Rug vendors optimistic as Atlanta market opens
Thomas Russell -- Furniture Today, January 11, 2013
ATLANTA — Rug vendors expecting a rebound in the economy this year came to this week's market here with aggressive introductions aimed at both broadening distribution and increasing business in the category.
Following a year of ups and downs - marked by a strong first half and in many cases weak second half - many are optimistic for a strong overall year in 2013 thanks in large part to demand for housing and indications that unemployment continues to fall.
Many also reported strong traffic the first day of the Atlanta International Area Rug Market, which began Thursday and runs through Sunday.
"A lot of people are setting their programs for the year and we came out strong with new introductions," said Bryan McIntosh, director of marketing of Dalyn Rug Co., which is launching seven new collections here this week, rather than its usual four to five. "We do hear that people are ready to buy and people have come here with real interest (in new product) at this show."
He said traffic and order writing was strong on the first day of the show.
Cyrus Loloi, a principal at rug resource Loloi Rugs, said his company came to market with 14 new collections, more than usual for a January market.
"Some buyers are placing orders and some will come back," he said, adding that there appears to be some relief in the marketplace because Washington has avoided going off the fiscal cliff for now. "We're always optimistic and we have high expectations."
Orian Rugs reported strong traffic as of late Thursday along with good dealer interest in new additions to its Gallery line, which it targets to furniture retailers including independents and regional chains, a growing market for its domestically made rugs. The introductions run from entry level to upper-end price points, which is also helping to draw interest among a variety of dealers this market, the company said.
The rug show is taking place in conjunction with the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnisings Market, which runs Jan. 9-16.
Four Hands is among the major furniture tenants at the show. It moved from the 11th floor of Building One to a slightly larger space on the fourth floor, an area that has mostly rug vendors. The move has generated more traffic among rug buyers that had not typically visited the company at the show, said Chris Miller, national sales manager.
Traffic and order writing were strong early on, Miller said.
"Year over year orders are up the first two days, so we are very optimistic," he said.
Rug, home textiles and furniture resource Classic Home reported steady traffic the first two days of the show. The company said dealers have been drawn to new furniture and rugs, including a new indoor-outdoor line of flat weave rugs that is made with material resistant to mildew and fading.
"The reaction has been great," said Fernando Ariza, who heads up sales and product development of the rug line.
Based on the strong reaction, he expects the company will be developing more rug designs in the near future beyond the four initial ones shown here this week.