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Las Vegas Market Post Show Report

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The Las Vegas Market announced that records were broken, premieres were held and milestones were marked at the Summer 2008 Las Vegas Market, July 28-August 1, the first show to be held entirely on World Market Center Las Vegas’ ultra-modern 57-acre campus since the Market’s July 2005 launch. From the moment July Las Vegas Market kicked off with its record-setting opening day attendance, its energized pace and portfolio of unique offerings demonstrated why World Market Center Las Vegas is the world’s fastest-growing integrated home and hospitality contract furnishings showroom and trade complex. The opening of the iconic Building C – a 16-story, 2.1-million-square-foot structure – created the most efficient Market to date, allowing manufacturers, buyers and designers from around the world to convene in a single location. Total registrations exceeded the historic average of 50,000 and were up 4 percent over the last July Market; total attendance was up 7 percent. In particular, there was a dramatic increase in attending buyers, with 15 percent more retailers and 93 percent more designers attending 2008 Summer Market than in July 2007. “Considering the very difficult environment in the home furnishings industry, this is a remarkable uptick,” said World Market Center President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Maricich. “At World Market Center Las Vegas we have a compelling platform to do business. We set out to create excitement and provide an environment of optimism—and we were successful by every measure.” Furthermore, many exhibitors reported that qualified buyer traffic was up in their showrooms and that order-writing was brisk, defying the challenging environment in which the industry is currently operating. “Our written business at Market was up well over 20 percent, and it was our most successful Summer Market thus far,” said Lee Fautsch, vice president of sales/home furnishings for Flexsteel Industries, Inc. of Dubuque, Iowa. “We need to be in Las Vegas – it’s very important to us.” “The quality of traffic we’ve had has been excellent. The major re-launch of Pennsylvania House alone has made it a great Market,” said Dave Pinamonti of Universal Furniture. In all, more than 1,500 exhibitors showed their newest products, including 320 new companies and 120 companies who expanded their World Market Center footprint. July’s Market featured more than 200 international exhibitors from 20 countries; further reinforcing World Market Center’s standing as the industry’s new global hub. Of the non-U.S. companies exhibiting this summer, 30 percent were from Canada, 29 percent were European-based, 21 percent were based in Latin America and 20 percent were from Asia. “We have been busy from 8 a.m. to closing,” said Suzanne Kelly, Vice President of Home Furnishings of The Robert Allen Group in New York which opened a new 30,000 square-foot flagship showroom in World Market Center’s Building C. “We’re seeing people from across the country and meeting local designers for the first time. There are many international buyers here as well, especially from Mexico, Canada and even Dubai.” “Provasi has showrooms all over the world, and we are making this our headquarters in the U.S.,” said Gina M. Fard of Provasi. “We believe Las Vegas Market will be the center point of the high-end in the U.S.” Perhaps the most prominent example of World Market Center’s growing international appeal was the U.S. premiere of Fiera Milano’s Design Italiano. The one-of-a-kind, museum-quality exhibit features the best in Italian furniture design from 1956 to today. The 8,000-square-foot exhibit consists of nearly 100 pieces from 13 top designers and manufacturers, including B&B Italia, Cassina, Flexform and Minotti. Design Italiano was conceived, organized and curated with the support of Fiera Milano, Regione Lombardia and the city of Meda. The exhibit runs through the end of the year on the first floor of Building C at Las Vegas Design Center. Building C Further Enhanced Overall Market Experience The debut of Building C, the stunning16-story facility added hundreds of exhibiting companies to the complex and, for the first time, allowed every exhibitor and buyer to experience Market exclusively on World Market Center’s downtown campus in three inter-connected buildings. With the completion of Building C, World Market Center now stands at more than five million square feet of world class home and hospitality contract furnishings showroom and exhibit space, exceeding the size of any trade merchandise mart in the United States. Andrew Gajdamowicz, of Lord Selkirk Furniture in Winnipeg, Canada, was one of thousands of attendees who said the opening of Building C and its 2.1 million square feet of showroom space made an enormous difference in his Market experience. “With the addition of Building C, World Market Center is much nicer and bigger. Not to mention, it’s easier to see all the exhibitors here. Overall, World Market Center is a beautiful and fun environment.” “Las Vegas is becoming more and more important,” according to Scott Reid, chief marketing officer of Lenoir, N.C. - based Broyhill Furniture Industries, Inc. “Having all the buildings on one campus makes it clean, new and fresh. Everything is integrated together. We were very pleased with the traffic we received, and written business was up because we introduced a lot of new products.” Support for World Market Center Las Vegas came out in droves throughout the day on July 28—the largest day in the market’s seven show history. During the thrilling global-themed ribbon cutting, complete with confetti and a sea of waving flags representing various countries from the world, actress Susan Anton stood in the wings with World Market Center’s management looking on. