The sleek lines and premium North American leathers featured in the new MW Home collection in Manwah have attracted interest from the top 100 in the Las Vegas market.
LAS VEGAS — Despite the threat of recession and ongoing challenges caused by COVID, as well as inventory resets, many upholstery manufacturers in the Las Vegas Market summer brought new products to their showrooms, adding that they are optimistic about the next six months. and positioning your companies to meet anticipated buyer demand.
“Retailers are here for a reason,” said Jackson Carpenter, president of MW Home, a division of Manwah USA. “I think we’ve turned the corner and the inventory is much more manageable. Retailers are focused on what they really need, not just what they can get.”
MW Home presentations included a top-notch movement group with clean profiles and premium leathers. Carpenter noted that the introductions were very well received by retail customers who noticed the high-end features.
“We dedicated slower production lines to this group, and retailers noticed the attention to comfort and detail. We’re getting credit for using the finest materials: North American leathers that allow for larger panels and fewer seams for a cleaner look.”
The modular design of the new pieces allows for configurations of 26 sizes that fit a variety of spaces, large and small. The group offers about 30 colors, including shades of blue, green and caramel, a customizable collection produced with the efficiency of mass production, Carpenter noted.
“We’re seeing retailers planning for the fall and planning to stock to meet demand rather than sticking with their existing stocks,” he said. “A much larger demographic group than people realize likes these low-cut, sleek looks, and this group ticks all the boxes for visual appeal and comfort for everyone in the family.”
Frederik Winther, vice president of sales for Bellini Modern Living, agreed.
“Buyers who attended the Las Vegas Market this week were serious about advancing their business,” Winther said. “While traffic was obviously light, we saw all the big customers we expected to see, as well as a Top 100 retailer that we currently don’t do business with who asked us to put together a presentation. This was a very positive evolution. Overall, it was clear that shoppers who made the trip were on the lookout for products that would stand out on their floors and excite their customers.
“In terms of the current environment, we remain optimistic and look forward to High Point Market this fall with real excitement,” he continued. “We will be celebrating our 20th anniversary at Bellini Modern Living and are working on several surprises as part of the celebration. As we see the economy changing like everyone else, we believe we are very well positioned because high quality and beautiful design become even more important to consumers in times like these, and the made in Italy label resonates with shoppers.”
New stocks, new traditional
David Koehler, executive vice president of AICO, agreed that retailers are in a reset mode to varying degrees. According to Koehler, AICO’s sales strategy is simply “to help our customers succeed.”
“A lot of retailers are definitely overstocked,” he said. “People bought products during the pandemic to satisfy demand, and some of them weren’t A1 products that they didn’t sell to the end. But when a couple walks into a store and the retailer needs something to inspire them to reach for her purse and pull out her checkbook, that’s when we come into the picture.”
Several collections in the showroom featured AICO’s glam aesthetic, but a significant number of SKUs featured more casual fabrics and less ornate moldings. Many upholstery pieces also sported curved silhouettes, a look that has received a big response from the retailer, Koehler said, noting that big plans are on the horizon for the fall market in High Point, confirmed by CEO Michael Amini.
“We will have a major introduction to High Point Market, the largest upholstery introduction in the company’s history,” said Amini. “We anticipate introducing up to 17 new collections with upholstery, tables and occasional pieces.”
“Our experience at the Las Vegas Market was incredibly positive because retailers are looking to appeal to shoppers now with products beyond traditional furniture, and they know that consumers continue to gravitate towards the health and wellness categories,” said Michael Milone, vice president. president of retail sales and business development. for Infinity massage chairs. “We have written orders with large buyers who have traveled to the market specifically to do business with us, and we have also gained a number of new customers.”
Top picks at Infinity’s showroom included Genesis Max, the company’s high-end massage chair, along with the Smart X3 3D4D chair that offers chiropractic movement that allows the user to change the intensity of the rollers. Prelude, Infinity’s entry-level chair, attracted retailers who were “moving to hedge their bets in this economic environment” with the addition of an entry-level price.
