16080 Mon, 02/02/2009 - 6:35pm
By Andrea Lillo
While consumers have backed off of buying new homes for now, they will refresh their current homes and decorative accessories are the easy way to do so, manufacturers say. Multifunctional pieces and wall decor are two areas that perform well now, they add.
In addition, manufacturers find that retailers that continue to flow in new merchandise are also seeing results.
“If retailers want to stay in business, you have to have newness,” said Jonathan Bass, chief executive officer of PTM Images. “Those that went on sale at the end of last year, they didn’t have new merchandise, and then it becomes a price game.” And it’s hard then to compete with stores going out of business as they have competitive pricing, he added.
Wall decor is performing well right now, Bass said, because it’s one of “the cheapest ways to fix up a home cost-effectively.” Unlike manufacturers of hard case goods and lighting, he added, wall decor is a “very easy redecorate option.”
Everything at the Las Vegas Market will be brand new, Bass said. “There’s nothing from the last show.” The company will show 300 introductions, as well as debut 100 SKUs in its Walt Disney Signature line.
For decorative accessories, the more functional items are doing well, said Daniel Edelist, CEO of Nova. For example, Nova has one piece that is sculptural but has illumination, so it provides lighting as well. “It justifies the sale,” he said. Overall, “Decorative accessories are more whimsical than the lighting category.” The key is differentiation, he said, and retailers go to Nova for original design. “We don’t get price pressures like other companies,” he said. “Buyers come to us for newness.”
This will be the second market for Elements Home Decor, the new division from Lifetime Brands. With 10 collections debuting, the focus for Elements will be on Urban Jungle, an interpretation of animal skins with a New York City loft approach, said Richard Moser, senior category manager. Containing about 80 items, Urban Jungle will incorporate a number of materials, such as metallics, mosaics, metals and wood. Adjunct collections will include the leopard side table collection, which Moser described as “very rich and ornate,” and a Safari tabletop and lighting collection.
The economy has led people to pick more traditional looks, Moser said, and colors they already have in their homes. “It allows them to update in a small way,” he said. In addition, product has become price- and value-driven, and compared with Elements’ initial collection last July, this market will see more affordable items, he said. In addition, wall decor is an area that is up significantly from last year, he said. At some leading retailers, he added, “you don’t see art on the wall anymore, but collections,” and of abstract designs or in metal. “People can change the mood of the home easier by replacing a painting,” he said, and that’s what they are doing. As a result, “We’re not focusing on printed art, but handmade art,” he said.