ATLANTA–Increased traffic, more and higher orders and an overall positive and optimistic mood among tabletop and gift buyers marked the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, which wrapped up here yesterday.
On a day-to-day comparable basis, “We’ve had a great opening day, more than double the business for a year ago,” said Rick Fencel, vice president of sales for independents for WWRD, last week. The company opened its new, expanded permanent showroom here, signaling its commitment to the Atlanta market as well as confidence in overall business. “Everyone is still guarded but they are more optimistic.” He added that the company had more appointments with international buyers, reflecting where companies may see significant growth.
Exhibitors throughout the tabletop and gift areas were optimistic and positive about both the market and the retailers’ willingness to write orders for the key fourth quarter.
“I think that stores as well as American consumers are looking for opportunities to say things are getting better,” said Charlie Breslin, president of sales representative group Howard Charles.
If showroom traffic was any indication, the mood as well as business is markedly improved, as exhibitors reported heavy traffic even on the first day, if not before. “The show has been fantastic,” said Kim Livingood, marketing manager for Tervis Tumbler, adding that the showroom was busy even before the market opened.
The positive trend at the show reflected several companies’ overall growth. “We are projecting [business will be] up for the year 12 – 15 percent,” said Scott Bial, division president for Lifetime Brands.
Vendors focused heavily on gift items and holiday pieces, whether individual pieces or sets, as major stores and independents sought to ramp up their inventory for the holiday season.