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RETAILERS BOUND FOR MARKETS WANT IT NEW AND WANT IT NOW.

NEW YORK-Talk about some tough customers!

Retailers readying their shopping lists for High Point, N.C., and the home textiles market here for the most part already know which manufacturers they are going to see. They know which constructions and styles sell well in their stores, but that is hardly enough.

Show us something new, retailers are always saying. Take a tried-and-true traditional and update it. Where's the next Tommy Bahama that doesn't look exactly like a Tommy Bahama? Give us something fresh, they say.

"We use High Point to let [rug vendors] show us what's new in fashion and help us see where fashion is going," said John Murse, a design consultant for Rugs As Art in Sarasota, Fla. The store sells traditional handmades and contemporary rugs in hand-tufted and machine-made constructions.

While he hesitated to play favorites -- "I represent 97 vendors in my store" -- he will be going to High Point looking for handmades from Masterlooms and Feizy and machine-mades from Oriental Weavers, Milliken and Couristan, among others, he said.

"We still do a lot with the lodge and coastal looks. We're still selling the Tommy Bahama look, but we'd be thrilled to see something new," said Mariann Rand, merchandising manager for Potpourri catalog, who will be shopping in New York showrooms on Fifth Avenue for accent rugs and mats.

"Everyone right now in the vendor community is introducing more and more transitional and contemporary styles, because there's only so many Sarouks, Tabrizes and panels," said Keith Arlinghaus, floor covering buyer for Rich's/Lazarus/Goldsmith's, who will be shopping High Point. "So there's a bigger selection [in contemporary], but that's only about 10 percent of my business. Traditional is basically our bread and butter. I'm still on the lookout for updated traditional looks. Nourison is doing a great job with Versailles Palace."

Arlinghaus is also looking for traditional colors, such as red and ivory, as well as black. "Black is having a big push," he said. "The top three best-selling styles in Nourison 2000 are in black."

Bob Gehrke, owner of Houston-based Brass N' Such Rug & Home, will be shopping the High Point market for rugs that will coordinate with his Western-style furniture. "But I don't like to call that look Southwestern," he said.

The term "Southwestern" is limited to Navajo styles, Gehrke said, which don't sell as well in Texas as they do in other parts of the Southwest.

Gehrke is looking for Afghan tribal looks, Soumaks and kilims. "We're selling the tar out of Soumak rugs," he said.

"I manufacture very high-end ostrich, gator and leather furniture, and I don't want to put an Oriental rug in front of it," he said. "Everyone in New York is Persian, Persian, Persian. West of the Mississippi, people are looking for Western and tribal looks."

Feizy and Kalaty Rug Corp. are a couple of the suppliers that Gehrke plans to visit.

Sara Smiley, a buyer for The Paragon, a mail-order gift and home accessories catalog, said Lacey Mills and Nourison are a few of the suppliers she plans to visit at the New York home textiles market.

"We're working on spring 2003, so I'll be looking for really fresh, light-colored floral designs," Smiley said. "I've seen some nice multiflower and bouquet [designs]. We did a lot with hydrangeas last year, so I'm not looking for them, per se."

"We typically look for wool and cotton hooks, indoor and outdoor mats, and bath rugs," Smiley said.

"We build roomscapes, so we're looking for rugs that make the [bed and bath] collections complete and support the Eddie Bauer Home point of view," said Harvey Kanter, vice president of Eddie Bauer Home.

"Seventy percent of my store is more contemporary," said Perry Sigesmund, owner of Perlora, a furniture store in Pittsburgh. "Dellarobbia has almost everything I need; I don't have to jump ship often, but I will also look at Masterlooms."

Sigesmund said Dellarobbia's contemporary line, which is hand-tufted in 100 percent New Zealand wool, works especially well with his leather furniture.

At the last market, he zeroed in on crimson and red colors, which have been selling well in his store, and he had been showing purple on his floor, but now is moving back to earth tones, including off-whites and gray.
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Comment:RETAILERS BOUND FOR MARKETS WANT IT NEW AND WANT IT NOW.
Author:Honores, Crystal; White, Jennifer
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 15, 2002
Words:711
Previous Article:SOLIDS GET SPRUCED UP FOR MARKET.
Next Article:CONTEMPORARY FURNITURE FAIR TO OFFER GLOBAL TAKE ON DESIGN.
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