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High Point Market Reports Buyer Registration Number For Fall Show

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The High Point Market Authority reported that as anticipated given the uncertain economy, the number of validated buyer registrations at the Fall 2008 Market—44,634—was down 2,534 or just under 6 percent from the previous Market. Total registrations—76,403—a figure which includes exhibitors, sales personnel, students, press and other industry members, declined by nearly 7 percent. The good news is that more than 8,800 buyers registered for the first time and more than 2,000 buyers returned to Market following an absence of more than one year. “From the softened housing market to bloated inventories, tightening credit and the melt-down on Wall Street, home furnishings professionals across the industry have been struggling to cope with some of the most difficult business conditions they have ever encountered and Market registrations reflect this,” says Brian D. Casey, president and chief executive officer of the High Point Market Authority, official sponsor of the High Point Market: The World’s Home for Home Furnishings. “Across all categories, and all facets of the business, we are seeing unprecedented change. Our industry is contracting and consolidating in ways never before experienced.” While thousands of full-line furniture stores have closed their doors in the past five years alone, new channels of distribution are arising and growing in importance. “The complexion of the marketplace is changing” Casey relates. “At the High Point Market, we’re focusing on attracting new buying organizations and constituencies such as interior designers. At the same time, we’re reaching out to buyers who have not registered in some time and encouraging them to experience all the changes that we have instituted throughout the past two years.” Buyer Registration Success Stories According to Casey, the strategy is working in spite of economic conditions: - 8,844 buyers registered for the first time. - Another 2,107 returned following absences one year or more. - New buyers included 618 international buyers and 3,023 new interior designers. - 1,612 international buyers from around the globe registered. - 14,931 interior designers registered. “These buyers found the full breadth of product introductions in every category, at every price point, including the world’s greatest collection of high-end, one-of-a-kind showrooms,” Casey continues. “They also enjoyed the strong sense of community that only the High Point Market offers. They know that High Point is the Market of choice for home furnishings professionals looking for new strategies, ideas and significant competitive advantage. They know that High Point is where the world chooses to conduct business because it’s the only Market with the stature to draw the executive leadership of both buyers and sellers. And, they used their time here to work together to find solutions.” The Most Efficient Market to Work Through This Together Indeed, the executive says, “Many characterized the mood at Market as surprisingly upbeat, and it was. Exhibitors, buyers and suppliers made a choice to stay positive and focused on the future of their businesses despite the current economic pressures. Buyers saw the product they will purchase when business improves, and they reached out to learn from industry leaders—seeking connections during the days and evenings at hundreds of seminars, parties and Market-wide networking events where attendance was robust, often with sell-out crowds.” He sums: “When times are tough, buyers and sellers stick with the partners they can trust and count on. For nearly a century, in good times and in bad, the High Point Market has been a trusted partner to home furnishings professionals. Our Market is the platform where leaders from around the world come together to strategize about how to deal with current business conditions and to find ways to work through troubled times together. As we head toward our 100th Anniversary, rest assured we’re working hard to help lead the industry through these tough times and ensure that our Market will continue to support the industry’s business needs in the years to come.” About the High Point Market Authority: The High Point Market Authority is the official sponsor of the High Point Market in High Point, North Carolina. Featuring an extensive selection of exhibitors spanning every category, style and price point and attracting tens of thousands of visitors from more than 110 countries twice each year, the High Point Market is the driving force of the home furnishings industry.

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