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From Home Furnishing Business

Casual Market Reports Growth

The International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market reported positive feedback regarding attendance and increased industry growth.

The Casual Market was held at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Sept. 17-20. Show management reported attendance of qualified buyers, retailers and other industry professionals increased by more than 6 percent compared with last year’s show; and many participating manufacturers reported tremendous sales growth and positive responses to product debuts.

“The increase in attendance, positive sales performances reported by manufacturers and investment by manufacturers in their showroom presentations and product collections at this year’s show reflects the positive, overall growth of the casual industry and the Casual Market,” said Jaclyn Kelly, senior director of marketing for the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market/MMPI. 

MMPI, which has continued to expand the casual industry, most notably by more than 33% today as compared to 2007, unveiled two redesigned floors during this year’s Casual Market. Several new permanent tenants were added that offered show-goers a wide range of new outdoor furnishings and accessories, including Alfresco Home, Lifestyles by Lloyd Flanders, Mamagreen USA, Panama Jack Outdoor, Paragon Casual and Samsonite Outdoor Furniture / Aria. Three showrooms also expanded and relocated their showrooms including Gensun Casual, Patio Renaissance by Sunlord Leisure Products, and Poly-Wood Inc. 

Temporary exhibitors at the Market also reported a successful show. Nearly 40 new exhibitors joined the Market for the first time, and retailers commented on the wide array of product categories and improved merchandising displays represented on the temporary show floor.

“The response this year to not only the new products Pride Family Brands introduced at the Casual Market, but the show in general was tremendous,” said Steve Lowsky, president of Pride Family Brands. "The Merchandise Mart and the coordinated efforts of the Casual Market always provide great opportunities to connect with our family of retail and industry partners."

Bew White, president of Summer Classics, said the company “experienced exponential growth in early buy activity.” White also was impressed by the level of qualified buyers and dealers at the September.

“The market was the best I have seen in my 35-year career in the casual industry." he said. "I evidence that by the number of new faces in the showroom I had never seen, and the willingness of those clients to place orders either at the show or the week after.”

“We are extremely pleased with the turnout and quality of attendance,” said Cap Hendrix, president and CEO of Tropitone.

Similarly, Brown Jordan, one of the 2013 Merchandising Excellence Winners for showroom design, was also pleased with how the Casual Market turned out.

“We are happy with our new showroom and our location on the new 15th Floor,” said Steve Elton, chief brand officer for Brown Jordan. "We also launched quite a few new collections that were well received and our showroom was extremely busy with attendees throughout the show."

Many temporary exhibitors said they experienced the same positive outcome.

“The Casual Furniture Market was a fantastic experience for my company. As a small specialty family business, it is important for us to be seen in the same arena as the larger companies,” said Susie Powell, owner of Three Coins Cast.

“This year’s Casual Market was a great and productive experience for ITPC Chicago,” said Reza Chairul, director of ITPC Chicago. "Furniture is one of Indonesia's largest industries, and the Casual Market show was a beneficial venue for us to exhibit and showcase our teak wood and outdoor furniture."

Chris Bruning, president of Groovystuff, offered a similar response as other exhibitors pertaining to the fact productive networking connections were created during the show.

“The launch of the Made in America ‘Patriot Collection’ was outside the traditional category of casual furniture, and the written orders we received at market put the wheels in motion to invest in this new material for years to come,” he said.

The Casual Market is endorsed and sponsored by the International Causal Furnishings Association.

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