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A FAIR SHOWING? EXHIBITORS HOPE A STRONG HIGH POINT APRIL MARKET TRANSLATES TO BETTER BUSINESS AT SHOWTIME.

HIGH POINT, N.C.-With more exhibitors, more preregistered buyers and more booked appointments, organizers and vendors are hoping for a strong Showtime fabric fair here this week.

The International Textile Market Association, organizer of the biannual event, is boasting a 19 percent increase in membership and 25 percent increase in preregistered attendance over the winter show held in January.

"The show is becoming more and more important," said Catherine Morsell, associate director of ITMA. Showtime attendance may get a boost because of declines at other national shows, including Heimtextil Americas.

Attendance doesn't always equal orders, however. "People come to do a lot of tire kicking," said Bob Patton, vice president of sales and marketing for P/Kaufmann.

But overall, the tone is optimistic. "Business is beginning to show signs of a better life," said Sidney Steiner, executive vice president of Blumenthal Printworks. "[High Point] market in April was more active."

A strong High Point April market, however, doesn't necessarily translate into better business at Showtime.

"It can be confusing," said Jeff Thomases, owner and founder of Associated Textile Converters Inc., the parent company of Swavelle/Mill Creek. "There is not necessarily a correlation with April furniture market sell-through."

Exhibitors will be putting their best fabrics forward, regardless. "We've put a great deal of emphasis on specialized color and design, as well as merchandising our collections," said Kim Grimsley, furniture accounts design director for Craftex Mills. "Our buyers seem to be embracing freshness as well as the diversity of fabrics."

Fresh colors could affect consumer moods, too. "You are going to see a lot of bright, happy colors," said Patton. "A lot of yellow, reds and colors from the purple family, like lilac."

Women in particular have been on designers' minds. "Colors will be soft, herbal-stained, pretty, more feminine and in a washed finish," said Dietra Smith, vice president of design for Mastercraft Fabrics.

Soft hand is still very much in demand, but buyers should expect a little more variety. "We are continuing to expand our chenille damask offering," said Susan DeLong, design director for Blumenthal Printworks. "These products combine chenille character with the lustre of damask."

"It will be interesting to see if brown chenille still dominates the market," said Patton at P/Kaufmann.

Washed cottons may step in to fill chenille's shoes. "There's still a focus on hand as we wean the consumer off chenille," said Smith at Mastercraft."It's something we need to be cognizant of."
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Comment:A FAIR SHOWING? EXHIBITORS HOPE A STRONG HIGH POINT APRIL MARKET TRANSLATES TO BETTER BUSINESS AT SHOWTIME.
Author:Newby, Leslie
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 8, 2002
Words:409
Previous Article:CORRECTION.
Next Article:TOP BUYERS: EXPERIENCE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN SELECTIONS.
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