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Preview Casual Market New Product Gallery and style trends

To be showcased Sept. 20-23 at Merchandise Mart, Chicago

Pride Family BrandsThe Sundance Collection by Pride Family Brands
CHICAGO - Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. today released a special preview of the upcoming International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market's New Product Gallery and innovative product and style trends that will be seen at the market, Sept. 20-23.

The New Product Gallery will present a wide range of casual outdoor furniture and accessories from Casual Market showrooms and exhibitors, including furniture designs, shade systems, new colors and fabrics. "This year's New Product Gallery is being designed to give retailers, buyers and other attendees the opportunity to easily view new products as they enter the Chicago Merchandise Mart building," said Jaclyn Kelly, senior director of marketing for the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market, MMPI.

The New Product Gallery will be displayed on the first floor of the Merchandise Mart, offering show-goers an easy-to-access, collective look at 2013 products and emerging trends from a variety of manufacturers.

Elaine Smith, president of Elaine Smith Inc., credits the New Product Gallery as an important area at Casual Market. "We have been part of the New Product Gallery for as long as I can remember," she said. "It is a highly trafficked area where the newest styles and trends are on display to create inspiration for next season. It is always a must-see for buyers, and we wouldn't miss it."

JANUS et CieThe Arbor Collection by JANUS et Cie
In addition to the New Product Gallery, showrooms and exhibitors will display brand new outdoor furniture collections and accessories on floors 8 and 15-18. The range of products attendees can expect to see includes deep seating, dining collections, outdoor rugs and flooring, cushions, pillows, garden/decorative accessories and more.

MMPI's Casual Market team launched a preview of select new casual furniture and accessories, including many that will be part of the New Products Gallery, on the Casual Market's Facebook Timeline. The photo album features innovative products from an assortment of industry manufacturers who submitted their product releases and photos in advance. To view the preview, visit the Casual Market's Facebook page at

The Casual Market is also gearing up to display the latest trends in the outdoor furnishings industry. During the next two weeks, show management is setting the stage to enable buyers, retailers and designers with new and evolving trends insight. "Supplying show attendees with valuable trends information that can be used to make informed purchasing decisions about stocking inventory or for design installations is one of the Casual Market's primary objectives," Kelly said.

EbelThe Carlisle club chair by Ebel
One maturing trend attendees will see at the Casual Market is the continued popularity of transitional deep seating furniture. This ever-rising trend allows consumers to change their settings from one design concept to another, for example redecorating from traditional to contemporary.

More manufacturers are designing this type of product to appeal to younger generations, according to Gary McCray, president of Lane Venture. "We're reaching out to the next generation of consumers that are becoming a bigger part of the market and prefer simpler, more transitional styling," he said.

Another product-oriented trend expected at the Casual Market involves coffee- and dining-height outdoor fire tables that combine both form and function. Manufacturers are responding to this trend with a number of creative options. Market attendees can expect to see many examples of the versatility provided by fire tables on site at the show.

Retractable shade systems also appear to be on the rise again this year, as evidenced by several new and flexible shade devices making their way to the show floor. Many manufacturers believe the need for shade devises and umbrellas has risen since consumers are spending more time at home and in backyard spaces.

This has resulted in shade manufacturers conceptualizing new types of technologically advanced, multifaceted shade systems.

HomecrestThe Bellaire High Back swivel rocker by Homecrest Outdoor Living
Other developing trends include:
* Space-saving stackable chairs;
* Outdoor spaces defined with accessories;
* Fuel-efficient grills for outdoor kitchens;
* Sustainably manufactured furniture and fabric collections coordinated by color palettes;
* Dining tables with multiple form and function features, among others.

Each year, outdoor retailers, buyers and designers attend the show to not only establish relationships with manufacturers, but also to gain insight as to what designs will be in style for the following year. As they prepare to attend this month, here is what two well-known retailers say about the Casual Market.

"As an outdoor furniture retailer, if you don't attend the Casual Market in Chicago, you could never see all that is offered for the next season," said Doug Sanicola, president of Outdoor Elegance in La Verne, Calif. "The Market is the only place you can see all the different manufactures and their products."

"If you did not attend the July Preview Show, it is absolutely imperative for retailers to attend the September show," added Petey Fleischut, owner of Casual Marketplace, Hockessin, Del. "Whether retailers attend the July or September Market, it is important for us to attend to see what manufacturers are doing in the industry and to improve the quality of their businesses."

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