- Seven Percent More Buying Units and 23 Percent More International Buyers Attend
- Nearly Half-Million Square Feet in New and Expanded Showrooms
- Keynote Address by President Bill Clinton Scores High Marks Among Market-goers
LAS VEGAS – (August 11, 2011) Tens of thousands of home furnishings industry professionals around the world turned to Las Vegas Market, held Aug. 1-5, to plug into the latest products, trends and business insights in an effort to boost their bottom line for the second half of the year. According to scores of market exhibitors—with nearly 200 companies showing at Las Vegas Market for the first time—an aggressive approach to new product introductions and show specials drove better-than-expected orders throughout the five-day show.
A surge in buyer attendance at the recent Las Vegas Market delivered the strongest Summer Market in three consecutive years—up seven percent in total retail stores and up three percent in individual buyers and designers when compared to a year ago. The number of buying groups in attendance doubled with a significant number of buyers attending Las Vegas Market for the first time.
Moreover, international buyer attendance was up 23 percent over a year ago, with particular growth in Latin American countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela and Panama. Additional international outreach efforts, aimed at hosting large overseas buying delegations, further boosted attendance and translated into strong order-writing for Las Vegas Market exhibitors. In all, 95 countries were represented at Las Vegas Market and more than half of these international buyers and designers were first-time attendees.
“Despite continued economic challenges, we are pleased to hold our strongest, best-attended Summer Market in three years,” said Robert Maricich, chief executive officer of International Market Center, parent company of World Market Center Las Vegas. “Las Vegas Market continues to establish itself as a must-attend event for our industry, year after year, drawing new-to-market suppliers and buyers from around the globe.”
Maricich added, “Our growth in new resources at the recent market, coupled with compelling events, plus the number of new products and specials we’re seeing throughout the showrooms has enhanced the value proposition for buyers to attend. Summer Market is a terrific vehicle for smart retailers to impact their fourth quarters with new product and exciting merchandising strategies.”
Nearly Half-Million Square Feet in New Exhibitors and Renewals Drive More Buyers to August Market; Tenants Report Strong Traffic and Order Writing
Delivering this uptick in buyers is a result of recent success in leasing efforts and the combined outreach of the showrooms. In total, World Market Center signed 440,000 square feet of new and renewed space in the first half of the year. These new showrooms joined the 1,300-plus exhibitors at Summer 2011 Las Vegas Market comprised of leading suppliers in home furnishings and accessories, outdoor and juvenile furnishings as well as top gift and décor lines.
In particular, there were 40 new and extended leases among the furniture and mattress category alone, totaling 280,000 square feet of space. These furniture showrooms include Ashley Furniture, Fashion Bed Group, Man Wah USA/Cheers, Boyd Specialty Sleep, Ekornes and dozens more. In addition, August Market was a first for upper-end Las Vegas Design Center showrooms, Veneman Collections, Plume, Kalco Lighting, Studio A, Karastan Rugs and Ergo Bedroom. In the temporaries, Las Vegas Market featured 156 new-to-market exhibitors spread across floors B2, C4 and C5.
“These new signings, expansions and renewals signal the value of World Market Center’s platform across all of the sectors we serve. These companies see the benefit of building their brand, reaching new buyers, and achieving success in the marketplace with International Market Centers as their long term partner,” Maricich added.
Manufacturers were pleased with the amount of traffic they were seeing on Market’s opening day and used the August Market to showcase many new introductions.
“Retailers are cautiously optimistic that sales will continue to rise,” said Kerry Lebensburger, president of sales for Ashley Furniture. “Our opening day traffic has been very strong. Two huge categories for us this Market include our Youth Program and Furnish 123. All of our 425 home stores are in attendance. It’s a big year for us.”
Chris Miller, national sales manager for Four Hands had one word to describe this summer’s Market, “Fantastic.” He continued, “We’ve seen a lot of major customers and a lot of new customers who have never shopped with us before. The majority of showroom visitors are buying. Market seems to be more serious than in the past which is extremely encouraging.”
