HIGH POINT — High Point Market organizers say they’re upbeat about the fall trade show even as the home furnishings industry continues to struggle with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Preliminary registration figures indicate attendance should be up for this Market, which opens Saturday, over the spring event, said Tom Conley, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority.
“I think everybody is excited about the concert on Friday, so, all in all, I think the mood’s pretty good,” he said. “Of course, a lot of exhibitors are very concerned about the whole supply-chain issue, so that’s going to be the downer for this Market.”
The market authority hosts the band Fitz and the Tantrums at Truist Point stadium Friday night in a concert that is open to the public.
The supply-chain slowdown hampering furniture importers is not showing any signs of improving, Conley said.
Many overseas furniture products come from manufacturing hubs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, and many factories there have been closed at various times because of the virus.
Conley said this is one of many factors impacting the supply chain.
“There’s just so many things they have to resolve,” he said. “Not the least of which is the port situation in Long Beach (California), the availability of containers, the availability of trucks here domestically. If you could script a logistical nightmare, this is it.”
Spring Market was in June instead of April to allow more time for attendees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We’re seeing a lot of designers coming to this Market like we saw in June. The larger retailers pretty much have their business done. That’s not to say that the larger retailers won’t show up, but they probably won’t stay as long as they have in the past,” he said. “The larger retailers are so plugged into the supply-chain issues, I think this will be a market more for the designers and for those middle to lower-end retailers who probably don’t have the same priorities that some of the larger retailers do.”
Since the pandemic, there have been virtually no international buyers at Market, but that is starting to open up.
“We’re seeing an influx of Canadians for this Market that we haven’t seen before, as well as some from South America and the Caribbean,” Conley said. “Europe and Asia are still basically shut down, but we are seeing a little more international. Our hope is that it will all be behind us come the April Market.”
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