Casual dining traffic up at Las Vegas Market
New product drives retailer traffic
Heath E Combs -- Furniture Today, January 26, 2011
AT THE MARKET - Casual dining vendors this week are reporting better business than at last summer's market here, with a broad array of products catching buyers' eyes.
The consensus is that traffic is up, but dining sources were wondering if that would continue through Wednesday.
While this market hasn't been heavy on new product, companies that had at least some new product reported seeing more retailers. Whether it's a new extendable table group, an upscale look for a not-so-upscale price or a refreshing oak grain pattern on a tabletop, buyers have a plethora of styles to choose from here.
Solid wood source A-America began seeing some dealers as early as Saturday, according to Crystal Nguyen, vice president of merchandising. Entry level product in the containe retail $599 five-piece range is doing well, as is an expandable 132-inch, five piece table group at $899, Nguyen said.
Some dealers are trading up to better looks and price points, such as the Laurelhurst five-piece trestle group with solid North American Red Oak construction, self-storing leaves and table glide system for an $1,199 container retail price, she added.
Buyers are still concerned with lead times on deliveries, she said, and added that they have been responding well to A-America's 500 Cube mixed container program, which gives about a 20% average savings off warehouse pricing.
Powell is doing best in casual dining with its new Flynn group, said David Horvath, vice president of merchandising. The group has oak veneer "four winds" pattern on chair backs, polyurethane seats, and comes in standard or counter height dining.
"I think the industry is really hungry for some new product," Horvath said. "We're not reinventing the wheel ... but we're really happy with how it came out."
Powell is having success in the $699 to $799 price range in casual dining, he said, adding that mixed media groups continue to be popular. The company also has had good response to a new barstool and table program with pneumatic lifts, ABS plastic and chrome steel, price to retail at $69 to $129.
Horvath added that buyers are spending more time in the showroom. Compared with last January, traffic was up about 15% on Monday and 20% on Tuesday, he said.
At Sunny Designs, a new Santa Fe double butterfly table is doing well, said Sunny Hwang, CEO and founder. It's extendable from 60 to 90 inches with cable driven slides, and also has blocks that can be used to adjust the height from 30 inches to 36 inches. Retail is about $1,099 for a five-piece group.
Another well-received group has been the Vineyard solid mahogany table made in Indonesia, which retails with six side chairs and two arm chairs for about $1,899, Hwang said.
At Emerald Home Furnishings, traffic was up by about 20% over both of last year's markets here by Tuesday afternoon, said Michael Cohen, vice president of sales and marketing. He said much of the attention in casual dining has been directed at the company's new Cape Verde group, with zebra wood veneer tops and an upscale look.
At Bermex, Denis Darveau, director of commercial operations, said that big, eye-catching prints in fabrics, whether they are plaids, paisleys or florals, have been extremely popular in upholstered casual dining chairs. That's a big change from a few years ago when plain covers were all the rage, he said.
In casual dining tables and buffets, he added, the company has done well with ash, charcoal and dark gray colors.
Fred Henjes, president at Riverside, said traffic Monday was up about 19% from last market. He said he has seen more independent retailers, who probably need to freshen the look of their sales floors.