“The Market is exceeding our expectations,” said Phil Haney, president and CEO of Lexington Home Brands. “We were busy since 8:00 a.m. when we opened our doors, and traffic is up more than eight percent. As expected, our new collection – Mirage – designed for and unveiled at the Las Vegas Market, is getting rave reviews.”
“The first day of Market has been fantastic; really strong traffic and orders,” said David Gebhart, president and CEO of Global Views. “If it’s an indication, we were serving cocktails by 10 a.m. Compared to January Market, the feel is very similar. I haven’t slowed down long enough to look at our numbers, but we’ve had buyers from all over the country and internationally.”
“It’s been a good day for us,” said Hao Dang, a first time exhibitor and owner of Vietnam-based grass co., a manufacturer of eco-friendly bamboo outdoor furnishings. “People are coming here and are really looking for new things. [The home furnishings industry] is rebounding. Our order book is very good and we’re very happy with our first time at this show.”
Inga Folta-Mnich, a sales representative for FiveTimesOne, which sells unique high-end pillows designed to look like rocks, echoed Dang saying, “We have a few orders already so we’re pretty happy.”
She added that while some buyers are still being cautious, others are coming to market to spend.
“There are two groups of buyers,” she said. “There are ones looking for less expensive [product] and then the others who are looking for high-end products like we sell and are willing to spend. There is no middle ground. That is what I noticed today.”
Attendees Glean Insights from Former U.S. President and Today’s Top Taste Makers Discover Hot Products Across Market
Las Vegas Market offered true thought leadership for today’s business-minded home furnishings professionals. Attendees had the unique opportunity to gain insight from a variety of educational programming, including President Bill Clinton, who provided the keynote address Tuesday evening, co-sponsored by the iComfort by Serta. A rapt audience of more than 10,000 Las Vegas Market attendees packed into the World Pavilions on the World Market Center Las Vegas campus to hear the words of the former world leader.
President Clinton, who has become a global ambassador for good through his many world-wide initiatives, public-private partnerships and foundations, spoke on globalization, the importance of charitable giving, and also provided relevant insight into the world marketplace from his perspective. Following his speech, he answered questions highly topical to the furnishings industry, sharing his views on the housing market, the anti-dumping debate as well as issues related to sustainable furniture and wood sourcing.
When speaking on a personal recent home furnishings purchase, the former president joked that that “thanks to my wife – and not because she’s Secretary of State, but because she’s a homeowner – we single-handedly tried to compensate for the recession in home furnishings this year. We did our very best to offset it.”
On the new product frontier, attendees also enjoyed “First Look,” a biannual tradition highlighting trends and new product picks for Market. Celebrity designer Monica Pedersen of HGTV and home products/trends editor Julie Smith Vincenti guided a visually stunning virtual tour of new introductions at market. Together, they showcased a number of must-have items to be found in Market showrooms, highlighting up-and-coming trends such as a recent departure from opulence and excess, use of Mid-Century-Modern accessories, and a movement for uniquely designed seating.
Growing in popularity, Ahead of the Curve, moderated by style guru and “Today” show contributor Susanna Salk, featured three of the nation’s most celebrated interior designers— Anthony Baratta, Jeffrey Alan Marks and Nathan Turner—who shopped five-million-square-feet of showrooms to uncover what will become next season’s most popular trends. The program which can be viewed on Las Vegas Market’s YouTube channel featured a live in-studio audience and webcast viewers from around the globe, gave the world a chance to watch top design stars reveal their favorite discoveries at Las Vegas Market.
Buyers were equally enthusiastic as they sought out what’s new across Las Vegas Market.
“Most of our suppliers are here and I found some new resources in upholstery and accent. Las Vegas is easy to shop and we saw loads of new products especially in mattress,” said Steve Riley, GMM of Nebraska Furniture Mart.
“We attend almost every Vegas Market, and like we always do, found (and bought) a lot of new, exciting furniture and accessories. Combine that with luxurious hotel rooms at motel prices, and sumptuous cuisine, I’d say it was a successful market week,” said Jeff Selik, President of Hillside Furniture.
For more information on Las Vegas Market, visit www.lasvegasmarket.com.