Finding the "Hot" Spots
Carole Sloan -- Furniture Today, October 26, 2010
AS WE MOVE INTO YET another market for home textiles suppliers - and retailers as well - it's time to look around the landscape and identify where some of the "hot spots" are.
One hot spot most frequently mentioned is the hospitality segment - an area that took an almost lethal nosedive over the past year or so. Now it seems this segment's recovery - no matter how tentative it might be - is impacting the balance of the home furnishings business - and the various elements of the textiles sector in particular.
"The recent resurgence in the hospitality segment is creating new approaches not just to that area, but to the way business is being done across the board in the home arena."
From a personal vantage point - as well as anecdotal reporting by market observers -we also had an unusual amount of off-shore retailers walking the halls during that week. They were almost universally identifiable first by the sheer numbers of each group - and of course, the language challenges. Often I was a tour guide for a building - or at least the answer to "how do I find so and so."
The recent resurgence in the hospitality segment is creating new approaches not just to that area, but to the way business is being done across the board in the home arena.
Hospitality's resurgence will have an impact on the spring 2011 home fashions tying up supply chain availability combined with the Chinese New Year and its attendant complications. Whether folks in the basic home textiles world have factored these elements into their game plans for 2011 is yet another issue facing this business.
In the aftermath if the recent home fashions market week here in New York, there seems to be a change in attitude at the highest executive level of key retailers. It was fascinating to see a team of major senior executives from XYZ retailer going from showroom to showroom during that time frame, looking at product, listening to positives and negatives about their companies, and hopefully, planning to take action. Bottom line is at least they were present - and hopefully really listening.
And a couple of key players sent high-level executives to visit one-on-one with key suppliers - perhaps a more effective way to dig to the bottom of any problems or potential challenges that could impede their growth.
Besides these small steps forward, there seems to be some recognition that product has to meet with the new times. Today's customer is vastly different from the likes of you and me. And this market must change to survive. It's a time of interesting challenges ahead.
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