The Dallas Total Home & Gift Market kicked off the summer home and housewares show season last week with suppliers and retailers coming together to negotiate challenging conditions heading into the second half.
Housewares vendors and retailers in Dallas said a priority now is collaborating to pinpoint near-term sales opportunities as inbound supply congestion eases only to encounter an overstocked retail inventory pipeline as economic headwinds slow demand and jeopardize orders.
Vendors at the Dallas Market Center reported order writing despite an open-to-buy squeeze across the retail business. Many said retailers who braved higher travel costs and other challenges to attend the Dallas market did so determined to secure available product and promotions heading into the holiday season.
“It’s going to be a buyer’s market,” the national sales manager for a kitchenware company said. The sales manager said opportunistic retailers, including off-price specialists, are already jumping in to strike deals on excess vendor supply, including goods originally ticketed for big retailers, some of it under private labels, that are canceling orders.
The Dallas Total Home & Gift Market attracted several independent gourmet housewares retailers. Among the national and regional chain retailers shopping housewares showrooms in Dallas were Southwest-based Tuesday Morning, The Container Store, United Supermarkets, Hobby Lobby and Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy.
Dallas-based housewares rep Kent Kulovitz was among several exhibitors who said many retailers in Dallas were focused on acquiring just enough product to get through the next couple of months with a plan to reassess and reorder as needed as the holiday nears. With that, though, comes the risk of limited availability this fall if vendors take steps in the meantime to mitigate their inventory exposure.
“Are some going to leave business on the table? Yes,” Kulovitz said. “But it will be an opportunity for retailers and suppliers that can serve them later in the year.”
Tony Curtis-Wellings, owner of Faraday’s Kitchen Store in Austin, TX, attended the Dallas market with an eye on traffic-driving price promotions. Reporting an 18% higher average ticket against a 10% store traffic decline, Curtis-Wellings said earlier and aggressive promotion this fall could be a necessary countermove to rebuild traffic.
“Whereas last year, consumers came into stores the last two weeks before Christmas [because of concerns they wouldn’t receive e-commerce orders on time], we may not be able to count on that this year,” Curtis-Wellings said about his desire to jump-start the holiday season with volume promotions on some key items.
Vendors in Dallas agreed such a promotional approach among retailers might be a requisite, short-term solution, despite tighter margins, to clear the product pipeline ahead of 2023. A number of vendors said new product introductions this fall may be impacted as long-delayed product finally is released through the West Coast ports, causing some suppliers to put a hold on goods already produced overseas.
Marty Kersten, principal of Houston-based independent sales rep agency Lockin Group, reported meetings in his Dallas showroom with several western retailers in Dallas, reflecting, he said, an effort by Dallas Market Center officials to cultivate attendees from that region. He also noted the increasing interest among gift stores looking to add housewares to their assortments.
(Pictured Above: TeakHaus display inside the Source One showroom at Dallas Market Center)