Inventory Shuffle & the October Market
A lot of people are asking if this October market in High Point will be the
first one that looks something like normal. Do you remember normal? I don’t.
Markets have historically been the place for dealers to find what’s new and
order products in advance so they can plan their inventory flow for the
coming months. COVID made an absolute mess of that process in different
Not Much New
First, clunky supply chains and reduced merchandise flow forced Market
exhibitors to rearrange their showrooms to cover up the holes where new
items would have been in more normal times. There were few new introductions
to see—and there still aren’t in many cases. Lots of home furnishings
retailers looked at that and thought, why should I travel to see the same
merchandise? Instead, they bought up whatever was available and as much of
it as possible. Their inventory grew and forced most to expand their
warehouse space to accommodate it.
Just as the supply chain began to get back into sync and start moving,
inflation hit, and demand took a nosedive. Now there are retailers with more
inventory than they need, and orders they placed months ago are arriving.
It’s crazy. Furniture retailers have become incredibly creative at unloading
their inventory glut. Some who I’ve spoken to have used over-inventoried
items as promotional draws to create interest and drive traffic. I’m sure
you’ve noticed all of those “in stock now” promotions. Sometimes, they
position those same items to bridge their regular-priced inventory with
clearance merchandise. It’s very important right now to get product moving
out of the front door as more is coming in the back.
High Point Market
I am not sure where that leaves our conversation about the October High
Point Market. It feels great seeing friendly faces as we have at the last
couple of markets; however, the numbers have not been there. Maybe Fall 2022
will finally see the return of robust foot traffic. We know there will be
more new merchandise available, so the question is, how much capacity do
retailers have right now to take it on?
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