AT LAS VEGAS MARKET— Tuesday, January 29, 2013—Winter Las Vegas Market 2013 enthusiastically soared through opening day during the first ‘total home’ market of the year, held January 28-February 1. With the energetic crowds came a home furnishings fervor, as the Winter Las Vegas Market, including Gift+Home, featured more than 1,800 exhibiting companies across 5 million square feet of space in three buildings, including more than 200 new-to-market resources and exhibiting lines. More than 70 of those exhibitors will host ribbon-cutting ceremonies throughout the week.
The 2013 Las Vegas Market welcomed 200 new brands in permanent showrooms and temporary booths spanning every category of total home. Newcomers included: 27 permanent furniture tenants; five powerhouse designer brands in the Las Vegas Design Center; 38 permanent Gift+Home tenants; along with 30 furniture temporaries located on the sold-out floor of B2; and 107 Gift+Home temporaries located on C4 and C5.
Registration and attendance is set to outpace the previous Winter Market, which was at its highest in three years. Pre-registration coming into market week was stronger than in recent years, and by the close of the first day Las Vegas Market, buyer attendance was up 7 percent while designer attendance rose more than 4 percent over last year.
Before doors even opened Monday morning, attendees were already abuzz from the previous night’s event, the WOW Awards. Presented by WithIt (Women’s Leadership Development Network), the event honored women who have made an impact in the growth and future of the home and furnishings industries. Honorees included Kathy Ireland (Kathy Ireland Worldwide, Legacy Award); Peggy Traub (Adesso, Inc., Founders Award); Kim Knopf (Innovative Mattress Solutions, Leadership Award), Cheminne Taylor-Smith (High Point Market Authority, Education Award); Ron Wright, Greg Wright and Don Wright (Wright Global Graphic Solutions, Mentoring Award) and Kiersten Hathcock (Mod Mom Furniture, Future Leader Award).
Robert Maricich, chief executive officer of International Market Centers, was thrilled by the optimism he witnessed time and again throughout opening day, in particular, the tens of thousands of new products, the high attendance numbers and the widespread order writing. He said that this is the best market he’s seen since he began working here in 2008, adding that World Market Center saw 190 building permits to construct or improve showrooms in time for Winter Market. “Optimism is incredible, buyers are buying and the buildings are full. It’s out of the park,” he said.
Maricich attributed the optimism to the improving economy, referred to the upbeat attitude as a “force multiplier.” “We’re getting a multiplication of better business, people playing to win and better buyer attendance,” he said. “The recession is over and now people are behaving like the recession is over. Today, it’s time for people to invest, and when they do, they’re being rewarded by the marketplace.”
Another source of inspiration is fueled by the many trend exhibits and thought leaders on tap this week. As thousands of buyers arrived at World Market Center Las Vegas, they were greeted with a dazzling Emerald City. Emerald is Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year, and Las Vegas Market’s “Road to Emerald,” co-presented with Pantone and Houzz, spotlighted a total home exhibit on the floor of building C, artfully curated with 40 current and future Las Vegas Market tenants.
The morning kicked off with the standing-room-only “First Look,” a biannual tradition that foreshadows some of the exciting trends and top product picks for the week ahead. Celebrity designer and HGTV television host Monica Pedersen and home products/trends editor Julie Smith Vincenti led attendees on a high-speed virtual tour of new products at Market, including products in every category, from furniture to home decor to gifts. They told attendees to keep their eyes peeled for beautiful soft jade and nautical blue tones, mirrored accents, melodramatic shapes and finishes, zigzags and chevron stitches, gilded highlights and other innovative designs. “There is huge energy here,” said Pedersen. “People are hopeful and excited. The product is reflecting that. There is something for everyone.”
Susan Inglis, executive director with the Sustainable Furnishings Council, was particularly impressed with the environmentally conscious products she saw. "Market is fabulous. I’m thrilled with what we are seeing, with the variety of eco-friendly products in all price points and all styles,” said Inglis. “We are getting proof positive at this Market that there is no one way that eco-friendly has to look."
