The crowds — and product intros — were back at last week’s High Point Market.
Key takeaways from last week’s fall furniture market
By Alan Wolf, YSN
The sprawling October furniture market in High Point, N.C., concluded last week with generally high marks for innovation, commerce and attendance.
According to preliminary figures reported by Home News Now, attendance was up 8.7% over last year’s show and 5.3% ahead of last April’s spring market, but was still down 15% from pre-pandemic levels. Nonetheless, said Tom Conley, president of the High Point Market Authority, the show’s producer, “The numbers tell us we are recovering from COVID and that we are recovering at a rate that, quite frankly, we didn’t really think would happen.”
Among the throng conducting business was the team from Furniture Technology Source (FTS), led by Home Furnishings General Manager Michael Posa with an assist from Luke Larsen, lead vendor relations manager for furniture. The big takeaway, they reported, is that vendors and distributors appeared to be working diligently to diversify their product lines, maintain or improve the efficiency of their operations and, perhaps most important, build meaningful relationships with retailers.
On the product front, Larsen cited several manufacturers that are entering new categories throughout the home. Klaussner Furniture, for one, introduced three new case goods collections encompassing bedroom, dining and occasional fare. “We want to be a jack of all trades,” VP Ben Radoll told FurnitureToday. “We’re slowly evolving to become whole home.”
Also in expansion mode was Flexsteel Industries, which brought a new, competitively-priced Charisma brand to market in response to inflationary pressures on consumers, the company said. According to FurnitureToday, the line features four stylish groups of quality stationary upholstery with suggested retails starting at $999 for sofas and $2,499 for sectionals.
Likewise, Legends Furniture was on hand with its recently launched Remedy Sleep mattress sub-brand and an extensive assortment that spanned the bedroom and home office, Larsen said.
Related: Luke Larsen Makes the Grade
The new introductions were a welcome change from the last two years, when supply-chain woes put a damper on product launches, he noted. With production snafus easing, made-to-order brands like England, Jackson Catnapper and the aforementioned Flexsteel are inching closer to pre-pandemic lead times, and the industry as a whole is returning to a seasonal footing. “This will allow retailers to manage inventory and consumer expectations more efficiently,” Larson said.
Still, land freight is expected to remain volatile, Larson added, so “expect to see order minimums with vendors to increase cross-category” sales.
AVB’s furniture crew will return to High Point for the 2023 spring market, running April 22-26, and the tentative grand opening of a state-of-the-art FTS showroom.
BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.