Showtime reflects industry shifts
By Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, 7/15/2002 12:00:00 AM
HIGH POINT, NC —
It was the first fabrics show that truly reflected the seismic change taking place in the business.
Showtime Summer 2002 definitely was more than an event where customers look at fabrics, pick items and go home.
It was not just the economy, but the Chinese equation, the domestic business scene and world events that loomed. And Showtime pointed out the differences between the various distribution channels shopping the show. Furniture seemed significantly slower than home textiles and related areas, including even contract.
"I never felt something in such a state of change as I did last week," said Jack Eger, vp of Craftex and president of International Textile Market Association (ITMA), sponsor of Showtime. "The China factor is impacting everyone's thinking, whether it's jobbers, retailers or manufacturers. They're changing directions and price points, and many don't know why. Many feel their core business is not enough to sustain them. It's not a time for whining anymore; it's a time for tweaking a strategy — if a company has one." That said, Eger reported that Craftex "had more orders than expected and that attendance was about level with last summer."
For Costa Blanca, the home textiles market involvement was particularly strong, said Jack Korngold, vp, marketing. "Attendance was up for us. Word has gotten out about this relatively new company."
The home textiles segment was "surprisingly strong in decorative pillows; and patterns in top-of-bed were well accepted and now are being done in wide width constructions," Korngold noted.
"People are waiting to see something good happen and, knock wood, we will," said Pete Gallagher, senior vp, Robert Allen Group.
Overall, Gallagher reported, "It was a pretty good one. Robert Allen@Home opened doors for us. We hadn't been geared for the different segments before."
Response to new product "was the best ever, and across all product channels," said Larry Liebenow, president of Quaker. "We did a lot of work to broaden our constructions, yarns and novelty looks."
Roger Gilmartin, executive vp, Covington Inds., said, "The mood has been good. No one's been really pessimistic, and most are looking for something different, especially in color and different and unique base cloths."
At the same time, Gilmartin related, "In chenille and microsuedes, it's 'How low can you go?'"
Noting the difference between the home textiles and furniture worlds, Ray King, president of Mastercraft, said, "Home textiles business seems to be good. The attitude is strong, and we're seeing a huge market share increase for wovens. Furniture is a little slow, but people are optimistic about fall."
Surprisingly, said Mark Aizawa, president of Chris Stone, "We had a really exciting market, a really good turnout and actually wrote orders on the spot."
"It's been a zoo, truly wonderful across all home textiles segments," said Bob Woodcock, president of Lanscot-Arlen. "And customers are in a very positive mood."
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