14385 Fri, 05/02/2008 - 4:23pm
By David Gill
LAS VEGAS–The third edition of the Global Home Textiles show will take place this week in an uncertain economic climate.
According to Penny Sikalis, vice president of GLM, the show’s owner and manager, more than 300 textiles companies from around the world will exhibit their wares at this week’s show, up from about 250 at least year’s show in Orlando, Fla,. Attendee traffic is also expected to rise.
“Based on pre-registration figures, the traffic should be way ahead of last year,” Sikalis said.
The weakness of the global market has elevated the importance of the show, according to Sikalis. “Exhibitors have adjusted their expectations to the shape of the world economy,” she said. “They know they have to be present and visible in the U.S. market.”
“We have been closely watching this fair since it happened in Miami a couple of years back, and I have seen it growing in terms of its presence as well as the quality of its buyers,” said Alok Bidasaria, president of Bidasaria Exports of India. “For a global company like ours whose forte has not been the U.S., Global Home Textiles, where most of the U.S. buyers attend and source goods from, is a strong platform for us.”
Other companies also felt that the opportunity to meet and greet those who might buy from them is a major part of the value of Global Home Textiles. “As far as the economic climate, I think we need to brace ourselves for some bumps ahead and do everything we can to acquire new relationships,” said Peter Trezoglou, president of Daisy House Towels, a U.S.-based importer. “We expect the show to have a positive impact and will strive to do so by finding new strong business relationships that help not only our business, but the business of the new customers we acquire.”
Farooq Ehsan, managing partner of Premier Towels of Pakistan, said, “We expect that the Global Home Textiles show would help us to meet new buyers and importers of the U.S.A. I am very much hopeful that we shall meet new buyers and that our U.S. business shall increase considerably (as a result of the show).”
With all of the optimism regarding this year’s show, exhibitors also see the difficulties in the economic environment. According to Bidasaria, the sluggish world economy and the fear of traveling abroad has slowed the attendance of U.S. buyers at various trade shows across the Asia-Pacific region. “It has also been observed that most of these trade fairs are now being attended by the buying agents rather than the buyers themselves,” he said.
Local conditions aren’t helping the business for some vendors either. “If the cotton crop is not reduced this year, the business would be better,” Ehsan said. “As some of the crop growers may switch to another profitable crop in the countries where the cotton crop is not subsidized, it will result in an overall shortage of cotton production.” This, presumably, would make the global textiles business that much more difficult by raising production costs.
To help smooth the exhibitors’ and attendees’ path to a better business climate, GLM has added several features to this year’s Global Home Textiles. A Global Home Decor section will launch at the show, featuring hard home-decor items such as frames, accent furniture, mirrors and decorative accessories. Sikalis said this section will have close to 50 exhibitors, and some participation from the Gourmet Housewares Show and the National Hardware Show, which are also taking place this week.
The Luxe Living section will also open its doors at this week’s show. This consists of resources that include companies from Egypt, Italy, India and Turkey, which were chosen based on their products, price points, quality of merchandise and service, Sikalis said.
The Egyptian companies in Luxe Living will have their own pavilion. In addition, there will be a Pakistani pavilion of 30 exhibitors, sponsored by the Pakistan Trade Development Authority and consisting of companies that already do business in the United States and are looking to expand, along with companies that are trying to enter the U.S. market for the first time.
GLM has also slated a conference program for the show featuring four seminars and five “country spotlights” that will address sourcing-related topics in the global home-furnishings business. “We’ve also introduced a match-making service that will identify exhibitors that attendees would be most interested in,” Sikalis said. “It’s based on criteria such as products, manufacturing capabilities and price points, along with how long that particular exhibitor has been in business.”