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CFS: Focused on product

22 May 2018
Community, Events, Furniture, Mattresses

The 2018 edition of the Canadian Furniture Show will have one focus, and only one focus: product. For three days there will be nothing between the retail buyer and the merchandise and services exhibited on the floors of the International Centre in Mississauga. There will be no distractions. No seminars, no lunches, no entertainers – indeed, no frills of any kind.

And that’s by design. In fact, Pierre Richard believes that’s the way both attending retailers and participating exhibitors – and to some degree, visiting interior designers as well – want it to be.

“The reality is we’ve tried a bunch of stuff over the past few years,” Richard, president and chief executive officer of both CFS and the Quebec Furniture Manufacturers Association, said during an interview with Home Goods Online. “The reality is, to my surprise, they all ranked very, very low in the surveys we did of both attendees and exhibitors.”

When only 30 or so people turn out for a ‘lunch and learn’ session with a renowned expert on demographics, as was the case last year, it’s very disheartening. “We have to listen to what the people are telling us,” he pointed out.

What retail buyers have been saying – in every survey conducted since Richard took the reins almost five years ago – is they want to see new product. That’s it. That’s all. “For them, it’s more about the product and the exhibitor than it is about anything else,” he said. So that’s what they’re going to get.

The exhibit floor
At press time, CFS officials said 96% of the show floor – which includes Halls 1 to 4 of the International Centre – had been sold. “We are in line with last year’s square footage,” Richard said.

They were also expecting more than 215 exhibitors in total – including the permanent showrooms in the centre’s SOFA (Source of Furniture & Accessories) annex as well as four others with permanent showrooms in the surrounding area. These include Korson Furniture Design, Brentwood Classic, Décor Rest and Superstyle Furniture, as well as its sister companies, Trend-Line and Simmons Upholstery Canada. In all, the exhibitor count is down slightly from 2017.

CFS also reported there will be some 55 new exhibitors at this year’s event. At least 35 are furniture manufacturers while two are mattress producers.

This year’s event will also have something an international flavour as four countries – including China, Indonesia, Portugal and Ukraine – will show off the prowess and product lines of their own furniture makers. Their displays will be in Halls 2 and 3. “Because we update Trade Show News Network, we are listed on multiple international trade show listings, and so, as a result, the show’s international interest is growing organically,” Richard said.

All three of Canada’s furniture buying and marketing groups will once again have a presence on the floor, including Cantrex Nationwide, Dufresne Retail Solutions Group and Mega Group.

Returning to CFS with a larger display space than last year will be Palliser Furniture Upholstery, which will occupy several of the ballrooms in the International Centre’s conference area. The Winnipeg-based producer will be joined by its case goods division – Casana – as well as by Kalora Interiors, its aligned area rug supplier.

Richard also believes CFS is the only place the majority of its exhibitors can be seen as they don’t participate in any other North American furniture trade event, giving retailers a heightened opportunity to source exclusive product.

Click here to read the rest of our preview of the 2018 Canadian Furniture Show in the Summer edition of the HGO Merchandiser.

2018 RSP Award recipients to be feted at gala

22 May 2018
Community, Events, People

BRIGHTON, Ontario – Canada finest furniture and mattress gatekeepers, our first and best point of contact with the consumer, will be introduced to the industry when the second annual Retail Sales Professional Awards (RSP) are presented just prior to the opening of this year’s Canadian Furniture Show at the end of the month. Each will be saluted as leaders who consistently deliver exceptional sales and service.

The awards were created to recognise the outstanding achievements of experienced sales professionals working on the floors of furniture, mattress and major appliance stores across the country. The recipients were selected from nominations received from their peers, associates and managers in an industry-wide nomination process.

The 2018 RSP Award recipients include: Randy Shanks of Daleys BrandSource Home Furnishings in Fredricton, New Brunswick for the Atlantic Region; Marisa Deluca of La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries in Etobicoke, Ontario for the Central Region; Brian Palethorpe of Perfect Home Furniture in Calgary, Alberta for the Western Region; and, Terry Harder of Innovative Sleep Solutions in Surrey, British Columbia for the Pacific Region.

The recipients will be recognised and honoured during the Canadian Home Furnishings Awards gala set to be May 24 at the Universal Event Space in Vaughan, Ontario.

During the evening, one of these regional recipients will also be recognised as Canada’s National Retail Sales Professional for 2018.

The RSP Awards presenting sponsor is Zucora Home, the added-value specialist based in London, Ontario. The supporting sponsors include Home Goods Online (HGO); the Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance (CHFA); and, the Canadian Furniture Show (CFS).

The award recipients were selected by a judging panel that consisted of Mark Geddes, senior director of sales for Zucora Home, Corrie-Ann Knell, director of sales and marketing for Home Goods Online and Pat Kelly, the recently retired assistant vice president of home furnishings for Cantrex Nationwide.

In order to be considered for the award, the nominees were required to be actively employed as a sales associate or manager in a retail home furnishings environment with a minimum of three years’ experience and must have consistent met or exceeded the performance goals set by the employer. The nominee also had to demonstrate a customer-focused approach to the work and have a record of mentoring and assisting other sales professionals.

