Las Vegas Market sets encouraging tone to start the year
Furniture resources in both upholstery and case goods came to the Winter Las Vegas Market with high hopes and expectations, despite headwinds that include a slowdown in consumer spending and concerns about the economy in general.
For many exhibitors, those high expectations were met or exceeded in terms of attendance and written business at the show, as retailers came back in droves that many said appeared to match pre-pandemic traffic in January 2020.
Leather Italia reported a record number of market appointments, up 30% from what it normally expects for a winter show. Like others interviewed for this story, the company said market attendees were in Las Vegas to buy — and not just fill any spot they could with available inventory.
“People are past inventory issues, so they can make marketing decisions and not decisions based on inventory,” said Marshall Evans III, senior manager at Leather Italia USA, noting that retailer interest was strong for the company’s new products, which included 10 new upholstery frames, including sofas and chairs.
Southern Motion also reported strong attendance in its showroom and interest in new pieces in its Fusion line, including two sofa loveseat groups and two sofa sectional groups. Like other products in the line, these are available at pre-pandemic lead times of about four weeks.
Jim Anthony, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Southern Motion, said retailers are interested in buying, not just because of the lower lead times, but because of the opportunity to pick and choose what they really want for their floors.
“We’re excited about the conversations we are having and the momentum we are seeing,” he said, noting that the company doesn’t typically show a lot of new products in Las Vegas but was pleased with the early response to its new goods nonetheless. “We are excited about what’s happening at retail. Inventories are coming down and there are new opportunities for placements.”
Hooker Furnishings showcased a broad assortment of products from its Hooker Furniture imported case goods and upholstery lines, and its domestic Sam Moore and Bradington-Young upholstery lines. A vignette at the front of its showroom highlighted the upholstery, along with its Mountain Modern collection and some accent pieces from its Commerce & Market collection. While some of the aesthetic was geared toward West Coast tastes, there were plenty of styles to choose from that reflect the company’s broad design palette.
“Everything that is shown in here we can ship tomorrow. That is one of the nice things about this market is that it’s available now,” said Matt Cowan, executive vice president of sales at Hooker Furnishings, noting that product is available container direct and from its domestic warehouses in Martinsville, Virginia, and Savannah, Georgia.
Amini Innovation Corp. also showed a large mix of its full-line assortment, from bedroom and dining collections to upholstery, accents and lighting.
“We were very pleased with the attendance we had in Las Vegas and the strong response to our large introduction of merchandise being shown in Las Vegas for the first time,” said AICO President David Koehler. “A common thread in many of our customer conversations in Las Vegas was the desire for innovative goods and an appetite for fresh, new merchandise for their floors. Despite some economic headwinds, we feel there is ample opportunity with our vast product offering to help our customers be successful and acquire additional market share.”
Parker House also was able to showcase most of its whole-home assortment in a new 44,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by New Classic in World Market Center’s Building A. In addition to stationary upholstery, it showcased its motion line, including a large number of recliners and lift chairs built on its bestselling chair frames.
The company also featured a wide mix of bedroom, dining and occasional furniture, including new bedroom pieces added to its Pure Modern and Americana Modern collections and new dining room pieces for its Pure Modern, Lodge and Sundance collections.
“We’re happy we can show our full wood collections,” said Marietta Willey, vice president of product development and merchandising, noting that many retailers that don’t attend the High Point Market were seeing them for the first time in Las Vegas. “For our Las Vegas customers, this is like a brand-new market.”
The show also was an opportunity for buyers to find new upholstery lines to replace goods they purchased from United and Lane, which closed in late November, not to mention replacement Broyhill product built in former Lane plants.
Man Wah, for example, showcased several upholstery groups featuring styles and price points similar to those offered in the Lane line. While the Lane product is largely below its price point, Flexsteel also is making available some of its Mexico capacity for Broyhill, which is sold at Big Lots.
“Lane had five plants that built Broyhill,” Flexsteel President and CEO Jerry Dittmer told Home News Now. “We have capacity in Juarez and are pretty excited with where we can go with it. We said, ‘We will help with the Broyhill product.’” The company also said it was pleased to be returning to the Las Vegas Market with its first permanent space in a few years.
“We are really excited about the traffic,” said David Crimmins, vice president, sales and product, who said before market the show opened Jan. 29 that the company was expecting about 240 accounts in its first few days and even more drop-ins. “The customers have responded positively. … They are buying.”
Tim Donk, vice president of product at Legends Furniture, said traffic had reached pre-pandemic levels, with nearly 300 accounts in the company’s showroom as of Monday, three days before the show ended on Feb. 2
Donk said customers also were placing orders, a shift from six months ago when many weren’t because they were overstocked with merchandise. “They are buying,” he said. “We are writing more than we expected.”