Gift show sparks retail reaction
By Andrea Lillo -- Home Textiles Today, 1/28/2002 12:00:00 AM
NEW YORK —
With 2001 now history, luxury manufacturers look forward to what they believe will be a better year, with signs of improvement already evident.
At the New York Gift Show last week, several manufacturers said that retailers have ramped up their buying efforts.
The worst is over, said Marty Dollenmaier, vp, Anichini. "The recession has almost bottomed out, and the economy will begin to improve slowly. We've seen the worst of the layoffs. At the upper end of the market, the impact is less and less every month."
Ann Gish of Ann Gish agreed: "I know there are economic problems, but people still buy for the bed — it's the safest place to be in the whole world." Gish said that her company was impacted more by the crash of textiles stocks last spring rather than the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, but she added that everything is slowly restabilizing itself.
The fourth quarter is usually the strongest one for bedding for 120% Lino Casa/Nancy Koltes. However, this time "stores were very cautious," said Nancy Koltes, and so fourth quarter sales took a hit. But now the market looks better, she said. Stores are ready to replenish existing inventories, she said.
"Christmas was strong for a lot of stores," Koltes added. "And they weren't expecting that. The year ended positively for some."
Karen Carpenter, vp, DJC Design Studio, agreed: "People had a better holiday than they thought. Now they need new merchandise in the stores. I've gotten a lot of as-soon-as-possible orders."
Matouk has also had a positive response at the recent gift shows, said Lois Keiner, design director, John Matouk & Company. "Between the Atlanta Gift Show and this one, things are definitely turning around. People need goods for spring," she said.
"It's not gloom and doom," said Matthew Lenoci, president, Matteo, who added that this January was the company's biggest in terms of shipping goods. "We remain pretty bullish about the year."
"People are serious about buying,, and they want merchandise immediately," said Edie Roberts, of Roberts Domond. Besides the economy, last year was impacted because buyers weren't attending shows.
Katie Johnson-Hill, vp of U.S. operations for rug manufacturer Habidecor, said, "We had a terrific year last year, and expect this one to be better."
High-end place mat company Sybaritic Industries is also optimistic. "We're holding our own," said Ardith Myerson, president. And though many took a hit after Sept. 11, "the stores we deal with are doing well, and we're a part of that."
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