17497 Fri, 12/11/2009 - 3:06pm
By Andrea Lillo
The lighting industry expects a brighter 2010, and most feel that January’s Dallas International Lighting Market will start the year on a positive note.
Now with low inventory levels, retailers will do more than look at products during the Dallas market, but also buy, manufacturers said.
Brad Smith, chief executive officer, E.L.K. Lighting, has been very encouraged by the number of customers that have told the company they plan to attend Dallas—up about 25 percent from a year ago, he estimated. And “this is not a kick-the-tires-type of show,” he added. “People are coming to write orders.”
Maria Scutaro, vice president of merchandising, Murray Feiss, also believes the Dallas show will be better than in 2009. “The market center has done a great job with programs to help get (retail) showrooms to Dallas and we appreciate these efforts,” she said.
Though the economy has caused the consumer to be more price conscious, it is not the only influence on products and price points. The growing group of younger consumers is also having an impact, as some manufacturers see modern living influencing modern lighting.
Due to sectional sofas, for example, there’s a new push on arc lamps, said Rick Spicer, vice president of sales and marketing, Pacific Coast Lighting. Major retailers are committing to the category, so Pacific Coast Lighting is too, he said. The company had two in the line a year ago, and now “we have a slew.” He added that “furniture stores have a distinct advantage with arc lamps because they can display over sectionals, while lighting showrooms can’t.”
Other low furniture such as platform beds have resulted in table lamps with squatty bases and tall shades. If one uses a normal lamp next to a platform bed, all she would get is glare, Spicer said. These new, modern lamps are mostly shade and look substantial, he said. This type of design is for a younger consumer, he added.
About 10 percent of the lamps at Kmart and Sears do cater in part to the modern customer, said Theresa Strickland, chief home design strategy and branding officer at Sears Holdings Corp., as do some of its brands such as Ty Pennington, Jaclyn Smith Today, Colormate and Essential Home Brands.
For the green customer, Sears and Kmart offer LED desk lamps that are well received and “selling as well as their previous incandescent versions,” Strickland said, adding that the retailers just started rolling out some compact-fluorescent lamp bases “but it’s too soon to measure customer reaction.”
The retailers’ trends are “more reflective of the broadest, more widely appealing customer needs,” and include “embellished shades and larger-scale shades, fancy mixed-material bases, novelty bases such as animal figures, and transitional crystal base lamps,” she added.
Casual crystal is one of the trends attendees to the Dallas International Lighting Market will see next month, said Scutaro, along with “interesting glass.”
Quoizel, which introduced its Laurie Smith line a year ago, will expand that line with 25 additions, said Bobbie Pearsall, director of advertising. “Laurie Smith has really taken off,” she said, and has a very streamline contemporary style, with “a less is more” feeling. Pearsall added that brass is coming back overall, and will be seen in some of the Laurie Smith additions.
E.L.K.’s Smith also saw brass as an antique finish that is popular now, along with polished nickel and copper. “I see much more metal—and much less resin.”