After Q1 Chill, NY Now Traffic Fuels Holiday Optimism

NEW YORK— Following what some exhibitors said was a challenging January NY Now market— with the Super Bowl and a snowstorm inhibiting attendee traffic— vendors at last month’s NY Now seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief, as traffic and order writing returned to a more robust level.   

Donna Territo, president of tabletop company Abbiamo Tutto, gave August a “big thumbs up” compared with the January show. “The August show has been significantly better,” she noted. 

“It’s really been busy,” added Ingerid Mohn, president of Sagaform. “The traffic is way up. Retailers are optimistic, 

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continued from page 1 and we hope that bodes well for the holiday season.” 

A strong holiday season is crucial to exhibitors and retailers alike, after both were challenged in the first half of 2014 by inclement weather and a still wavering U.S. economy. With consumers unable to get to stores in many parts of the country as a result of harsh winter conditions, retailers were left carrying inventory well into the first and second quarters, vendors have said, which led to a cautious buying atmosphere at some of the earlier trade shows this year. 

According to Glenn DeStefano, president of Dansk, while it took many retailers a long time, they have finally cleared their inventory from the first half of the year and were at the show to buy. “Overall, this has been a strong show for us,” DeStefano said, adding that it was better than last summer’s NY Now for the company. 

Other exhibitors agreed that retailers on the show floor were writing orders again. Joseph Joseph U.S. president, Don Turano, commented that the company had “a nice injection of orders” at NY Now. 

Some vendors added, however, that orders at this show have been more conservative, as they have been at other summer trade shows such as the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market in June and the International Gift & Home Furnishings Market in Atlanta in July. 

“Retailers are cautious about writing big orders because they don’t want to be stuck with the inventory,” Sean Huang, director/sales at Huang Acrylic, said. 

As a result, exhibitors are preparing for the possibility of reorders that may need quick turnaround as the holidays approach. Many have put protocols in place to ensure available stock that can be shipped quickly when holiday consumer spending reaches its peak. (See page 9 for more on exhibitor inventory management strategies.)

While several long-time NY Now housewares and tabletop exhibitors were notably absent from this year’s August show, the aisles were full in the Tabletop & Gourmet Housewares segment, with “giftable” kitchenware, such as kitchen tools, textiles and wine and bar tools alongside tabletop offerings and serveware designed for entertaining.

Vendors credited updated and new offerings as key to strong ordering from retail customers. Joseph Joseph, for example, introduces a new catalog every spring and fall season, said Damon Willmott, svp/sales for the company. “We have great new products,” he said. “We aren’t just replacing inventory.”

At Core Home, new products in its extensive kitchenware assortment as well as updates to existing lines with bright colors and trending patterns have helped to boost orders at the show this year. 

“Many companies were conservative this year as a reaction to last year’s slower fourth quarter, but we’ve kept our introductions strong and continue to provide excitement,” said Steven Bram, vp at Core Home.

Other exhibitors at NY Now also noted that new offerings were received positively by retailers and helped with order writing. 

“Sales are picking up, and the flood gates have opened,” said Jon Blatchford, CEO of J.K. Adams. “We have some new programs that are now launching and we’re seeing excitement from retailers.” 

NY Now took place from August 16 through August 22 at New York’s Jacob Javits Center and Pier 94.

Additional reporting by Lisa Cowley and Stacey Goldberg