Business better in Toronto
By Michael J. Knell -- Furniture Today, January 25, 2010
This year appears to be off to a better start than 2009, according to exhibitors at this year's recently concluded Canadian Home Furnishings Market.
Most of them credited Canada's buying groups with not only driving traffic to the show but also for creating a positive environment for order writing.
Cantrex, Mega, Dufresne Retail Solutions and Home helped prevent any significant erosion in attendance, exhibitors said. All four used the market as the platform for launching their 2010 marketing and merchandising programs — a shift from last year, when a number of those meetings were held during the Las Vegas Market.
TCHFM remained an order-writing market, particularly for independent retailers looking for goods to fill their spring and summer promotion calendars. This year, it helped that business at retail across the country appeared to improve during the six to eight weeks leading up to market, which opened at the International Centre here on Jan. 9.
“December's business was really good because if it wasn't, we would have seen a totally different mindset,” said Gilles Pelletier, vice president of sales and marketing for case goods resource South Shore. “(Retailers') inventories seem to be low and so they ordered more than they did last year.”
More than one executive recalled how the floor fell out from under Canadian retailers in late 2008, which led to grim faces and little open-to-buy at the January 2009 market. This year, in contrast, the market's halls buzzed with positive energy and enthusiastic attitudes.
“People are buying,” said Denis Charest, president of case goods specialist Poitras. He said that new products with profit-producing price points were the key demands from retailers here.
“The traffic really wasn't there but the response to the product was good,” said Jason Harris, vice president of sales and marketing for upholstery specialist Stylus. “Orders were written.”
Among the nearly 50 new exhibitors at the market were Magnussen Home (back after a one-year absence), Lane Home Furnishings and Shermag, which reported a warm welcome for its return to Canada's only national market.
“We had a very good show,” said Alex Adimari, Shermag's chief operating officer. “The response from our customers was great and we received a lot of new placements. It was one of the busiest shows I've seen in a few years.”
According to TCHFM President Jean François Michaud, preliminary figures suggest the show's overall attendance will be roughly on par with 2009.