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  • Clint Engel

Las Vegas Market buyers looking beyond price

Higher-end goods, bedding head shopping lists

LAS VEGAS - Innovation. Color. Something that appeals to the Millennial generation. Step-up goods that are worth the extra money. And bedding, bedding, bedding.

These are the words and phrases furniture retailers are using to describe their mission at the winter Las Vegas Furniture Market. With many stores reporting continued slow but steady improvements in business, price pressure may be letting up a bit this time around. Instead, many retailers will move to mirror their consumers, who now seem more focused on what they really want rather than how much it's going to cost.

The shopping lists for some are long and loaded with bedding sources, a king-size category here, as well as others suppliers and categories that tend to lead the way in product innovation. Some retailers also will be looking to sources here for a different kind of inspiration - fresh ideas in marketing and display that will make them more effective sellers back home.

San Diego-based Jerome's is coming off of a good 2013 and has seen double-digit same-store sales increases through the first two weeks of January, said Andy Andreotti, vice president of merchandising.

He's here with a long and varied list, looking to step up prices in certain categories, fill out with more promotional goods in others and jump into a new category, too.

Jerome's buys much of its upholstery these days from local producers, so Las Vegas has become a go-to market for the category. Among other things Andreotti will be seeking out new fabric colors and styles and ways to expand at the high end of its price spectrum - sofas for $899 and $999, for example, possibly stretching past its current ceiling to $1,099.

The same kind of higher-end emphasis will be going on in the search for sectionals and leather upholstery with an eye out for better covers and more styling, while in the motion category, Andreotti said he has more space to fill in Jerome's starting prices points.

In casual dining, the retailer will split its attention between the high and low ends of its price range, shopping for new looks in promotional, five-piece dinettes for $299 to $399 as well as better-end casual dining to retail for $899 to $999.

Jeromes's is also looking for an airbed with the kind of adjustable dual chamber story that has made Sleep Number beds such hot sellers in the malls. Boyd Specialty Sleep is on Andreotti's radar here along with one or two other airbed sources Jerome's bedding buyer has identified.

The retailer will be shopping new and existing sources across all categories, he said. That includes case goods, upholstery and bedding importer Primo International, which Jerome's used to sell and, after a meeting earlier this month, is ready to check out again, he said.

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