3 first reactions to fall market from furniture and décor categories

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HIGH POINT — There was plenty of discussion about what’s coming in 2023 at the recent High Point Market with regard to a recession, the supply chain, sustainability and the discretionary income of consumers.

However, first reactions to what many are calling the first “truly normal” market since COVID are mostly positive, and these three leaders are already planning for what’s next.

Gabriele Natale, Manwah USA

Manwah introduced Edge this market, completing the manufacturer’s merchandising grid for retailers with a price point landing between MW Home and Cheers. Natale noted that Edge strengthens the company’s flexibility, allowing it to provide retailers with the product needed for current consumer demand.

“Edge was received extremely well,” Natale told Furniture Today. “The new division completed our pricing grid story with the same quality story in each division. We will continue to tell the story the same way going forward, showing the differences between brands, and demonstrating the opportunities for our retailers.”

Natale said that the retailers who visited the showroom during High Point Market were planning for Q1 and Q2 in 2023 with “fresh looks and quality products” with “very few exceptions.” Manwah’s simplified grid story messaging of “best in class comfort, quality and value starting at $599 and going all the way to $7,999 retail” worked across all brands.

“Addressing every price point allows you to move with the market fluctuations,” he said. “Market is down equals more promos; market is up equals more upscale product. We produce best-in-class value across all brands, and that does not change. Regardless of the challenges of 2023, quality products with values will always make the difference.”

Roy Calcagne, Craftmaster Furniture

In the Craftmaster showroom, buyer mood was “very good,” according to Calcagne, who added that it was “nice to not be speaking about delivery and lead times.”

“We are now back to pre-COVID lead times,” Calcagne said. “The conversation was on new products to freshen floors that have had little updating in two years.”

Buyers are concerned about the fourth quarter and 2023 economy, but they are also hopeful, Calcagne said.

“The retailers still have a lot of inventory on hand which has impacted order rates, but business is still decent, so they are moving this inventory,” he told Furniture Today. “They are optimistic about having new merchandise on their floors and not as concerned with lead times anymore.”

Craftmaster’s CM Modern category was a big hit with retailers, as was the Design Option M9.

“We had a great response to our CM Modern category that was front and center,” he said. “Buyers loved the fabrics and the color tones that have become more earthy, like camel, caramel, terra cotta, cognac and more. Texture and hand are very important as well. Frames with shape and curves have done well. And the Design Option M9 build your own program was fantastic. It addresses the starting price point with more modern styling direction.

Calcagne said that his team anticipates modern designs continuing to be an influence along with casual lifestyle groups and increased interest in color. He added that the upcoming Interwoven textile show will be a source of trend information for his team, explaining that the goal of creating looks that sell is top of mind.

“We will look at each lifestyle category in our line and plan on new intros that fill voids,” he said. “We will be fashion forward with the new intros, but as always be sure they are saleable.”

Brian Berk, Howard Elliott

Oversized accessories were a big hit in the Howard Elliott showroom, and contemporary/transitional lifestyle pieces were among the most popular design aesthetics. Berk said that his team plans to add a “lot of abstract shapes and a pop of color” going into spring 2023, along with “lighter wood and marble tones and color infuses in bright, bold colors.”

“The buyers’ mood was surprisingly upbeat during market,” he said. “We thought that we were going to hear about their woes with overflowing inventory, and they were in a buying mood! We sold a lot of accessories, and the buyers were pleased to see a lot of oversized accessories and new product.”

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