Exhibitors say dealers were here to shop for new and inline goods, although some appetites were tempered by high inventory levels
HIGH POINT — Concerns about a possible retail slowdown combined with Russia’s war against the Ukraine in Eastern Europe didn’t appear to dampen spirits of those showing new product at this week’s Premarket.
In fact the biggest concern seemed to be the ongoing challenges of securing containers to ship goods from the Far East as demand not only is affecting the flow of product, but also the price of containers.
If anything, it felt like a normal pre-covid premarket in terms of dealer attendance and the number of exhibitors open for business. Running from Sunday afternoon through 5 p.m. Tuesday, organizers said there were about 100 dealers in town to see new and inline goods being shown at an estimated 100 showrooms.
Bassett Mirror showcased new product across several key categories, including lamps and mirrors, wall art, occasional and dining tables and dining chairs.
It also showed several new bedroom case pieces such as dressers, chests and nightstands, a new category, where pieces can also double as accents in other rooms. In addition, it has five new servers that also can double as home entertainment pieces in the living room or family room.
“We are offering some pieces that can cross over to different categories,” said Tracy White, director of visual presentation, noting that more is on the way for the April market. “We are excited about those additions.
Youth bedroom resource Donco Trading Company had about nine new samples on the floor, several more than during a typical premarket noted Jake Bumgardner, vice president, sales.
Describing the appetite for new goods as soft among retailers whose warehouses are full of product, he said there are a number of retailers that are simply not open to buy right away.
“We’ve had big guys say ‘unless you are giving it away, we’re not interested.’”
The opportunity, he noted, is among those accounts seeking new vendors, particularly in areas such as youth, where they may have some gaps on the floor.
“If they are shopping, they are shopping for new vendors and new categories,” he said, adding that those dealers that are new to the line “come in here and are wowed … This is all we do, so we have to pride ourselves in the one category we specialize in. We can’t afford to mess up on it.”
Case goods resource Jofran was showing several new items including a new bedroom called East Hampton that’s built off an existing occasional and entertainment wall collection, as well as several new accent chairs and new occasional tables.
Company CEO Joff Roy said that the company saw a mix of larger and mid-sized accounts as early as Saturday. He noted that while the larger customers have large inventory levels and don’t appear to be shopping in large quantities, small to mid-sized retailers have an appetite for product as they have not had a strong or consistent flow of goods of late.
“The larger ones are focused on logistics,” Roy said, noting that many of these larger accounts also “want to re-shore whatever they can and are expanding to Mexico.”
Vaughan-Bassett had one of its smallest introductions in memory, adding one new bed and one new finish to its existing Maple Road collection, part of the solid wood Artisan & Post line.
The limited introduction is allowing the company to get back to a normal stocking position and catch up in terms of its delivery times. The company has made progress in recent months, reaching about $13 million in finished goods inventory up from about $8.5 million in January. It is looking to reach about $16 million in inventory some time in April.
“We are being extremely disciplined in coming out with limited product,” said President Doug Bassett, noting that he expects order backlogs to reach 2.5 weeks, down from about five weeks currently. “It’s all about catching up and delivering more quickly…We are on the verge of that.”
The company, he said, also has lifted its moratorium on taking orders from new accounts, although some of those orders may not ship until May or June.
Case goods resource A-America showed two new dining rooms and three new bedrooms. Four-piece bedrooms are targeted to retail around $2,299, or $2,499 with storage footboards. New dining sets are targeted to retail from $1,199 to $1,999 for a table and four chairs.
The company said it expected around 30 accounts, compared to about 15-18 at a typical premarket, said Christian Rohrbach, vice president, merchandising.
While he noted there have been some order cancellations of late – due to retailers having too much inventory on hand – he said other accounts have shown interest in inline goods.
“I don’t feel like they are looking for new stuff because they are still having healthy sales with inline goods,” he said. “Once there is a slowdown, they will start to look for new.”
Magnussen Home said it began seeing dealers on Friday and Saturday, with more coming in on Sunday. Monday was its busiest day, with dealers coming in not only to see new bedroom dining and occasional in the Magnussen line, but also new products in its new more upscale Thirty One – Twenty One Home line.
Adam Tilley, president of the new Thirty One – Twenty One brand, said that dealers showed interest in the new line and that many said they are looking to return at the April market to see more samples.
“They are 100% engaged,” Tilley said of the interest in various aspects of the line, from the finishes to custom hardware.
Sarreid Ltd. said that while attendance was extremely light compared to some previous Premarkets, it was hopeful more dealers would be in later in the day Monday and throughout Tuesday.
“We have had the marketing machine primed to get Sarreid customers here,” Cates said of various promotional activity, including dealer invites.
He said he is optimistic that the spring market will be strong – despite some global uncertainties – as business remains strong, particularly among designers.
“I think it’s going to be a very good spring market,” he said. “Market is what you make it and our guns are fully loaded. Everything that is coming in new, is coming with stock.”