At the new Stanley Furniture showroom, representatives noted their pleasure at the turnout. Ed Tashjian, brand ambassador for Stanley Furniture, which is based in North Carolina, said he’s seeing some great indicators of the economy coming back. “One of the points of optimism is that housing starts have picked up, they were very strong in December. The upper-end market has delayed gratification for the last five years, and they’ve withheld purchases, and now there’s pent-up demand that we’re starting to see,” said Tashjian. Randy Wells, vice president of Stanley Furniture, said he’s been impressed with the early stream of business. “Traffic’s already flowing nicely, and it’s going to be a great week. We saw 200 buyers before noon,” said Wells.
Reyna Moore, vice president marketing and merchandising with Norwalk Furniture, based in Norwalk, Ohio, said that she loved being surrounded by such optimism. “This market is absolutely fabulous. People have been in our showroom since we opened this morning,” she said. “We are seeing a lot of prospects here as well as existing customers coming to refresh their showrooms. We are excited to be in this showroom. We look for a lot of success.”
Bruce Cohenour, senior vice president, sales and merchandising with Bassett Furniture Industries, headquartered in Bassett, Virginia, was impressed with the numbers he was seeing. “Market traffic is strong at Bassett, where our retailers are recognizing us for both fashionable products and also our ability to service their business through our six warehouse locations,” said Cohenour, referring to the Bassett line and the licensed furniture line the company makes for HGTV HOME.
Phil Haney, president and CEO with Lexington Home Brands, who debuted an expanded new showroom on the fifth floor of Building B, "noted that business is besting last year’s numbers. “Market has been fantastic. We got off to a great start this morning," Haney said. “Traffic has been steady all day long. Our measured count is up about 40 percent over a year ago," he said. Lexington is showing all of its lifestyle brands at Las Vegas Market, including the Tommy Bahama outdoor living collection.
Cody Hutcheson, principal with Dallas-based Codarus, said that this was his first time exhibiting at Las Vegas Market, and he was delighted with what he saw. “I can't be more pleased. This is our first time here and we didn't know what to expect, but everyone came to our showroom in a great mood ready to buy,” he said. “One thing I really like about the Las Vegas Market is that it is so new, so clean and so fresh.”
Rick Anderson, president with Tempur-Pedic North America, spoke enthusiastically about the traffic and response. “Overall, we were extremely pleased with the first day of market. Our showroom traffic was definitely up versus last January. Most importantly, the response to our new premium items and, particularly the TEMPUR-Choice Collection was very, very encouraging,” he said.
Debra Venti, director of merchandising with Lazar Furniture Industries, said, "It's been unbelievable. We've been so excited. We had a huge October market in High Point, so it was great to bring product to Las Vegas Market. We've seen a lot of our major dealers. We came off the plane came right in and we've been writing orders. It's been fabulous."
Jackie Moon, owner and president of San Diego-based Next Step Reps said that, as an exhibitor, she’s been thrilled by the first day’s turnout. “We’ve been constantly busy since probably 8:30 this morning. I have three temps and 18 reps and at one point, there was not a single person available to write an order because we have that many people in here. So we’re very happy with what’s going on here,” she said. She added that this is her third time exhibiting at Market and that her appointments have tripled since a year ago.
Lisa Hanly, vice president corporate communications and public relations with St. Louis-based Furniture Brands International, said that she’s seeing a diverse range of buyers at Market. “While we are accustomed to seeing our West Coast retailers at Vegas Market, it’s very encouraging that on day one, we saw retailers from key areas across the United States in all four of our showrooms – Thomasville, Drexel Heritage, Broyhill and Lane,” she said.
Christopher Guy Harrison, CEO with Christopher Guy, has flagship showrooms across the country including a new one at Las Vegas Design Center. He said that he’s been working with Las Vegas casinos for the past 15 years, and he’s optimistic for the economy to improve in 2013. Luci Cremin, president with Christopher Guy, has enjoyed watching Las Vegas Market come into its own over the years. “You feel the interaction already happening between exhibitors and attendees. We are elated to be here because we have seen the World Market Center progressing over the years,” said Cremin. “We see this as an international platform for us and we will be here year round, because we tend to interact strongly with the hospitality community.”
