Spring furniture market yields mixed results

tupelo_furniture_marketBy Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Some of the preregistered buyers for the Tupelo Furniture Market showed up on Sunday, just as several vendors were preparing to wrap up the spring market.

Still, some were able to get some buying done, despite the fact many showrooms had closed at the end of business on Saturday.

It’s a battle market officials have fought for years, but they put a positive spin on the issue.

“For some companies, they’ve gotten enough orders to fill and they really don’t have the capacity to add more,” said market president Kevin Seddon.

And the fact is, while the market officially starts on Thursday and ends Sunday, some of the bigger retail buyers are in as early as Monday or Tuesday, and are long gone by the time the weekend arrives.

Tupelo Furniture Market chairman and owner V.M. Cleveland said he was pleased overall with the market, though he did acknowledge attendance wasn’t as brisk as anticipated.

“Most of the exhibitors we talked to had a good market, but there were some that didn’t do as well as they would have liked or as well as we would have liked them to have done,” he said. “I think the weather did impact our attendance some, and you can talk to some of the exhibitors and they’ll tell you about some cancellations from people they had expected to see. But the buyers who were here were placing orders and were happy with the product they were seeing.”

Market officials had said preregistration for the market was up about 30 percent, but it was clear those numbers didn’t pan out. The threat – and reality – of severe weather did affect attendance some.

Affordable Furniture of Houlka was among some of the companies pleased with the turnout, however, having landed key retailers in their sprawling Building III showroom.

“We were really pleased with the market,” said CEO Jim Sneed.

Others, though, said there wasn’t enough steady traffic to generate the sales they needed.

“A combination of weather and markets on top of each other caused some buyers not to attend,” said Dwight Hardison, vice president of marketing for Simon Li Furniture.

Hardison was referring to the Las Vegas Market, which wrapped up its winter market exactly a week before Tupelo started. He and several other exhibitors said having the markets so close together was a tough challenge to overcome.

“If you went to Vegas last week and got what you needed, there’s really no point to coming to Tupelo a week later,” said one company official that asked not to be identified. “Tupelo’s still a good market, but they need to do something about the timing.”

Cody Sewell of A&C Imports of Dallas had few complaints about the Tupelo spring market, but said several new exhibitors were hurt by lower-than-expected attendance. Some he talked to said they were not going to return for a second showing.

“I hate that for them, and I wish they’d give the market another chance,” he said.

The fall market will be Aug. 14-17.

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FALL FURNITURE MARKET

• Aug. 14-17

• Pre-registration begins March 2

• For more information, call (662) 842-4442 or visit www.tupelofurnituremarket.com