Industry members offer thoughts on new Casual Market Atlanta dates

With news that Casual Market Atlanta will now officially take place in both July and September, the industry was talking at the recent High Point Market about how this would work. 

As many in the industry know, when the event took place in Chicago at the TheMart, the premarket took place in July and the “real” Casual Market happened in September. 

This was the way for nearly 30 years, so it’s natural that the change has people talking. We spoke with a few industry members to see what they think.

“I have not heard much about the January market but my assumption was it is mostly there to coordinate with AmericasMart’s other events,” says Brad Schweig, president of Sunnyland Outdoor Living in Texas. “The only reason we would probably go is if we needed to buy accessories and decor, and that’s a different buying team than our furniture buyers, so it’s not worth it for them to go to the outdoor showrooms.”

As far as the July versus September conversation, he says it seems like August would be an ideal time for compromise — though its unlikely to happen because it wouldn’t line up with other AmericasMart events.  

“Plus, September can sometimes be too late for those buying containers,” Schweig adds. “There should probably only be one official, primary market during that time as I don’t see a reason why people would go to both so close together. If you have two that are considered relative equals, people might feel they’re missing out on product or deadlines.”

Mark Cliffe, director of international sales for Berlin Gardens, says that like many others in the industry he’s spoken with, the company has been disappointed with the January and September shows, overall. 

“I truly feel like the main show needs to shift away from July and be in September,” he says. “For many domestic manufacturers as well as retailers, focusing on the early buy in September helps our business as well as the dealers. Having a full temporary floor in September will be key to making that happen, as we need dealers to be able to see everyone in one trip.”

He also explains that often dealers will not come in both July and September. “Historically, September was the key show and worked great,” he says. “July was more of a bonus show and catered to the import manufacturers. I would prefer to see us shift back to the priority being September.”

However, Schon Duke, vice president of Lane Venture, says he anticipates that the July show will be busier for his company than the September show.

“I think September will be much smaller and have lower attendance because most dealers will want to be first to see what we are doing as far as products and promotions,” he says. “Though we may get more Northern dealers in September because it’s their prime selling season in July.”

Leisa McCollister, vice president of marketing for OW Lee, says she’s glad the September market is back because the industry could have used it last year with the amount of inventory everyone still had in July. 

“Retailers weren’t ready to make decisions, and I think there’s going to be still some hangover from that,” she says. “July is hard for the smaller retailers to get out of their stores because they’re still selling, so September is important for them and it’s a good move for the whole industry.”

McCollister also says she’s uncertain of how the January shows will continue to play out, as it doesn’t work with the casual industry buying schedule. However, she says it could be a good time to get full-line retailers and interior designers in there when there isn’t a rush of specialty retailers and loyal customers.

“They can have more time with us in January, and I think there should be marketing specifically to full-line retailers and designers that helps get them into showrooms when they are there for the other market in January,” she says. 

The July market is just a couple of months away, and the consensus seems to be that September will be treated as the “official” show in the eyes of many independent retailers. That leaves July for full-line stores and designers, and confusion still surrounding the importance of the January show. Only time will tell how the market will continue to evolve as the industry grows and moves forward. 

The post Industry members offer thoughts on new Casual Market Atlanta dates appeared first on Casual News Now.