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ICFA sets Casual Market show dates, new hours

Casual Living Industry News

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The International Casual Furnishings Association has announced dates for the International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market and its Preview Show for 2010-2014.

Hours for the ICFA Preview Show will be 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m., with the temporary exhibition floors opening at 9 a.m. The Preview Show will run on a Tuesday through Thursday schedule as follows:

July 13–15, 2010 July 12–14, 2011 July 17–19, 2012 July 16–18, 2013 July 15–17, 2014

Hours for the International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market will be 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on the first three days and 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on day four. The temporary exhibition floors will open a half hour later, at 9 a.m. each day. Dates are as follows:

Tuesday-Friday, Sept. 21-24, 2010
Monday-Thursday, Sept. 12-15, 2011
Thursday-Sunday, Sept. 20-23, 2012
Tuesday-Friday, Sept. 17-20, 2013
Wednesday-Saturday, Sept. 17-20, 2014

“An overwhelming majority of our retail customers prefer that the International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market be held in September,” said ICFA Chairman Dudley Flanders, president of Lloyd/Flanders Industries. “A valid argument was made by some that the industry should sanction only one market.”

If the industry was to have just one market, the best time frame would be the last week in July or the first week in August, and those dates are not available at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Flanders said.

“Sponsoring an association-sanctioned Preview Show at the Merchandise Mart provides an easy way for retailers to see manufacturers’ new product in one convenient location,” said ICFA Vice Chairman Petey Fleischut of Casual Marketplace in Hockessin, Del. “Prior to the association-sponsored premarkets, retailers had to travel all over the country to look at their suppliers’ new products in individual company premarkets. Today, retailers do not have the time or money to do that.”

The board considered all options, according to ICFA Executive Committee member Bill Echols of Outdoor Experience, which distributes Tommy Bahama. “The schedule and format approved represent the best course of action for the casual furnishings industry,” Echols said. “The Preview Show will serve a variety of purposes for both retailers and manufacturers – the first opportunity for manufacturers to show their product and get retailer input and feedback, as well as for Sunbelt retailers to begin purchasing for the earlier start of their season.”

ICFA Executive Committee member Gary Ecoff, president of Carls Patio, based in Boca Raton, Fla. said, “As a retailer with stores in Florida and California, we cannot wait until September to do our buying for the upcoming season. We must have an earlier start. The ICFA Preview Show will give us the opportunity to begin our selection process and buying on a schedule to meet our needs.”

Premarkets of some sort are inevitable, added ICFA Executive Committee member Dean Engelage, Woodard. “As a manufacturer with a significant investment in our Merchandise Mart showroom, it gives us the opportunity for a better return on that investment.”

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