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High Point Furniture Market Observations

author logoLast week was the HighPoint Market, the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world.  Overall, exhibitors we spoke with during our time at the show were satisfied with the market’s attendance, but were quick to note that the following months will be the true indicator as many retailers begin to place their orders. One comment we heard time and time again from leather upholstery and case good importers, is that they continue to experience supply disruptions in China as credit standards and liquidity tighten in China.  This has also created shorter, or the complete elimination of payment terms, which is only increasing pressure along the retail supply, making it even more difficult to conduct business in this climate. Another notable issue facing the industry that was discussed at length at the show was the dramatic decline in the formation of new households.  According to an industry expert, from 2001-2006 there were and average of 1.2 million new households per year and this number has declined to only 460,000, on average, per year since 2007.  This rate is expected to exceed 1 million as early as 2012 and continue at that level for the most of the next decade.  This points to better times ahead, but many at the show remain skeptical about the coming months, but are hoping for encouraging news as the holiday season approached