However, Infinity will be introducing a new chair at the High Point Market that comes at the other end of the price spectrum.
“We will be launching a chair in the $10,000 retail range at High Point this fall that will take robotic massage therapy technology to a level the industry has never seen before,” Milone said. “I don’t want to give anything away, but the new model we are introducing embodies the best of our best-selling chairs. While we believe it will be six to eight months before retailers are back up to full speed, we are still on track to double our business this year, and this goes back to the fact that shoppers see massage chairs as more than a piece of furniture. furniture. The pandemic has raised everyone’s awareness of the importance of investing in good health and so this category is well insulated from the downturn.”
On Diamond Sofa, company officials said there have been no notable reductions in demand, adding that “we are well positioned with regard to inventory flow.”
“Both traffic and order writing exceeded our expectations,” said Charles Song of Diamond. “Overall for Diamond Sofa this was a better market than the January winter show.”
Song said retailers had a strong response to “light, airy, neutral colors, textured fabrics and interesting shapes.” Top picks from retailers included the Savannah sofa and chair, the square Cara loungers, the Palm sideboard and the Skyler boucle dining chair paired with the Sonoma table, according to Song, who added that all pieces will also be available at High. Point Market.
“We’ve positioned High Point as a continuation as all of our Summer 22 shows will also be available to a different segment of shoppers that we don’t see in Las Vegas,” he said. “The last few years have served as a valuable learning experience. Closer scrutiny will be placed on inventory with the sudden changes that can occur in regards to demand, shipping, costs. We think it’s essential to take these considerations into account on a daily basis, and we’ve embraced this for our own efficiencies.”
Taking Summer Success to the High Point
The Park Hill Collection showroom at Las Vegas Market was built on the momentum of the traffic the company saw at Atlanta Market, said company president Herren Hickingbotham. In Vegas, Higgenbotham announced that the Park Hill Collection will continue its upward trajectory with a debut at the High Point Market at the International Home Furnishings Center, space C-403.
“Park Hill remains cautiously optimistic about the next 12 to 18 months,” he said. “We have seen an increase in buyer activity in our markets this year and are finding encouraging steady increases as we approach the fall/holiday season.”
Product is still king
In the Moe’s Home Collection showroom, company employees reported a busy market, attributing positive buyer activity to new products and on-trend merchandising.
“The showroom was quite busy!” said Sara Samieian, co-CEO. “Many people already know the brand, and it was great to also meet some new faces in this market. We felt our showroom was looking its best with all the new introductions. Our teams did an amazing job.
“For High Point, we will have a lot more new products, which we are very excited to introduce,” she continued. “Also, in May, we launched our own fair at our Vancouver headquarters, and the next market date for this is September 19-21. This will be the first time customers will be able to see our newest assortment before they even arrive in Las Vegas or High Point. It is also where our customers can work and discuss initiatives directly with our teams, including product development, visuals, logistics and marketing.”
Leigh Kalvelage, key account director at Moe’s, said “dark, rich, oily woods” were a big hit with buyers, as seen in the company’s blackened oak dining table and Post bench and solid walnut frame in the Asta and Harlowe sun loungers.
“Also is the sculptural fascination of ancient forms, one of our key design directions this year, as well as the subtle but meaningful inclusion of splashes of color,” said Kalvelage.
Closing the cycle
Several upholstery manufacturers interviewed on the Las Vegas Market said issues such as rising interest rates, changes in financing guidelines and cautious consumers with fewer discretionary dollars will no doubt affect 2022 sales. However, despite the unpredictability of current market conditions, many remain optimistic about the category’s growth.
“In today’s environment, consumers expect and are used to paying higher prices for tickets,” said Carpenter. “We have to help our retailers facing deflationary prices keep ticket prices higher.”
Koehler suggests that retailers also consider adding new categories to their product inventory, pointing to Michael Amini’s Sheer Waves lighting collection as an example.
“A chandelier is lighting, but also a beautiful work of art,” he said. “Retailers can maximize their square footage by adding products to their ceilings, walls and floors. It’s a way to add more dollars per square foot to revenue sales.”