Leather Italia’s new Vander motion sofa has top-grain leather on all touch areas, power head and foot and USB charging point.
LAS VEGAS — An effort to keep up with furious demand in the past couple of months and COVID-19’s effect on buyers’ travel put a damper on the amount of new upholstery overall coming out during this summer’s Las Vegas Market.
Several major exhibitors have announced they won’t be opening their showroom in response to major accounts saying they won’t be attending the show this time around. Many upholstery resources still planning to open up are counting on regional, drive-in attendance. A bright side for those that are open is that there’ll be less competition for those buyers that do show up.
That said, some upholstery vendors have significant introductions, and they are figuring out new ways to get those goods in front of retailers in view of anticipated light attendance.
For example, while Abbyson’s executive team will be on hand to visit by appointment with retailers at Las Vegas Market in person, the bulk of tours will be virtual with more than 100 are scheduled so far. The company has a lot to show, with 30 new upholstery groups, as well as 10 new case goods collections, 100 new accents and 10 new groups for outdoor furniture.
“We’re setting up the showroom and merchandising the way we always would,” said CEO Rodd Rafieha. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand, and we know retailers need fresh goods, but we had to be strategic in finding new, creative ways to reach buyers this time around,” referring to the virtual tours.
Those tours will be conducted live with individual remote buyers, including both retailers and designers.
“We’ve capped the number of virtual tours at over 100, and we’ll have the executive team on hand to conduct the tours so that we can focus on quality, individualized presentations,” Rafieha said.
Ready for whatever happens
Markets have been problematic all year with cancellations of China’s Guangzhou show, Premarket in High Point and the April High Point Market itself, followed by Las Vegas Market’s postponement. That hasn’t kept Kuka Home from taking a market-ready approach in all cases, and the same goes for Las Vegas.
“Our strategy has been to be fully prepared for a market if and when it happens,” said Kuka Home North America President Steve Lush. “We do realize Vegas likely will be lightly attended, so we’re bringing less new product than usual.”
Kuka will show 12 new upholstery frames and covers, and while those had been slated for April launch, it’s the first time they’ll have been seen at market. “We’ll be open for appointment only, and during the times specified by the market,” Lush said. “The showroom is completely full of product and accessorized.”
In stationary, Kuka’s new goods will continue its expansion from its historic base in European contemporary styles to encompass more casual, transitional seating. “We also continue to develop a lot of new accent chairs. Dining chairs, barstools and storage ottomans,” he added. “In motion, we’ll keep bringing out products with more style that look more like stationary. That’s been very well received.”
Leather Italia’s introductions in Las Vegas include two new motion groups and three new stationary offerings, and an effort from management and the sales force resulted in bookings that appear to make the most out of attendance. According to CEO Michael Campbell, the company has 137 confirmed in-person buyer appointments, including 65 buyers from East of the Mississippi.
“The important thing for our team — we’ll all be present — is to begin working with and responding to the realities of how markets will be conducted now,” Campbell said. “We have to re-engage and be as efficient, prepared and accommodating as possible. Our company doesn’t respond to what may or may not happen; we feel we can be successful under any conditions or protocols.”
New product still counts
Ekornes President Peter Bjerregaard expects light attendance, but the showroom will be open by appointment in anticipation of some local and West Coast customers attending. In addition to regular cleaning and sanitizing in the showroom, the company will offer “Stressless” masks to customers.
There’ll also be new product: It will be the first time at market for two new Stressless recliners at opening price points. Stressless “Mike” and “Max,” Bjerregaard said, “are unique and innovative motorized recliners like nothing else on the market.”
The chairs look like regular recliners, but feature Stressless technical innovation and sleek Scandinavian style, retailing from $2,500. In addition to soft cushioning and rocking motions, they feature one-button synchronization of back, lumbar, headrest and footrest movement. All movements can be operated individually as well.
A new generation of dining chairs featuring Stressless function will be on hand.
“We have launched Stressless Dining virtually and many of our dealers have seen the Stressless Mike and Max via a traveling road show we did earlier this year, but this will give any dealers who attend the opportunity to see the product in person and be able to spend some time learning more about it,” Bjerregaard.
Several other upholstery vendors let Furniture Today know they’d have new product on hand as well.
Among stationary introductions at Armen Living, for example, include the mid-century modern Somerset sofa, club chair and loveseat in blush or gray velvet with tufted detail, and gold-finished caps on tapered wooden legs. It’s also rolling out the Wolfe contemporary power recliner in top-grain leather with 2.2 density foam cushioning.
Three new sofas from Diamond Sofa include an addition for the hot sectional category: the modular Arcadia sectional collection with feather down comfort on reversible cushions.
Modway’s five stationary introductions feature the Revive sofa in performance velvet in dusty rose, white, pink, navy, mint, emerald and gray, and it’s available for drop shipment.
Norwalk Furniture, Sunpan, Vertuu Designs and Zuo also will introduce new upholstery.
Importance of engagement
Bottom line for Las Vegas’ summer edition is that it’s the first physical market to take place in America since COVID-19 struck, and will be a test of combining a tradeshow in a new era for such events. While Leather Italia has a goods schedule of appointments, Campbell echoed the earlier sentiment of Kuka’s Lush that preparation and readiness for market whatever the attendance is a sound strategy.
“A market may or may not have brisk attendance,” Campbell said. “If we were to see one customer in Las Vegas and we didn’t give them 100%, we haven’t done our job. That is law here.”