LAS VEGAS - Winter 2014 Las Vegas Market, held January 26-30, rocketed through its opening day with a vitality that was invigorating for the manufacturers, reps, retailers and designers in attendance. Fueled by an influx of new exhibitors, record high pre-registrations among buyers, and an improving economy-Las Vegas Market is poised to have one of its most successful markets in its eight-year history.

Las Vegas Market has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two years-adding 1.1 million square feet of new and expanded showrooms and products in all categories of furniture, home décor and gift. In all, more than 2,224total exhibitors and lines now fill over 5 million square feet of space across the three buildings; 70 of those exhibitors are hosting ribbon-cutting ceremonies this week.

Robert Maricich, chief executive officer of International Market Centers, was ecstatic with the optimism he witnessed time and again throughout opening day, in particular, the growth in exhibitors, their commitment to introducing new product, and the pre-registration figures.

"The operative words are new and evolved. The sheer growth of new exhibiting companies over the last two years has dramatically changed the landscape of Las Vegas Market. We have reached a critical mass of exhibitors, strategically focusing on complementary product categories and organizing like-minded companies together. This evolution-buoyed by a healthier economy-has created a renewed confidence in Las Vegas Market," said Maricich. "And, we see a new kind of demand forming among buyers, especially those who may have visited Las Vegas Market in the past and who are eager to experience its transformation. This demand is evidenced with an unprecedented increase in pre-registered buyers and designers, it is likely we will have our largest Market ever."

In its first official weekend opening day, the 2014 Las Vegas Market ushered in nearly 300 new furniture & home décor brands and 900 new gift lines, and welcomed an influx of better goods across all categories. Dozens of new, fashion-forward home décor, gift and tabletop lines joined Las Vegas Market for the first time including Enesco, Fine Lines, MATCH, Childs Studio, Lenox, Gerson, Nest Fragrances and more.

Within the furniture category, 600,000 square feet of permanent space has been leased to leading furniture manufacturers over the last two years, resulting in a 96.4 percent occupancy on the 21 floors that carry furniture and mattress lines. Seven new bedding-related sources joined Las Vegas Market-already home to 13 of the top 15 bedding manufacturers-further strengthening the market's position as THE national bedding market.

Temporary exhibits are also experiencing record increases, with 340 temporary gift and home décor exhibits showcasing in Building C-a 10 percent increase over last year. The 35,000 square foot temporary exhibit area on B2 is also completely sold out with 80 home furnishings lines showing.

Inspiring trends and new products were a key focus from day one. FIRST LOOK, a veritable product concierge showcasing some of the hoteest trends and new products for Las Vegas Market attendees, kicked off the Winter 2014 Market for more than 150 buyers and designers who experienced a robust visual presentation that spanned area rugs and art objects to upholstery and wall decor. Key trend takeaways, pinpointed by FIRST LOOK guest host Jaime Rummerfield, Woodson & Rummerfield House of Design, and product trends editor Julie Smith Vincenti, included:

Fashion-forward combinations of indigo and gold; soothing blue tones, including upscale denim-inspired looks; modern silhouettes that paired Chesterfield-inspired button tufting with contemporary metal bases; smart-scale office and entertainment silhouettes; and vibrant purples in shades ranging from Pantone's color of the year, Radiant Orchid, to lavender tones that, according to Rummerfield, are emerging neutrals for 2014.

Anniversary collections from Stanley Furniture, Michael Aram and Brunschwig & Fils were highlighted, as well as art objects from newcomers Phylum Design, SkLO and Jamie Dietrich Designs. Standout wall decor companies-Oliver Gal, Art Classics and Natural Curiosities-were featured and favored for their custom capabilities. Co-hosts Smith Vincenti and Rummerfield sailed through a segment on nautical-themed accents that spotlighted the artistry of show newcomers Karen Robertson and The Elizabeth Lucas Company.

New product was apparent throughout the showrooms, with a focus on quality and value, according to many buyers walking the show. Exhibitors were equally enthusiastic about day one of Las Vegas Market and have strong expectations for the week.

Stanley Furniture, who launched its vintage inspired Heritage Collection and Coastal Living Collection this week, says market is off to an "outstanding" start. "We were buried this morning. By 10:30 am we had to add more manpower in our main showroom," said Randy Wells, Vice President of Creative & Brand Development for Stanley Furniture. "We know Las Vegas Market is a huge draw for the Western U.S., yet we've already seen buyers from Florida, New York, Michigan, Mexico, and Canada...and it's only Sunday."

"This is the first time the market started on Sunday and the traffic matches our expectations. We are very pleased with the traffic and people are in a buying mood. People are asking questions about the quality of our products, where and how the furniture is made, questions well beyond price. It's refreshing," said Herman Tam, VP of Sales and Marketing for Leggett and Platt.

"The showroom has been busy all day," said Patty Price Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Arteriors. "Today we hosted our Barry Dixon Brunch featuring his new collection and we had a really positive response from press, bloggers and buyers. We are looking forward to what the rest of the week holds,"

Josh Jarboe, National Sales Director for Global Views and Studio A says, "Traffic has been steady and we're pleased with our sales so far. Typically we see a lot diversity of buyers coming to this market - and that's on track today with a strong Canadian presence all the way down to buyers from the tip of Florida. And of course the west coast is well represented here."

"The first day of market has been very productive," said Christie Connick, Senior Account Executive of Michael Aram. "We've seen existing customers as well as new customers from the west coast. Buyers have responded well to the new opening day, traffic has been strong and were looking forward to the rest of the week."

Temporary gift exhibitor Carol Joslin of Ann Carol Designs by Seattle Silver Accessories said, "It's been a good opening day selling to a lot of buyers, and I have a feeling it's going to be really busy the rest of the week. I've seen a lot of buyers who sell furniture coming through (the temps) looking for gifts and accessories to go with their furniture. This market has a nice cross-over buyer."

Capping a successful first day of market was the WOW Awards, presented by WithIt (Women's Leadership Development Network). The event honored women who have made an impact in the growth and future of the home and furnishings industries.

An incredible slate of events are on tap the rest of the week. Critically acclaimed interior designer and author Barbara Barry will be honored as the 2014 Design Icon. Barbara Barry is among the world's most prominent and talented designers with designs that range from elegant interiors to an extensive portfolio of home furnishings.

With the goal of adding value to its customers, International Market Centers, in conjunction with Eller Enterprises, is hosting the second annual CEO Summit, a two-day event co-located with Las Vegas Market. It's designed to foster executive level discussions about entrepreneurship, IT planning, product development, corporate citizenship, Hispanic market opportunities, innovation and the global economy.

The campus will be abuzz each evening with energizing entertainment in the Grand Plaza as well as nightly receptions hosted throughout the Market floors. Plus, attendees will be treated like VIPs in several leading Las Vegas nightclubs for official after-parties. Las Vegas Market attendees will be greeted daily with complimentary breakfasts, nightly courtyard receptions, and cocktail receptions.

Showroom events, ribbon cuttings, lectures and book signings with top design personalities will punctuate a week of who's who in home furnishings at Las Vegas Market.

Source: International Market Centers

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