Las Vegas Market’s Housewares C11 Showrooms Building Momentum

Housewares vendors at the summer Las Vegas Market reported active order writing by independent housewares and gift retailers seeking to round out their holiday assortments.

Retail traffic in C11, where most housewares lines at the market reside in rep and shared showrooms, and inside the temporary exhibit pavilions at the World Market Center complex picked up as the show advanced.

“Traffic is great,” said Cathy Ayers, national sales manager for WellnessMats, whose ant-fatigue mats were presented in a shared showroom on C11. “It’s only the second day, and we’ve already surpassed last summer.”

Officials from barware and wine accessory specialist True Brands and cast iron cookware maker Finex said retail activity inside the pavilions also picked up by the second day of the market.

Dorothy Belshaw, president of gift (including housewares and tabletop) at Las Vegas Market operator International Market Centers, said the latest market presented more than 500 housewares and affiliated lines, most in rep showrooms on C11.

“If you represent that category, you should be on C11,” said Belshaw, noting the continuing crossover of gift and housewares by specialty retailers shopping Las Vegas Market with an eye toward creating more diverse lifestyle assortments. “If you don’t represent housewares, you should look at it,” Belshaw said. “It is a burgeoning gift category.”

Las Vegas Market organizers emphasized the market’s expansion as a business-to-business hub for furniture, décor, gift and home goods serving the Western region of the country.

“Retailers tells us they want a dominant west coast market,” said Bob Maricich, CEO of International Market Centers.

Maricich told a gathering of media during the recent Las Vegas Market that the market’s strong growth and prospects contributed to the recent agreement for a group led by Blackstone to acquire IMC, which also operates showrooms in High Point, NC, from Bain Capital and Oaktree Capital Management.

Maricich said construction of a fourth showroom and exhibit building at the World Market Center Las Vegas complex is among the options that could be explored when Blackstone completes the IMC acquisition.

“There is plenty of runway here in a lot of our verticals for another building,” Maricich said. Such an expansion wouldn’t begin without full occupancy inside the current World Market Center complex and a strong pre-leasing commitment for the fourth building, Maricich said. He said the three World Market Center buildings are nearly 90% occupied and on pace to be full by the end of 2018.

A new building, already designed as part of the original World Market Center plans, would attach to building C and include convention center space that could be used for temporary exhibits currently placed inside the complex’s adjacent pavilions, Maricich said.