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Las Vegas Market reports strongest attendance in four years

Las Vegas MarketBuyers arrive at World Market Center on opening day of the winter Las Vegas Market.
LAS VEGAS - The winter 2013 Las Vegas Market, held Jan.28-Feb. 1 at World Market Center, was the best attended market in four consecutive years, driven by an influx of new retailers, exhibiting lines and strategic initiatives, according to a market press release.

Officials with International Market Centers (IMC), who own and operate Las Vegas Market, reported impactful attendance gains among retailers across all categories, as well as an increase among international buyers.
"This past winter market set new company records for an overwhelming number of manufacturers and contributed to a renewed, positive outlook for the entire industry. I can truly say it was the best Las Vegas Market in my tenure of five years," said Robert Maricich, CEO of IMC.

"We're getting a multiplication of better business, people playing to win and better buyer attendance," he added. "With the strength of this Las Vegas Market, recently released positive national housing reports and clear industry momentum, we feel this bodes very well for a strong spring market. What we saw at market is an encouraging indicator of what's to come in 2013."

Attendance trends and an infusion of new exhibitors

U.S. retail attendance was up 6% over a year ago, with thousands of buyers attending the winter 2013 show for the first time. International buyer attendance rose 5% year over year, most notably with a 15% increase among buyers from Latin America and the Pacific Rim, respectively, as well as an 8% gain in Canadian buyers over a year ago.

The winter market attracted retailers from all 50 states and 74 countries. Market officials reported that several key and complementary categories performed exceptionally well at the recent show, with home décor buyers rising 39% and home textile buyers growing by 26%. The categories of mattress retailers and contract hospitality buyers each increased by 11% from a year ago. Las Vegas Market also doubled the number of floor coverings retailers due to the strategic partnership with Surfaces Expo.

Las Vegas emeraldThe Road to Emerald display highlights Pantone's 2013 Color of the Year
"We have long nurtured the idea of a cross-over market vis a vis this ‘total home' view," Maricich said. "Without question Las Vegas Market opens up new doors and distribution channels for participating manufacturers as a result of a compelling and diversified platform that is unlike anything else in the industry."

Maricich said one in 10 buyers seeking gift and home décor merchandise classified their business type as a furniture or mattress store, demonstrating the cross-over appeal of the marketplace. "Essentially, this traditional furniture retailer is coming to the market also looking for smaller gift and décor pieces to enhance their product mix and reach more customers on a more frequent basis," he said. "This supports the notion that retailers have evolved their merchandising approach and are using Las Vegas Market as a means to accomplish a more diversified sales strategy. It's not product dimensional, but rather, very lifestyle, consumer-centric. It's exciting to see new interest in our industry and evolved business models in retail."

In addition to dramatic growth across all buyer categories, the Winter Las Vegas Market, including Gift+Home, also drew more than 1,800 exhibiting companies across 5 million square feet of space in three buildings. The market welcomed 200 new brands in permanent showrooms and temporary booths. Newcomers included 27 permanent furniture tenants, five powerhouse designer brands in the Las Vegas Design Center, 38 permanent Gift+Home tenants, 30 furniture temporaries located on the sold-out B2 floor and 107 Gift+Home temporaries located on C4 and C5.

"This market was reminiscent of a building opening in terms of traffic, new tenancy, investment and overall energy," said Tom Mitchell, IMC's president of home furnishings. "Among the strategic moves we put into motion, the home furnishings division leased 630,000 square feet of new space in 2012, including the renewal of 51 leaseholders such as Broyhill, Emerald Home, Lane and other major sources; delivered significant showroom expansions for such market leaders as AICO and Coaster; and successfully relocated a number of key exhibitors to create a more efficient and effective merchandising mix in all buildings. We also created a new 100,000-sq.-ft. destination in Building C for bedding resources, which enhances Las Vegas Market's position as the international hub for the bedding industry."

For many furniture exhibitors, it was an unprecedented Las Vegas Market, in both showroom traffic and order writing.

"Market was fantastic," said Phil Haney, CEO of Lexington Home Brands, which opened a new 50,000-sq.-ft. showroom in Building B. "Traffic started off busy and was steady. Our measured count on day one was up about 40% over a year ago. It has been an amazing transformation and we feel a sense of new energy. We show our outdoor product in High Point and now we're showing in Las Vegas, so it gives us four markets a year to present the most beautiful and the only consumer brand in the category."

Las Vegas LexingtonLexington Home Brands opened a new 50,000-sq.-ft. showroom at the winter Las Vegas Market.
Design powerhouses debut

Four powerhouse brands within the design industry opened showrooms within Las Vegas Design Center: Christopher Guy, Stanley Furniture, Julian Chichester/Mr. Brown and Norwalk Furniture. These four new-to-market showrooms, located on the first two floors of Building A, encompassed more than 26,000 square feet.

"Las Vegas Design Center is currently experiencing a renaissance with the enhancement and diversification of its upper end resources to our already strong offering," said Paul Watson, vice president of LVDC. "These new brands each bring a unique design aesthetic and perspective to LVDC. We are thrilled to welcome each new showroom to LVDC, which is fast earning a reputation as the largest and most comprehensive design center in the west."

These brands join the center's existing design stars open year-round, including Robert Allen ‚Beacon Hill, Global Views, Four Hands, Capel Rugs, Palecek and multi-line showroom LMS Design Group.

Gift+Home evolves with the launch of C3

The three-phase strategic evolution for Gift+Home began at the winter market with the debut of C3, a collection of 20 better home décor suppliers; improved density of gift resources on floors C6 and C8; reorganization of temporary exhibits into 10 categories; and the launch of a first-of-its-kind Gift & Home CEO Summit.

"Excitement and optimism at market were palpable, with buyers and suppliers buzzing about the transformational changes introduced this winter," said Dorothy Belshaw, IMC's president of Gift & Home Décor. "We recorded an unparalleled gain in gift and home décor buyer attendance. Our success in buyer attendance is directly correlated to the specialty home décor collections introduced on B3 and C3, and occupancy growth on gift floors during the past two markets. A combination of thoughtful resource expansion and targeted and compelling communication with prospective attendees enabled us to enrich both the exhibitor and buyer constituencies in tandem."

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