cautiously optimistic.

Coast to Coast Imports will offer its 100 High Point introductions in Las Vegas and an additional 70 new introductions in its three brands - Coast to Coast Accents, Accents by Andy Stein and the Jadu Collection.

Industrial cart consoles and media pieces from India are hot at retail, as are painted accents in bold solids and colors like red and sky blue, said Andy Stein, CEO.

At Standard Furniture, occasional introductions feature style influences including industrial and Mission, with features such as smoked and beveled mirror tiling and faux crocodile wrapping.

The company continues to do well with mirrored groups and faux reptiling, said Debbie Dilbeck, sales and merchandising assistant.

"Ornate traditional has been good for us the last couple of markets and we have a couple of those as well this market," Dilbeck said. 

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