Vegas activity strong
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, February 4, 2013
LAS VEGAS - Exhibitors at the Las Vegas Market reported strong attendance, saying retailers arrived in upbeat, buying moods and in numbers they hadn't seen in a few years.
Tim Ussery, Standard Furniture's vice president of sales for corporate accounts, called traffic and the attitude here "fantastic."
"Our customers are very upbeat and eager to see the new items we've brought out here," he said, adding that buyers were responding strongly to many of the company's new contemporary goods.
"We also added domestic entertainment units and also brought out new items in all our other categories, including dining and our imported bedroom," Ussery said, adding, "business is strong across the entire nation."
Stanley Furniture officials said they were pleased with traffic during their first market in Las Vegas. The company had two showrooms on the first floor of Building A, one showcasing product in room settings tailored to lifestyles ranging from coastal to traditional, and a space across the hall devoted to its Portfolio line of entry level priced case goods.
Both drew retailers and designers from around the country, with a strong showing from the West but also as far east as North Carolina, said Adam Tilley, vice president of product.
A number of those customers don't typically shop High Point, so they had not seen the company in years, he said.
Las Vegas Market owner and organizer International Market Centers said during market that by Tuesday, buyer attendance was up 7% and designer attendance increased more than 4% over the previous winter. IMC did not release actual attendance figures.
The uptick in traffic started in many showrooms on Sunday, the eve of the market's official opening. Len Burke, vice president of marketing for Klaussner Home Furnishings, said a number of big retailers were in Las Vegas several days before the official opening.
"There were already a lot of buyers in the building on Sunday," Burke said. "And we had a lot of our heavy hitters come through.
"We're seeing that people are spending more at the retail level because they've put off buying new furniture, and that has encouraged the buyers. There is a lot of pent-up demand, and people are not going out and purchasing the least expensive furniture," Burke added.
Tim Donk, director of marketing and product development for Legends Furniture, was equally upbeat.
"We've been busy since Sunday and it has not let up," he said. "We've seen lots and lots of Top 100 dealers and the order writing is backing up my sense that this has been a particularly strong show."
Donk said that on Tuesday, he and his team arrived at the World Market Center at 7 a.m. to get an early start, "But when we got there, the elevators were already full of retailers anxious to shop."
Legends brought four new domestic bedroom sets and according to Donk, "got ink on the order pad for each of them." Just as successful was a collection of 84-inch low-profile consoles and five new media fireplace units, he added.
Emerald Home Furnishings reported that traffic was up about 10% the first two days of the show. Company officials were pleased with the turnout as well as interest in its new introductions and existing goods that are ready to ship.
"Dealers are wanting to upgrade their assortment with more value," said John Iasiello, vice president of wood products. "We are encouraged 2013 will be a good year.... People are a little more optimistic about the economy."
Jeff Katz, Emerald's vice president of upholstery product, added, "A lot of our retailers are telling us that they've scheduled the most appointments they've ever had. There's definitely increased activity."
John Sandberg, president and CEO of bedroom manufacturer Sandberg Furniture, said dealers' open to buy was good and that order writing was strong, particularly with the approach of tax refund season.
He said retailers "are still looking for values like they do every market," adding that there was more attendance from the Midwest and East Coast than at some previous markets. Sandberg said gains in the housing market in California and Texas continue to help fuel business.
Greg Sicard, vice president of sales and marketing for Best Home Furnishings, pointed to his crowded showroom and said, "There is the story of this market. (Traffic has) been very constant and very strong."
Best showed two new recliner models as well as new swivel seating. Sicard said business has been strong across the country, "not just in isolated pockets."
"Our sense is that business is better, retailers are more optimistic and they are placing orders," he said.
Case goods resource Riverside Furniture's traffic was up about 5% during its first two days at the show. It had strong attendance from majors as well as smaller independents from the East Coast that stopped coming to the show a few years ago.
"We are always optimistic that our numbers will be up, but you never know," said Fred Henjes, President and CEO. "We're pleased."
On Monday, Norwalk Furniture had 220 buying groups come through the showroom, according to Reyna Moore, vice president of marketing and merchandising.
"Now is the right time for us to have signed this lease for the new space," Moore said. "We have our entire West Coast sales force out here. We wanted to develop the Norwalk brand out West and we stuck to our strategy. It's definitely paid off."
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