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Pre-registrations running strong for Las Vegas Market

Officials say furniture industry is preparing for recovery
LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas Market officials say they are seeing the "strongest buyer pre-registration prior to the market in years, a sign that the industry is preparing for recovery."

They didn't disclose registration figures, but said the numbers indicate that retailers are looking forward to a rise in demand for furniture as home sales rebound.

The market opens Monday, Sept. 14, and runs through Thursday, Sept. 17.

"The strong pace of pre-registration for the inaugural September Las Vegas Market shows that our industry is proactively preparing for recovery," said World Market Center President and CEO Bob Maricich. "The enthusiasm and optimism of the buyers and exhibitors we talk to every day indicates to us that we're going to have an upbeat and vibrant market."

He cited some reasons he thinks more buyers are registering:

• The market will feature tens of thousands of new products from its 1,400 exhibitors, 94% of which have said they will introduce goods that will be seen for the first time here. "Manufacturers have geared up at Las Vegas Market with new products, specials and immediate shipments, and are favorably positioned to respond to the opportunity," said Maricich.

• More international resources will be available in Las Vegas than ever before. The number of international manufacturers has nearly doubled since the last show in February, officials said. In addition, a celebration will welcome Latin American market attendees. The Vegas market also has a strategic alliance with the Milan, Italy, furniture fair and next week will host the new Italiano Classico exhibition of Italian manufacturers.

• Las Vegas remains an "extraordinary value" for business travelers with hotel rates at "an all-time low" and airfares also reasonable, market officials said. "People are more value conscious and World Market Center delivers that experience," said Maricich.

• Market seminars feature original content and programming with nearly 50 speakers and programs on tap. The Business Survival Series will focus on making the most of the economic recovery, including an opportunity for one-on-one meetings with loan officers from the U.S. Small Business Association. Events also will highlight design and sustainability, including the return of the One Good Chair competition and the first Icons of Design, honoring 20 extraordinary designers and architects.

• An infusion of new buyers have been secured via the new Rep Rewards program, in which the market rewards sales representatives for bringing buyers to Las Vegas by giving them points good for such perks as meals and hotel accommodations.

• The inaugural National Home Furnishings Month in September, featuring the kickoff of the consumer marketing effort for the industry with the tag line, "Is it Home yet?" The campaign's first event, National Home Furnishings Month, has been created to jump-start retail sales by encouraging consumers to reinvent their homes by adding new home furnishings.

To celebrate the launch, the Brian Setzer Orchestra will rock into town Monday evening with a concert for market attendees.

Attendees can still register for market and reserve discounted rooms online at www.LasVegasMarket.com.

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