The Finish Line
At this point, the showroom-oriented market in New York is done. A handful of people have one or two appointments tomorrow. I have a couple myself.
So what were people talking about?
Market dates — Hands down the biggest gripe I heard all week and the subject that was most ubiquitously raised by the people I visited. The August timing is not to the liking of many who addressed the topic. Although the violent thunderstorm early Wednesday morning that crippled the morning commute was atypical, it didn’t help matters. The fact that New York experienced a blizzard in the middle of the February event was noted as a parallel. The HFPA board meets Friday morning. Will its members be moved, or will they stick to their dates, as they did in their post-market meeting six months ago?
Price increases — Inevitable, seems to be feeling, since India and China are now smarting from exchange rates. But as one vendor pointed out, there is an entire generation of buyers that has never experienced a price increase, has no idea increases used to occur periodically in the normal course of business, and has been trained that pricing only moves in one direction: down.
Linens ‘n Things — Concern would be the operative word, and, obviously, nobody wants to see such a large business fail. A worrying piece in the N.Y. Post a couple of weeks ago set some on edge. We’ll have a clearer picture of where things are headed when LNT broadcasts its quarterly conference call with analysts Aug. 14.
Martha at Macy’s — The common response: underwhelmed. However, the word coming from inside Macy’s is to wait until the second and third product flows before passing judgement.
Las Vegas Market — Vegas has now come a-courting. Mark Fraser, the Nevada market’s point man on recruitment, squired a group of home textiles bigs around the market in July and worked the New York showrooms all this week. (Disclosure: Fraser was formerly HTT’s publisher.)
A few suppliers I spoke with expressed sticker shock over what they see as "New York prices" for square footage, although I know more than one West Coast supplier who’d gladly start Living la Vida Vegas. Personally, I think the gravitational pull of Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Linens ‘n Things and TJX’s East Coast headquarters combined with the New York design offices of Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, Sears and Kmart weighs against wholesale relocation anytime soon.
But will we start to see more home textiles suppliers dip a toe in the water via the Vegas temporaries space over the next couple of years. I’d wager yes.