13743 Fri, 02/08/2008 - 12:48pm
FRANKFURT, Germany–Clear blue skies and bright sunshine may have boosted some moods on the opening day of the giant Ambiente fair here yesterday, but they could not completely eclipse the concerns many American suppliers of tabletop and housewares have about the 2008 retail climate back home.
With one major retailer—Fortunoff—in bankruptcy, another—Macy’s—working through a just-announced consolidation and others possibly having significant problems, vendors and retailers talked off-the-record about business and prospects for the balance of the year.
“January was bad,” said a senior executive with one major retailer, echoing the retail sales numbers just released, “but tabletop wasn’t as bad as the rest of the store.’
“Of course we’re concerned about this year,” said the head of one mid-sized manufacturer. “Coming off a bad Christmas, it could be a big problem.”
There seemed to be as many Americans here at the show as usual, though official counts aren’t released. Spotted on opening day were such retailers as Bloomingdale’s, Sur La Table, MOMA Stores and Moss.
A total of 150,000 trade visitors are expected to attend the five-day event, working some 4,590 exhibitors from 84 countries.