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Michael Knell

Exhibitors report satisfactory results from TCHFM

TORONTO - While participating exhibitors didn't report that the 2014 edition of the Canadian Home Furnishings Market last month to be the best in its 42-year history, most say they were satisfied with the results and confirmed they intend to keep supporting Canada's only national industry Also seen at TCHFM, the Dominic sofa and Rielle armchair from the Vancouver-based Van Gogh Designs both recreate the glamour-like atmosphere from Hollywood’s golden age.event.
     For several years, exhibitors say attendance by independent furniture, mattress and appliance store owners and buyers has fallen, and 2014 was no exception. Preliminary data from the Quebec Furniture Manufacturers Assn., the owners and operators of TCHFM, suggests attendance by storefront was down about 10% on a year over-year basis. The number of individual buyers declined about 8% while overall attendance (including decorators, designers, store employees and others) was off just over 10%.
     However, about 65% of all storefronts in Canada are still estimated to attend the market. The number of furniture and mattress storefronts has also shrunk considerably since the onset of the recession in 2008.
     Most executives believe market attendance - as it has been for the past several years - was driven by this country's three major buying groups, Cantrex Nationwide, Mega Group and Dufresne Retail Solutions Group. All appeared to have hosted a strong majority of their members in Toronto.
     In number of exhibitors, the 2014 market also was down, with 201 companies participating compared with 235 in 2013 and 337 at the market's peak in 2008. However, there were 46 first-time and returning (after an absence of at least a year) exhibitors, more than in previous years.
     Brentwood Classics launched its first leather upholstery collection, created by Giuliano Ianniciello, a Canadian furniture designer who joined the company last summer.
     "The reaction has been better than expected," reported Diana Sisto, fashion director for the family-owned custom upholstery house, adding she expects a number of her retail partners to floor at least one or two SKUs in the coming weeks.

Also seen at TCHFM, the Dominic sofa and Rielle armchair from the Vancouver-based Van Gogh Designs both recreate the glamour-like atmosphere from Hollywood’s golden age.
Dominic sofa
Canadel explored
Canadel explored a new design aesthetic with the Canadian debut of its Loft collection at this year’s TCHFM. Inspired by old factory spaces that have been converted to residential use, the collection marries solid wood and metal accents to give an industrial accent to a contemporary silhouette.

     Also on the upholstery front, Vancouver, British Columbia based Van Gogh Designs not only renovated and expanded their permanent showroom in the International Centre's SOFA annex but launched the Glen & Jamie Designer Collection, an upholstery group from Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander, Toronto-based interior designers.
Super style Furniture made its first foray into the high-end with Vogue Designs, a four-group collection featuring what Laine Reynolds, vice president of sales, described as "luxurious" deep, down-and-feather blended seats, back and toss cushions, with a suggested opening price point of C$1,400 for a three-seat sofa - substantially higher than the company's core offering.
     While Vogue will be offered in any of the family-owned producer's existing fabric collection, Super style has developed eight coordinated ensembles especially for it. The company has also assembled a collection of accent pieces and leather chairs to complement the group.
     Not to be outdone, case goods producers also took a firm step forward this market.
     Huppé introduced the Union collection, a sharp contemporary bedroom group in birch veneers featuring an Anthracite finish and also available in 15 other hues and tones.
     Casual dining powerhouse Canadel explored a new design aesthetic with the Canadian debut of its Loft collection. Inspired by old factory spaces that have been converted to residential use, the collection marries solid wood and metal accents to give an industrial feel to a contemporary silhouette.
     TCHFM has always been a powerful platform for Canada's mattress makers and 2014 was no exception with several staking out new ground - mainly with the introduction of new and various approaches to hybrid sleep surfaces - in a category that continues to generate better-than-average margins for the independent furniture, mattress and appliance retailer.
     Sealy Canada's latest models wearing the Posture pedic Proback label feature a half-foam, half spring design, with a solid seating edge and a seamless transition that increases the sleep space while adding room for the user to stretch out.
     Safari, from Quebec-based up and-comer Zed bed, is yet another hybrid, using air plus foam to create the maximum amount of ventilation possible, eliminating hot air trapped between the foam layers to create a self-cooling sleep environment, according to the company.
     Rev Sleep, the full-line Canadian mattress maker, added the Body For me collection to its Obus-For me label. The key to this new collection is its ability to support the user's spine in a neutral position for added comfort, officials said. It features three distinct models - one for the side sleeper, one the back sleeper, and a third that supports all-sided sleepers.
     Writing orders remains a strong part of an industry event such as TCHFM. Exhibitors said attending retail buyers placed orders, particularly for new product. However, most executives also cautioned they still expect 2014 to produce modest growth at best, despite the favorable activity experienced during the market.
     Every one of them also said they expect their company will exhibit in 2015.
     "People have been in our space pretty consistently and we're seeing a more and more interest in lifestyle and contemporary," said Jim Sumpter, regional vice president of sales for upholstery specialist England, the only U.S. manufacturer participating in this year's Toronto market. "And I'm planning on coming back next year."
     "We're absolutely delighted with the response we're had," said Brad Geddes, president of added-value resource Zucora, a first-time TCHFM exhibitor. "We're already talking to show management about getting more space next year."
     "For us, this has been a very good show," said David Gélinas, coowner of speciality mattress maker Zed bed. "Most of our current customers came through and we saw a number of new potential partners."
     Derrik Middleton, national sales manager for Woodworks Furniture, echoed those observations, adding that retailers are in the market for goods produced close to home. "Made-in-Canada is really coming back," he said.
     The Canadian Home Furnishings Market is expected to return to the International Centre from Jan. 10 to 13, 2015.

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