Hank Cravey, CEO with Home Trends & Design, based in Austin, Texas, said that the pace at Market was impressive, particularly for opening day. “I would say there are more buyers this Market, and it seems like they are more eager so far. We are looking forward to a much better market than last time even,” said Cravey. “Las Vegas Market is easy for people to shop and it's easy for us to get in here and set up. There are a lot of options for customers to enjoy the city, as well as have a good market experience. Traffic is busier than usual for a Monday. It's already been heavy the first morning, and we're very happy with that.”
Brian Brigham, director of marketing and public relations for Twin-Star International, which includes the brands Classic Flame, Tresanti and ChimneyFree, said that the vibrancy of Market started even before opening day. “The energy from our successful dealer appreciation event at the Cosmopolitan carried over to an excellent first day of Las Vegas Market,” he said. “We have found our retailers to be upbeat and optimistic; an excellent start at this show, featuring our innovative electric fireplaces, wine cabinets and home office and home entertainment technology.”
At the end of a bustling first day, the temperature seemed to rise as Trop Boom Band spiced up the night with its Latin and salsa sounds during the Market Kick Off Party.
It was a memorable start to a packed week, including targeted speakers, exhibits and events to educate and prepare attendees for a year of growth and opportunity. Other highlights still to come include a special program recognizing Alexa Hampton as the 2013 Design Icon Award recipient, and more than 50 CEU accredited seminars and educational events tailored to the needs of retailers, designers and other Market attendees, exploring topics such as successful ingredients to building a customer-centric culture, current social media best practices, winning visual merchandising and store displays, a trend forecast for the interiors industry and more.
A juried collection of handmade and one-of-a-kind works by more than 15 Las Vegas artists and designers is being showcased, and offered for sale, in a special “18b” temporary installation at the winter GIFT+HOME at Las Vegas Market. This first-of-its-kind partnership between International Market Centers and 18b, a non-profit association representing the Las Vegas Arts District community of artists, designers, and makers, is being presented in a 2,500 square foot showroom at Las Vegas Market, alongside a dynamic collection of home décor suppliers on C3.
This year also brings the launch of the inaugural Gift & Home CEO Summit, January 31-February 1, which, coproduced by International Market Centers (IMC) and Eller Enterprises, brings together more than 100 industry CEOs and leaders, who will hear from the economy experts, such as Robert Reich, former US secretary of labor, and Jon Huntsman Jr., former ambassador to China, as they share tips and insights on the global economy, mergers and sales of companies, the impact of the China economy and Euro crisis, acquisition strategies and more.
The Winter 2013 Las Vegas Market takes place January 28-February 1, 2013.
About Las Vegas Market and International Market Centers, L.P. Las Vegas Market is an international furnishings showcase that combines style, inspiration and productivity in an unrivaled, world-class destination. Situated on World Market Center Las Vegas’ state-of-the-art campus, Las Vegas Market features a comprehensive array of new product from thousands of leading manufacturers and lines in furniture, mattress, lighting, decorative accessories, floor coverings, home textiles and more—delivering Today’s Total Marketplace. Retailers and designers can shop product offerings from trendsetters in all home furnishings categories as well as benefit from complimentary educational, networking and hospitality events. With two markets each year, Las Vegas Market is the only major home furnishings market in the western U.S. offering a unique cross-section of suppliers and buyers spanning the home furnishings, décor and gift industries. For more information, visit www.lasvegasmarket.com.Find us on Facebook and Twitter. World Market Center Las Vegas is a property of International Market Centers, L.P. (IMC), the world’s largest operator of premier showroom space for the furnishings, home décor and gift industries. International Market Centers owns and operates 11.5 million square feet of world-class exhibition space in High Point, N.C. and Las Vegas. IMC’s mission is to build and operate an innovative, sustainable, profitable and scalable platform for the furnishings, home décor and gift industries. For more information on IMC, visit www.imcenters.com.
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