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Vegas Gift & Accessory Show To Debut At July Las Vegas Market

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One of the biggest challenges facing home furnishing executives today is keeping up with changing trends in everything from textures to materials to colors. That’s especially true when it comes time to seek out home accessories and gifts, which have become a growing part of many furniture-oriented retailers’ businesses. While these product categories have the ability to drive additional profits, they are also products that require the most attention since they are based on constantly changing styles and fashions. To meet this challenge, attendees at next month’s Las Vegas Market, will be searching for more than just new products. Instead, savvy retailers will be looking to stay in front of the latest consumer trends. Fresh ideas are the best way to drive one-of-a-kind product assortments and increased profits. The diverse myriad of buyers coming to Las Vegas Market includes companies like Napa Home in Dallas, Texas. “Our strategy is to offer unique products that fulfill our customers desire to enhance their living space,” says Randolph Philips, the owner of Napa Home. “Attending the Las Vegas Market is a key part of helping us pursue this strategy, and I am looking forward to the expanded gift and accessories presence at the July Market.” Phillips isn’t the only retailer looking forward to “Vegas Gift & Accessory,” the Las Vegas Market’s newest show-within-the-show, which will be on display from July 25-28 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Merchandise categories at Vegas Gift & Accessory will include: general gift, accessories, tabletop, stationary, candles, frames, vases, garden, seasonal and other related products. Pottery Barn, Pier 1 and Crate & Barrel are all “life-style stores,” and many other retailers are looking to take advantage of the same trends these retailers have been able to capitalize upon. The lines are becoming blurred between decorative accessory and gift and this segment is a natural fit, especially since there is also a trend that shows the cross-pollination of gifts and furniture. Like Phillips, Joe Mallet, senior product development manager for the 187-unit Mervyns, based in Hayward, Calif., is also attending the Las Vegas Market looking to capitalize on gift-giving trends. In fact, his company actually has a “trend services team,” and one of its members will be traveling to the market along with Mallet and three or four buyers. Topping Mallet’s list of trends is anything that makes things easy for the shopper. “Everyone is trying to make gift giving easier, including our company,” Mallet says. “So, we will be looking for gifts in boxes, frames, wall art, candle runs and décor items pulled together,” he said. Mallet adds, “We work a year out and think the Las Vegas Market will help us validate some of our merchandising decisions as well as help us find last-minute items to fill in assortments.” It’s these last-minute additions, where timing becomes critical to profiting from trends, and that is particularly true when it comes to finding gifts for the holiday selling season. The timing of the Market is just another reason that Phillips says “Las Vegas Market is poised to become one of the premier gift and accessories Markets.” Buyers say July presents an ideal time to review these products because seasonal buying trends occur in the summer. For example, Roseanna Inc. will be exhibiting its holiday dishes at the July Market. Rosanna Bowles, president of the Seattle-based company, notes that one of today’s trends is holiday fun centered around the table, and families are willing to spend money to decorating for these events. In addition, families are looking to “recreate” traditions, and an emerging trend is they are looking for decorating items that can be passed on as heirlooms from one generation to the next. Bowles adds that more and more consumers are also looking to keep these warm, happy times going year- round. She suggests that progressive retailers capitalize on this trend by promoting holiday fashions that are not trapped into being used solely during the season. “That means merchandise with a lasting shelf life, and for the customer it translates to versatility and ease in entertaining,” Bowles says. As far as style and fashion is concerned, many attendees expect to find a continued trend toward mixing expensive with inexpensive items. Many people are looking to express their individuality by opting for eclectic looks rather than matched sets Retailers will come to find the best of each market segment in Las Vegas, with a special focus on high-quality gifts. By bringing all of these products and trends into one location, retailers will be able to actually see emerging trends as well as discuss them with their peers. Another trend that should not be overlooked, according to Annett Davidson, director of marketing, Kathy Ireland Home by Hanna's Candle Company, Fayetteville, Ark., is based on the fact that consumers are time-pressed. Davidson says today's busy moms love the idea of simple solutions that make their home feel special without a lot of effort. While organizers point out that the Market is dedicated to spotlighting high-quality gifts and accessories including tabletop, stationary, candles, frames, vases and gardening products, Davidson notes that high-quality doesn’t have to mean expensive. Consumers are looking to add small, personal touches to their home that are affordable. Attending a market also allows retailers a chance to find products that have a proven track record but may still be unique in their market. A show allows for a cross-pollination of product categories in many geographical regions of the country. For example, Samantha Teeple, director of showrooms and sales representatives for the Heber Springs, Ark.-based Aromatique Art Trading, says consumers in the South have responded well to her company’s products, and Las Vegas Market will fully expose her decorative accessories to West Coast, West and Midwest buyers for the first time. These are just a few of the trends that will be on display at Las Vegas Market, which takes place July 24-28 at World Market Center and Pavilions. The Temporaries and Vegas Gift and Accessory will be located at the Las Vegas Convention Center and open July 25-28. In all, the July 2006 Market will be the largest Las Vegas Market yet with nearly 2.6 million square feet of permanent and temporary exhibits, and many of the trends will not become apparent until the show is unveiled and attendees are able to look at the entire gift and accessory market in one location all at the same time. To register and book hotels rooms, visit www.LasVegasMarket.com or call 888-WMC-SHOW (962-7469).

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