Retailers plan aggressive buying at High Point Market
Better goods on list as economy slowly grows
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, October 19, 2013
HIGH POINT - A drawn-out government shutdown and other negative news is on the minds of retailers shopping the High Point Market, but they say it won't affect their buying plans.
And for the most part, those plans are pretty aggressive, as stores in most areas of the country continue to benefit from the slowly improving economy and a nice uptick in the all-important housing market.
Better business has buyers seeking better goods - step-up upholstery and case goods as well as accents and more unusual items. Some will be looking for a quality and construction story to justify higher-price points while some are looking for more bells and whistles and other wow factors to persuade consumers to open their wallets and spend a little more.
Exhibitors also are likely to see more retailers rebalancing their floors by beefing up their hottest categories, including sectionals and power motion upholstery.
And more than a few are likely to benefit from the trials of Furniture Brands International, as some dealers shop for alternatives to such lines as Thomasville, Broyhill, Lane until the smoke clears on the corporation's future.
"We're going to be looking at a little higher price points this market," said Sam Zavary, president of co-owner of four-store Exclusive Furniture in Houston.
"We've been noticing customers are willing to spend a little more vs. post-2007."
The Exclusive buying team, here for five days, is looking for opportunities to step up in several categories. In upholstery, Zavary said he'll have his eyes peeled for better quality goods, including higher density foams and cushions with two-sided seating.
The promotional to midpriced retailer sells bonded leather upholstery and will continue to do so for the price points, but Zavary wants to offer more top-grain leathers, too. He's also looking for a quality story in case goods, including pieces with nice finishes, he said, and full-extension drawers.
Zavary said that during the first half of this year, Exclusive's top price points in bedroom furniture - groups retailing from $1,799 and up - enjoyed a 21% increase in sales, so it's that end of the business that will get the most attention here.
While July and September were difficult months for the retailer, Zavary said the year has been strong overall and better business is fueling its two-store expansion plan for next year.