The good news for home textiles exhibitors heading into the New York International Gift Fair/New York Home Textiles Week at mid-month is that luxury shoppers are buying robustly.
Despite the miniscule gains to the overall economy, Master Card Advisors Spending Pulse reported 10 consecutive months of growth for the broad luxury sector. The New York Times heralded the phenomenon last week with the headline: "Even Marked Up, Luxury Goods Fly Off Shelves."
So much for uncertainly...at least at the top of the heap.
Now that the ladies who lunch are hopping onto to waiting lists for $9,000 Chanel coats and dropping big bucks on designer handbags, one hopes they may be ready to spiff up their various homes.
We'll see how suppliers are positioning themselves when the NYIGF gets underway. A preliminary look at new product suggests a firm swing back in the direction of quality - higher raw materials costs not withstanding.
The event is welcoming back several suppliers who sat it out during the worst of the economic downturn as well as several first-timers, perhaps an indication the vendor side of the industry feels the climate is improving in the luxury home sector.
Two years ago, in the teeth of the recession, it was quite a different story, with a number of top-tier home textiles firms introducing "opening price point" luxury goods. Of course, the story coming out of the fall 2010 and winter 2011 markets was that retailers were buying again - but only because they'd been running such lean inventories that they had to.
If retailers buy this time around because they want to, that will be a very good sign indeed.