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Traffic steady in furniture showrooms at Atlanta market

ATLANTA — Furniture vendors showing at the Jan. 9-16 Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market said a steady flow of traffic and interest in their lines helped provide a jump start to a year in which they are hoping for sustained sales and growth.

Exhibitors said traffic was mostly from designers and small specialty furniture, accent and gift stores in the Southeast. But some saw larger accounts, including regional multi-store retailers from other parts of the country including the Northeast and Midwest.

Click here to see a slideshow of photos of Atlanta showrooms.

Accent and occasional furniture specialist Stein World was pleased with traffic and response to its line. The company was showing here for the first time and said it saw new customers from states including Iowa, Kansas, Idaho and Texas.

"It's going better than we thought," said Steve Kosmalski, president and CEO, who said traffic included buyers from boutique stores that carry accent furniture. "We are getting people that are aware of us, but that don't go to Las Vegas or High Point."

Avenue B, which also specializes in accent furniture, expanded its Americasmart showroom here to a second location across the hall from its main space. This allowed it to showcase all of the SKUs in its line, said Greg Waylock, president of the company's U.S. sales territory.

"We are pleasantly surprised with traffic here, and people are stepping up with orders," he said, noting that customers were seeking larger quantities versus just one or two items. "They weren't doing that the last couple of markets. They were more conservative ... and now they are taking more of an inventory risk."

He attributed this to improvements in the economy, including a good holiday selling season in which some dealers were a little light on inventory.

Halo Styles, which specializes in case goods and accent furniture made with reclaimed or repurposed woods, showed some of its best sellers but also about a half dozen new pieces, including upholstered dining chairs and a new line of new wall clocks.

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