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New product and supply chain hot topics for Las Vegas Market

 18 January 2022     Ashley Newport 

LAS VEGAS – While not every exhibitor is to offer out-of-the-ordinary incentives to draw retail buyers to their showroom in the World Market Center here, almost all are excited to get feedback on their latest looks and product offerings. Indeed, the organizers famously maintain there are more than one million products on display during the year’s first major furniture industry event.

“We continually are in product development,” says Simon Jervis, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Sealy Sofa Convertibles, adding the company is still focused on going to the buyer rather than requiring the buyer to come to them. “In 2021, we introduced new Sealy recliners with Posturepedic technology. We are very excited about entering into this category,” he noted, adding, “In 2022, we will focus on the motion recliner and lift recliner category. We have many introductions planned for both the Las Vegas Market, as well as the High Point Market in the spring.”

Angelo ‘J.R.’ Marzilli, president of Décor-Rest Furniture, told HGO his family owned-and-operated furniture producer plans to showcase its new 2115 collection. “[This new model] is deep, lush, soft, comfortable and cozy. We’ve used recycled materials to be environmentally friendly. We’re one of the first ones who have infused leather particles in the seat to give it softness. People who see pictures are in love with the look, but they buy after they sit on it,” he says.

Expected to launch at the upcoming Las Vegas Market, the Model 2115 Angel is the latest addition to the Lovin’ Lounging collection from Décor-Rest. Designed for extreme comfort, this sofa boosts deep seating with high resiliency super soft foam topped with a leather-fiber blend for extraordinary comfort.Meanwhile, senior marketing manager Sumer Morad said SUNPAN plans to share teasers in its showroom of what potential buyers can expect to help “pique their interest and persuade them to come for the newness.”

As for what will be on display, Morad says SUNPAN is sourcing products closer to home and will be introducing pieces made in Mexico while expanding its outdoor collection. “Attendees will also find stylized pods within our showroom to help them ‘Shop-by-Style’. These same styles will be found on our web site in the New Year,” she added.

Gary Christianson, sales and marketing director, said Mobital is currently working to discern who will be attending the winter edition of the Las Vegas Market before deciding which pieces will be highlighted at the show.

“We have to look at the analytics of the year – it’s been a good year – and we need to see what we need to do to carry on and stimulate the purchasing. We need to remain innovative with SKUs and competitive with pricing and make sure quality control is staying where it needs to be,” he said, adding that, in terms of products trending right now, ceramics are performing well.

“One thing that’s huge for us is ceramics as a surface. Lacquer was once popular and it moved into glass and marble and woods,” he said, adding marble is more susceptible to cracks and stains. “Ceramic is the natural next movement in dining tables because you get the look but not the issues, so it’s a huge product line for us that’s been continually evolving. Shipping is a huge cost and when [marble] arrives damaged after a huge delay, you know, people will soon decide on their own whether they want to carry that in their stores anymore.” 

Supply chain remains a challenge
While the furniture industry has thrived amid the pandemic – especially since rolling lockdowns all over the globe prompted house-bound consumers to funnel their spending into home improvement projects – increased demand and disruptions to manufacturing have led to an inventory crunch, heightened costs and delivery delays.

Challenges aside, those exhibitors surveyed are working to secure in-demand products and some are even advising buyers on the best ways to keep customers happy. “Our issue isn’t manufacturing capacity, we have the capabilities to produce orders on-time,” says Sealy’s Jervis.

New from Mobital at the upcoming Las Vegas Market, the W dining table has two manual extending leaves that are self-storing under the table. It is made with a black powder coated steel base and a ceramic and glass top that is laminated together. The ceramic top has a matte textured finish and is scratch and stain resistant which can be easily cleaned with soap and water.“The current issue retailers face is a shipping crisis. There is a real shortage of containers, and the price levels are significantly premium to those pre-pandemic,” he pointed out, adding, “Our retailers are forced to prioritize their shipments as they are squeezed by cost and availability of product from overseas. Domestic inbound freight has also significantly increased creating tough choices for retailers.”

Meanwhile, Sara Samieian, co-chief executive officer, said Moe’s Home Collection has been working to get ahead of the backlogs by keeping more product on hand. “Since the pandemic's beginning, we have been ordering at high volumes and are working with great partners to get as much as we can on time.”

Mobital’s Christianson also said keeping as much product on hand as possible is key to keeping buyers happy while the pandemic continues to affect shipping. “I started having these conversations with several buyers back in the spring. “You need to order and get in queue or you’ll never be able to sell something when you’re quoting 20 weeks for something to come,” he said, adding while the consumer understands delays can be inevitable, they might be choosier to avoid waiting weeks or months for a sofa.

“You need to open your wallet a bit and keep that flow of constant shipments arriving that you can sell from because people will continue shopping for a better ETA. Some things are selling very fast. With all of these retailers, nothing counts as a sale until it’s delivered to the customer,” Christianson continued, noting his company isn’t just dealing with pandemic-related challenges, but also shipping delays caused by recent wildfires and floods in British Columbia.

“The manufacturing sector is producing with lead times into March for anything custom in Canada and we’re oversold into March on several things as well,” he said. “You need to have diversity in what you carry to get different sales coming in. Heading into the New Year, buyers have an understandable scepticism or concern wondering how long this [demand] can sustain. The prices keep going up and ocean freight is a big part of that for importers. It’s been one challenge after the next coming our way.”

Christianson suggest some solutions to this ongoing problem includes finding different ports to receive goods in or finding alternative routes and carriers. “Sometimes you have to wait or juggle orders to ship to the person you can ship to. We’re able to weather it but for smaller stores who can’t stock too much inventory, they might be missing out the most.”

Décor-Rest’s Marzilli agrees having product in stock is crucial. “We decided to buy much deeper and increase our raw material storage. It is selling, so we’re okay right now. Our magic secret is stocking heavily all best-selling supplies,” he says, adding, “The new normal has been anywhere from four to eight months delivery. It can take six months to get a custom-made product. We encourage our dealers to buy heavier on best sellers and stock it so they can have it on hand. When we ask [buyers] if people wait six months or buy what’s on the floor and they say it’s 50/50.”

MIFF Furniverse July 2022
Stearns & Foster
This HGO article was written by:
Ashley Newport
Ashley Newport

A regular contributor to HGO Merchandiser, Ashley Newport is a Toronto-based freelance journalist who writes primarily for trade and business publications. Her specialties include food, hospitality and emerging social/business trends.

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Home Goods and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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