Las Vegas Marketâ€™s RTA Vendors Report â€˜Qualityâ€™ Buyer Attendance
Monday February 20th, 2012 - 2:43PM
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LAS VEGAS— The Las Vegas Winter Market was notable in several regards, not the least of which was the general exhibitor happiness about the quantity and quality of buyers dropping by. The January 30 to February 3 timeframe also witnessed noteworthy announcements including the retirement of Bush Industries CEO Jim Sherbert and the partnering of Whalen Furniture and Hazz Designs.
For the most part, exhibitors rated the attendance, particularly in terms of buyers they expected and wanted to
see, as good to very good, with a couple of fairs thrown in. Lighting buyers were more apt to rate the market fair. However, they just came off what some characterized as an extraordinarily good Dallas lighting show.
Extensions to existing product lines were important at the World Market Center as vendors chased consumer trends by developing products as solutions.
Twin-Star International, Bush and South Shore Furniture all added larger television stands, for example, in Twin-Star’s case, large enough to accommodate 80-inch screens.
Small-space solutions also were critical. Again, Bush pursued the trend with corner desks and workstation consoles that included features such as pullout surfaces and spaces to house printers and other accessories. Bush also offered a Corner Vertical Office in the Kathy Ireland Volcano Dusk group that included two exposed shelves, as the piece is styled and tall enough to house decorative items in a non-dedicated space such as a living room. A flip-down work surface transforms the piece into a workstation. Below and behind louvered frame and door panels is an adjustable shelf. The product comes with a portable mini file box to make it even more practical.
Tasks also were important for Legare, which introduced
a corner desk but also came out for crafters. Its craft desk features shelving that can be positioned underneath or out from the basic frame, providing work surfaces limited to 48 inches but potentially extending to 72 inches.
At Atlantic, in addition to storage carried over from their debut at the Consumer Electronic Show, space became a consideration in a line of folding tables that had a flap beneath for magazine storage.
The expansion of upholstered RTA remains important in the marketplace, so initiatives at Office Star included adding upholstered seating under the Avenue Six label. At Linon, upholstered accent seating got new, higher quality fabrics, and little triangular foot rests in denim to provide a fun accent. Linon added pads to essentially upholster its bench seating and complemented that with a line of rocking chairs, which, potentially, can be offered as matching furnishings. The company matched jewelry armoires and vanities in its Las Vegas showroom, too. Powell also wrapped better fabric around accent chairs, but it also added a line of distressed Indian-style drawer consoles and cabinets out of China.
At Whalen Furniture, a new line of office seating designed for better functionality, and women in particular, launched in collaboration with Tracy and Tom Hazzard of Hazz Design. Among the items featured, the Aubrey Leather Executive and the Madison Cushion Plus Manager chairs reflected the Hazz Design focus on making furnishings work in real life by adding features such as adjustable and swing-up arms, as well as adjustable lumbar support. By providing adjustments and a product scale that can suit a broader range of the population, Hazz, with Whalen, is engaged in what the designer would call Gender Blending. In taking that approach, the companies are responding to a modern workplace where women are not only represented in similar proportions to men but where the purchaser of office products including chairs is usually female.
As Tracy Hazzard put it, “Women buyers do not like to settle for what is offered if it’s not the right solution. We have to have something to sit on. When we find the right solution, the right fit, we tell our friends.”
South Shore emphasized flexibility and consistency, even mounting a presentation on its continual quality improvements, as well as new products including its first line of cribs, which, in this case can, become toddler beds. It also debuted collections such as the mix and match, and appropriately named, Flexible, which incorporates multiple sized head boards and a corresponding range of matching bedroom furniture that consumers can choose from.
For its part, 4D added accent furniture to its lineup in Las Vegas while LumiSource went with Paws, a critter variation on its Hands accent seating. LumiSource also introduced DNA and Helix novelty lamps at a $29.99 pricepoint.
On the décor side, Nova introduced a Danish modern portable lighting collection focused on the 1950s-era version of the style, in addition to metalized ceramic lamps and new items in its Infinity mirrors line, with introductions tending to the rectangular.
Adesso launched table and floor lamps featuring its full-spectrum LED technology. In more traditional LED, the company debuted a pylon-shaped table lamp with a hinge in its body that swings around the top portion task-lamp style. It also brought out a 15-unit collection of pendant lamps that use a Velcro-secured shade fabric that fit the trend to more textures in decorative products.
Pacific Coast Lighting expanded a number of initiatives, adding a French country table lamp into a recently introduced segment of the Kathy Ireland line. The country theme was evident throughout and more rustic under the namesake brand as was the case with the Sleeping Bear table lamp, part of a lodge movement from the supplier.
Key at Propac was textured frames, in both art and mirrors, and stark images, although colorful birds still held on from earlier markets. Linon also rolled out new décor items with metal multi-well mailboxes a focal point.
Dissecting what Ron Johnson got wrong during his brief, calamitous term at the helm of J.C. Penney is sure to be the focal point of retail strategy and tactics lessons for years to come. But Penney’s future could still hinge to some extent on what he got right.