Searching for gold
Cinde Ingram -- Casual Living, September 1, 2008
As the weather cools and autumn makes its seasonal entrance, the casual furniture industry will gather again Sept. 15-18 at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.
Cinde W. Ingram
Residents of our host city like outdoor activities and are investing in their outdoor living areas. Three Chicagoland retailers share stories about their stores’ evolution with our writers for a Metro retail report inside the issue. Maybe you’ll find time to visit their stores while you’re in Chicago, but chances are you’ll be too busy shopping inside the Mart.
New casual furniture showrooms have been added on the 15th floor since the July casual furniture premarket. Other permanent showrooms on floors 16 and 17 were expanded while manufacturers exhibiting on floors 7 and 8 will also show off a record number of new designs. You’ll find new names along with more familiar ones.
Despite current economic challenges, the casual furnishings industry is continuing to grow as it works to unify its various segments.
The more than 30-year-old Casual Furniture Retailers Association voted unanimously to merge with the International Casual Furnishings Association, which was reorganized from its former all-manufacturer structure as the Summer & Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association since last year’s Casual Market. The recent merger was announced by retailer Carl Vice, who served this year as president of the CFR board while also taking a seat on the ICFA board of directors.
For this issue, I asked ICFA board members to share their views on what is happening within the industry during this time of record high prices for gasoline, energy, materials and more. Manufacturers and retailers responded with candid answers about current economic challenges, but were openly optimistic about what they see ahead for the casual furniture industry.
During those final days of summer, when the Olympics kept many of us up too late at night focused on the sports spectacle in China, ICFA board members took time to talk about how changes in China may translate for our industry. You probably have your own answer. If not, you may find it here among our 20 pages of new products or in Chicago at the Mart. See you there!
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Cinde W. Ingram
Casual Living Editor in Chief
7025 Albert Pick Rd., Suite 200, Greensboro, N.C. 27409