Smaller retailers ‘just aren’t here,’ says Porter Designs of High Point Market

Smaller retailers ‘just aren’t here,’ says Porter Designs of High Point Market

HIGH POINT – Executives at Oregon-based case goods and upholstery supplier Porter Designs say the company had a good market overall, but noted that a certain buyer group was absent.

“The smaller retailers just aren’t here,” said David Weiss, co-owner and president. “We’ve probably seen a 50% drop-off, which is obviously significant. But on the other hand, we’ve seen more of the bigger guys. I think it’s because we’re starting to get more known. I’d say our attendance from them is up 25%.”

Weiss says the Las Vegas Market is better for reaching the company’s smaller buyers, as many of them are nearer to the West Coast.

About 30% of the company’s showroom featured new product this spring, both to existing lines and new collections altogether. Reaction was great, Weiss said, with buyers either placing orders or intending to buy.

Leather upholstery was a standout for the company at market. Items are sourced from Malaysia and feature top-grain leather. Sofas hit a “key” price point, retailing for around $799 to $999.

“Leather is the strongest category we have,” said Julie Grant, creative director and co-owner. “We produce great leather, whether it’s the seating, design and price. And we’re up against a lot of competition.”

Upholstery was “dead” after COVID, the company said, but has since surpassed case goods, with leather shining the brightest.

Porter Design’s new Dali dining table

On the case goods side, new items were featured across the company’s categories of bedroom, dining and occasional. The new Dali line includes dining and occasional and is crafted from black oak. A dining table can retail for $1,500 and a coffee table for $800.

Jeff Schwall, vice president of sales, noted weakness in the bedroom category compared to others.

“My guess is until the FED drops interest rates, bedroom business will still be down and soft,” he said. “Right now it’s strong in the Northeast but weak everywhere else.”

See also:

  • Low traffic, but stronger optimism on tap for wood vendors at Market
  • Lower foot traffic at Copeland, but best enthusiasm since 2009

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