“Our home furnishings industry is very proud of the level of professionalism and care provided by sales professionals that serve consumers throughout Canada,” said Brad Geddes, Zucora Home president.

The number of nominees received in the second year of the industry recognition effort was more than double over the previous year.  “With the significant increase in the number of nominees from across Canada, I’m sure it was very difficult for the independent panel to make their selections,” said Geddes. “It’s great to see that our industry is well represented and in such good hands on the sales floor.”

Each of the RSP Award recipients will also be hosted by the sponsors during the Canadian Furniture Show, which will be held from May 25 to 27, 2018 at the International Centre in Toronto. They will also be profiled in special section of the Fall 2018 edition of the HGO Merchandiser, scheduled for publication in late July.

The program maintains a web site at www.rspawards.com. Nominations for next year’s RSP Awards will open in January 2019.

Editor’s Note: This announcement was first published in the Summer 2018 edition of the HGO Merchandiser. Click here to download.

CFS kicks up booth awards

22 May 2018
Events, Products

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – All 215 or so exhibitors at this year’s Canadian Furniture Show, which opens at the International Centre here this Friday morning (25 May 2018) for a three-day run, will be eligible for the organiser’s returning Booth Awards program and be saluted for their excellence in creating truly inspiring displays in which to feature their product.

This year, the organisers have changed the format of the program, now in its third year. Instead of evaluating the exhibits by size, eight new categories have been created, including:

Best Booth: best overall booth in 2018 – this has to be a show stopper, a booth everyone is talking about.

Best Visual Display: a visual display at the front of the booth or a central display highlighting new products or best-selling products.

Best Use of Colour: use of colour to attract attention or to create major impact: colour blocking, graphics, staff clothing or other elements that liven up the display.

Best Use of Space: will be given to the booth that incorporates elements such as guest seating; refreshments zones; meeting tables; or charging stations that don’t impede traffic flow or product display while having visual appeal.

Best New Exhibitor: this will be given to the first time exhibitor that goes above and beyond to create an impactful, well displayed and well branded space.

Best Design: given to the most trendy and design-oriented booth.

Best Traffic Builder: this will be given to the exhibitor hosting an activity inside the booth used to drive traffic such as a contest, game, celebrity, performer, artist, virtual-reality experience, giveaway or educational component.

Best SOFA Showroom: this will be given to the must visit permanent showroom in the SOFA annex of the International Centre.

A jury of four Toronto-area industry professionals will tour the halls of the International Centre this coming Friday (25 May 2018), including: Rosamund Kavander; a designer and colour marketing specialist; Vicky Sanderson, journalist and freelance contributor to the Toronto Star as well as Home & Condos and Reno & Décor magazine; Martin Slofstra, editor of the New Homes and Condos section of the Toronto Sun; and, Melisa Tossel, owner of the Toronto-based Sanura Design, a residential design specialist.

The winners will be announced on the morning of Saturday, 26 May 2018.

Click here for more information about the CFS Booth Awards program. The show’s web site can be found here: canadianfurnitureshow.com.

Why attend market?

22 May 2018
Events, Retail, Opinion

Since medieval times trade shows have been an important part of most industries. If you have read any of the many historical novels written by the English author Ken Follet you will have a picture of the central role markets played in medieval society. Trade shows were created to gather buyers and sellers in one place. In addition, there were opportunities to gain industry specific information about the suppliers as well as competitors.

Since 1972, the Canadian Furniture Show (CFS) – as it is now known – has been the showcase for Canadian furniture producers, importers and retailers. In addition to the permanent showrooms in the SOFA (Source of Furniture & Accessories) annex, product from over 200 exhibitors will be shown on the floor of Mississauga’s International Centre. This year, there will be a special trend area featuring new products that were chosen because they were relevant and on trend.

Another very important part of any trade show is the opportunity to touch base with other retailers. What’s more, for many of vendors this is the only trade event in which they participate. In other words, they won’t be found in High Point, Las Vegas or any other event. This is your one opportunity to see their product. And, all expenses you incur will be in Canadian dollars. So, you’re also helping the Canadian economy.

You need to be there.  The argument for attending was best made in a 2014 article published by Forbes magazine entitled: Why trade shows deliver value to retailers. It said, in part:

“Over the years we have spoken to retailers who have avoided trade shows for a variety of reasons, but one reason that is fairly common is due to the expense of travel to attend. What they don’t realize, however, is that it actually costs them more by not attending. Missing out on your industry’s trade shows can impact your business success in a variety of ways, including the missed opportunities of finding new vendors, staying competitive to your competition and not expanding your store’s inventory based on market trends and proven data.”

In a retail environment that’s changing as rapidly as it is in 2018, you cannot – especially if you are the owner/operator of an independent furniture, mattress and major appliance store – I repeat, afford to miss a show such as CFS. You could find the cost of not attending is too steep a price to pay for missing out on what is happening in the market.

What is needed to prepare?
I always recommend a minimum of one day of analysis for each day you intend to spend at a market, although it might not always be possible. You will undoubtedly have some floor positions in your store that just are no longer paying their way. It’s time to welcome new options to refresh and revitalise your floor. You need to spend some time on the analysis beforehand and then mull over the results on your travel as you prepare for the show.

Click here to get all of Dan’s advice in the Summer issue of the HGO Merchandiser.


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