HIGH POINT – There was a lot of talk about what’s to come in 2023 at the recent High Point Market in regards to recession, supply chain, sustainability, and consumer discretionary income.
However, initial reactions to what many are calling the first “truly normal” market since COVID have been mostly positive, and these three leaders are already planning what’s next.
Gabriele Natale, Manwah United States
Manwah introduced Edge to this market, completing the manufacturer’s merchandising grid for retailers with a price point that falls between MW Home and Cheers. Natale noted that Edge adds flexibility to the business, allowing it to provide retailers with the product needed for current consumer demand.
“Edge has been extremely well received,” Natale told Furniture Today. “The new division completed our price grid story with the same story of quality in each division. We will continue to tell the story in the same way in the future, showing the differences between the brands and demonstrating the opportunities for our retailers.
Natale said retailers who visited the showroom during High Point Market were planning for the first and second quarters of 2023 with “fresh looks and quality products” with “very few exceptions.” Manwah’s simplified grid story message of “best comfort, quality and value starting at $599 and going up to $7,999 retail” worked for all brands.
“Addressing each price level allows you to follow market fluctuations,” he said. “The market down equates to more promotions; market is equal to a higher-end product. We produce best-in-class value for all brands, and that’s not changing. Whatever the challenges of 2023, quality products with values will always make the difference.
Roy Calcagne, master craftsman of furniture
In Craftmaster’s showroom, the mood of buyers was “very good”, according to Calcagne, who added that it was “nice not to talk about delivery and deadlines”.
“We are now back to pre-COVID timelines,” Calcagne said. “The conversation was about new products for refreshing floors that have seen little update in two years.”
Buyers are concerned about the fourth quarter and the 2023 economy, but they’re also optimistic, Calcagne said.
“Retailers still have a lot of inventory in stock which has impacted order rates, but business is still good so they are moving that inventory,” he told Furniture Today. “They’re optimistic about new merchandise on their floors and aren’t so concerned about delivery times anymore.”
Craftmaster’s CM Modern category has been a big hit with retailers, as has the Design Option M9.
“We had a great response to our CM Modern category which was front and center,” he said. “Buyers loved the fabrics and color tones that became more earthy, such as camel, caramel, terracotta, cognac and more. Texture and hand are also very important. Frames with shape and curves worked well.And the Design Option M9 program to create your own program was fantastic.It approaches the starting price with a more modern style direction.
Calcagne said his team expects modern designs to continue to be an influence, along with casual lifestyle groups and an increased interest in color. He added that the upcoming Interwoven textile show will be a source of trend information for his team, explaining that the goal of creating looks that sell is a priority.
“We will be looking at each lifestyle category in our line and planning new introductions that will fill in the gaps,” he said. “We’ll be on trend with new intros, but as always, make sure they’re sellable.”
Brian Berk, Howard Elliott
Oversized accessories were a big hit in the Howard Elliott showroom, and contemporary/transitional lifestyle pieces were among the most popular design aesthetics. Berk said his team plans to add “lots of abstract shapes and a splash of color” in spring 2023, along with “lighter wood and marble tones and infused colors in bright, bold colors.”
“Buyers’ mood was surprisingly upbeat during the market,” he said. “We thought we were going to hear about their issues with overflowing inventory, and they were in the mood to buy! We sold a lot of accessories and shoppers were excited to see lots of oversized accessories and new products.