15159 Fri, 09/05/2008 - 1:15pm
Buyers at the New York Home Fashions Market will be scouting the aisles for “green” fare, geometric designs and merchandise with a discount edge for recession-weary shoppers, merchants told HFN.
Retailers will also be looking for more opportunistic buys that have come on the market due to the shakeup in the home-retail sector from bankruptcies, store closings and retailers tightening inventory levels, they said.
Bloomingdale’s is upbeat about the merchandise seen in previews from its stalwart designer partners Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Barbara Barry. Ralph Lauren has “a lot of different looks that don’t fight each other,” Joe Laneve, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of home, told HFN. These include iconic Lauren looks as well as new colorful programs, he said.
The idea is to “make sure that we add newness, excitement and fashion to the mix with our [existing] big partners” to jump-start a textiles business that has been off, Laneve said. “The vendor structure is not the issue.”
Amazon.com is in the market for personality-sponsored brands, such as a new Downlite line from Travel Channel show host Samantha Brown. Eco-friendly products and energy-saving fare are also on the company’s show wish list, said Karin Lannertone, senior buyer of home textiles for Amazon.com.
“Our customer is still interested in the green trend and recycled product,” she said. “They also want to save money on their energy bills with down comforters and electric blankets.” In patterns, “finer geometric designs” are trending up, and Lannertone will be shopping the market for those looks.
The e-tailer is also looking to take advantage of new buying opportunities that have arisen from other merchants nixing orders. “There’s a feeling from the marketplace that retailers are narrowing their assortments,” Lannertone said. To that end, now is the time for Amazon.com to stoke its mission to offer an unrivaled selection of goods—from opening price point to upscale fare, she said.
That means the retailer will be in the market to expand its fashion-bedding mix with resources such as Tommy Hilfiger, Natori and Nautica, as well as building upon Pinzon, its private-label soft-home brand. The label expanded last year from sheets into fashion bedding.
“Although the feedback we get says the marketplace is challenging for other retailers, our business has been trending well, and we’re happy with the results” in home textiles, Lannertone said.
Anna’s Linens will be seeking “opportunistic buys as retailers cancel orders,” Carie Doll, senior vice president of merchandising, told HFN. Indeed, several home textiles suppliers are in surplus mode. These days, opportunistic buys, including product overruns, account for about 25 percent to 30 percent of Anna’s Linens’ business.
“We’re definitely planning a shift advertising-wise to an extreme value proposition to maintain our traffic,” Doll said. The retailer will be looking for more opening-price-point goods at the show. Anna’s Linens will also shop the show for geometric and circular designs in rugs as its customers, with largely traditional tastes, have begun to hanker for more modern and clean looks from vendors such as Veratex and Natco, Doll said.
Chocolate brown and mineral blue are also gaining popularity. Those colors “were big a year ago and will be huge for us now. We’re typically behind a year on those forward trend statements,” Doll said.
The home textiles business has been “challenging” at Bon-Ton, Mike Nemoir, executive vice president of home, told HFN. In this economic environment, it’s not a “go-out-and-get purchase.” That’s why “we’ll be looking to shore up those [products that reflect] quality and value,” he said.
At the show, Bon-Ton will be on the hunt for basics—sheet sets, towels, pillows and pads. Quilts are another show priority. They’ve been the retailer’s “most exciting category,” as they are less expensive than comforters and duvets and impart value. “We’ll certainly keep an eye out for newer and fresher looks for top-of-bed,” Nemoir said.