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman extolled the project and its contribution to the renaissance of downtown Las Vegas. “This is an amazing project,” Mayor Goodman said, commending management and everyone in attendance for contributing to its success. Following the spectacular ribbon-cutting to mark the official opening of Building C, Grammy Award-winner Rod Stewart put an exclamation point on what was already the industry’s biggest night with a high-energy performance exclusively for Market attendees. More than 12,000 buyers, designers and exhibitors came together for the free and exclusive concert, which featured many of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame star’s greatest hits. The multi-platinum artist kept the crowd cheering, dancing and singing along well into the evening. According to Maricich, “No one could have imagined that in three years we would be at this point. At a time when people are looking at the glass being half empty we are playing to win.” He added, “All of the necessary ingredients for doing big things are in place. Our owners have enormous resources, they have enormous passion for what we are doing and they are really smart people. That is the recipe for changing everything.” And one ingredient to that recipe is good, old-fashioned fun according to Maricich. Market-goers don’t just come to Las Vegas for the provocative ideas and cutting-edge products. The event is also about having a good time. “In these challenging economic times, we felt we owed it out our exhibitors to pull out all of the stops,” says Maricich. “We brought Rod Stewart to Las Vegas, in partnership with Serta, as a show of optimism and a celebration of fellowship.” One-of-a-Kind Personalities, Products and Prizes Topped Market Week Las Vegas’ star power attracted an impressive roster of celebrity licensees including Nicole Miller, Donald Trump, Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, Kathy Ireland, Kelly Preston and more. Kathy Ireland, who has over 20 brand partners worldwide, says she is encouraging all of her brand partners to show in Las Vegas. “World Market Center was built with great vision and integrity and it’s exciting to see what has happened in a short amount of time. It is bringing people together from all over the world and that is truly exciting in this industry,” she said. Nicole Miller, who attended Las Vegas Market for the first time, showing her collection at Excelsior Designs, was equally impressed for her first visit to World Market Center, saying, “I think (World Market Center) is a great venue. I love the architecture of it and I think it’s going to be a great draw. It’s so central, everybody can come here and see so many things at one time because it so huge.” She added, “I think Las Vegas is going to be the Mecca for certain industries and certainly the furniture industry. It’s going to become very, very important.” Las Vegas Market’s second “Design Icon” award recipient, Larry Laslo, who is one of the foremost product designers in the world that embraces an eclectic, “livable contemporary” style, was honored at a reception on July 31. Commenting on his Las Vegas Market experience, Laslo says, “It was the most wonderful week of lectures, concerts, dinners, design stars, rock stars, showrooms and new products I’ve seen in a Market!” Tomorrow’s cutting-edge designers were also soaking up the Las Vegas spotlight. Jessica Konawicz of Raleigh, N.C. and Jittasak Narknisorn of Woodland Hills, Calif. won the top prizes in the first-ever “One Good Chair International Design Awards” that were held at the July Las Vegas Market and co-sponsored by Las Vegas Design Center at World Market Center Las Vegas, the Sustainable Furniture Council and Western Interiors & Design magazine. With over 300 entries received from all around the world, the program encouraged entrants to contribute their vision for a new kind of “eco-chair” that focuses first and foremost on form. “The One Good Chair competition challenged designers to push existing paradigms for the design and manufacture of chairs. Ultimately that is what makes this competition fresh and interesting and why we chose to sponsor it,” said Maricich. “We see it as our role to be a thought leader for the industry, to inspire tomorrow’s designers and to help them imagine the possibilities.” The Winter 2009 Las Vegas Market is scheduled for Feb. 9 to 13, 2009. For more information, please visit www.LasVegasMarket.com. About World Market Center Las Vegas: World Market Center Las Vegas is an integrated home and hospitality contract furnishings showroom and trade complex in Las Vegas. With the opening of Building C, World Market Center now stands at more than five million square feet of space, exceeding the size of any trade merchandise mart in the United States. When fully built, at 12 million square feet in 8 buildings, World Market Center will be the largest trade show complex in the world. The $3 billion, state-of-the-art campus will showcase furniture, decorative accessories, gift, lighting, area rugs, home textile and related segments, as well as the Las Vegas Design Center (LVDC), open year-round.

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