Attendance was also down at the Fall High Point Market, the furniture industry’s trade show held in High Point, N.C.
Buyer registration decreased about 6 percent to 44,634 and total registration — which includes exhibitors, sales personnel, students and press — declined by nearly 7 percent to 76,403, compared to the spring show.
“From the softened housing market to bloated inventories, tightening credit and the meltdown 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,” said Brian D. Casey, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority, which sponsors the show, in a press release. “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.”
The good news, according to Casey, was the more than 8,800 first-time registrants and more than 2,000 buyers who returned to the show following an absence of more than one year.
“Many characterized the mood at Market as surprisingly upbeat, and it was,” added Casey. “Exhibitors, buyers and suppliers made a choice to stay positive and focused on the future of their business 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.”
This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue.