Pent-up demand could spur furniture market orders

TUPELO – For the fall Tupelo Furniture Market, timing is everything.
This week’s market, officially scheduled to run Friday through Sunday, is a month ahead of the Las Vegas Market and two months in front of High Point’s Fall Market.
“The outlook for this market is OK,” said TFM Chairman V.M. Cleveland. “Our preregistration is in line with our last market, and we know several big retailers are going to attend. We think the numbers have a lot to do with the big gap between our market and the others.
“I think that’s caused more buyers and retailers to want to come to our market to get product instead of having to wait.”
Some exhibitors at the market, now in its 22nd year, also have reasonable expectations that they’ll fill a few more orders than usual. The August event traditionally has been the weaker of the twice-yearly markets, but some company executives think it might be a little different this go-around.
“I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised by attendance, particularly the attendance of some of the bigger dealers that are coming,” said Jim Sneed, CEO of Affordable Furniture. “I think there’s some pent-up demand. Now I’m not saying this is going to be the greatest market ever, by any means, but I do think it’ll be better than most August markets.”
Jay Quimby, vice president of sales for United Furniture, said that many retailers are looking to stock up now to prepare for the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2010.
“A lot of them can’t wait until September or October, and Tupelo is still the place for upholstery,” Quimby said.
The market, despite declining attendance, remains an important show for the furniture industry.
Cleveland said several buyers are returning to Tupelo after a prolonged absence, and other buyers and retailers are visiting Tupelo for the first time.
“I think that’s a good sign that we’ll have a pretty good market,” he said.
Southern Motion CEO Guy Lipscomb, said he, too, expects a good market even though the economy is still soft and consumers are still holding back on furniture purchases.
“We don’t need to ignore the 10 percent of people who are unemployed, but I do think we have to go after that 90 percent that is working and get them buying again,” he said.
And while the market opens officially on Friday, many of the bigger retail buyers will be visiting as early as Monday.
“As far as we’re concerned, we’re going to be ready to do business Monday,” Lipscomb said.

Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@djournal.com.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal