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Furniture trade show returns with organizers expecting ‘terrific’ turnout

The biannual trade show Las Vegas Market is returning to the World Market Center Sunday, and organizers hope the home decor and furniture event will hit its pre-pandemic size.

Thousands of furniture, home decor and gift products are expected to be on display for retail buyers to peruse, during the three-day event. There will be more than 350 exhibits across 315,000 square feet of space, according to Bob Maricich, CEO of International Market Centers, organizer of the show.

He said the winter show is typically bigger than its summer market because of the temperate weather, companies having more cash after the holidays, and some looking to order products for their entire year.

“You can read some of the business news and say, ‘Gee, it’s tough out there,’” he said. “But, people are still doing business and where business might be challenging, they’re looking for new customers and new products.”

This week’s show will be larger compared to Winter 2022 Las Vegas Market, which was about 60 percent of the size of its pre-pandemic shows.

Maricich said all indicators point to the show having a “terrific” performance, and hotel rooms available through its website have sold out, noting that IMC partnered with 20 hotels. Companies have also told him they are seeing a higher demand for appointments compared to pre-pandemic shows.

IMC declined to share attendance figures, but spokeswoman Chelsea Bohannon said in an emailed statement it expects attendance will be in the “tens of thousands.”

“We are anticipating seeing many buyers who have not attended a market since before the pandemic,” Bohannon said.

The home decor and furniture industry was faced with pandemic-induced supply chain and shipping issues, but most of those hurdles have eased, according to Maricich.

“When the supply chain was messed up, freight rates for a container went from $5,000 to $25,000 or $30,000,” he said. “Those freight rates have come down to the $5,000 to $7,000 range.”

He said the bigger concern now is a tight labor market and excess inventory, as consumer spending eases.

Maricich expects a “challenging” economic year for the furniture industry, citing the recent drop in home sales that typically translates to lower furniture sales. But he expects the gift and decor industry to keep chugging along.

“When business is real challenging, there’s still Christmas and there’s still Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day and birthdays,” he said. “So the gift industry and a lot of the home decor industry is not affected as badly as the (furniture industry).”

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com. Follow @seanhemmers34 on Twitter.

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