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Pantone Color of the Year to premier at AmericasMart

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 11.32.28 AMAtlanta—The 2016 Pantone Color of the Year will make its global premiere presentation at The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market, being held Jan. 12-19 here. The color and PantoneView home + interiors 2016 color forecast will be the inspiration for the Pantone Design Exhibition, to be unveiled at the market.

Seven acclaimed interior designers and tastemakers including Robert Leleux, Shaun Smith, Jamie Durie, Michael Habachy, Tami Ramsay, Janie Hirsch and Heather Hogan Roberts will each design a vignette in the gallery located on Floor 14 of Building 1 inspired by the PantoneView home + interiors 2016 color forecast using products sourced from AmericasMart showrooms.

“As the leading market for designers, retailers and buyers alike, we know Atlanta is a natural fit for showcasing the Pantone Color of the Year 2016 and PantoneView home + interiors 2016 color forecast,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of Pantone Color Institute. “AmericasMart’s signature vignette design exhibition presents an unrivaled and unique opportunity to see first-hand how the color trends will be reflected throughout the home and gift industries in the year ahead.”

AmericasMart announces comprehensive market programming for January 2015

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 1.26.30 PMAtlanta—AmericasMart celebrates the dynamism of the home, gift and rug industry with presentations, celebrations and gatherings at The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market to be held Jan. 6-13 and The Atlanta International Area Rug Market featuring the National Oriental Rug Show to be held Jan. 7-10.

Industry experts, TV stars and authors including David Tutera, Jamie Durie, “Good Morning America” gift expert Tory Johnson, Paula Deen, Chef Jeff Mauro, Chef Will Brown, James Farmer, Bobby McAlpine, Susan Ferrier and Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, lead engaging discussions supplemented by business education programming in The Education Center and rug-focused programming presented in partnership with the Oriental Rug Retailers Association (ORRA).

Highlighted by events such as the Party on Peachtree 2015, which will benefit Gift for Life and Young Gift Executives, Jan. 8, America’s Magnificent Carpets Awards Jan. 10, celebrations for the opening of the bridge connecting Buildings 1 and 2 Jan. 7 and the new Home & Design collection on Building 1 Floor 15, both markets’ full schedule of events can be found at

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State of the industry: Area rug segment moving in right direction

June 9/16, 2014; Volume 27/Number 29

By Louis Iannaco

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 9.44.44 AMThere’s no doubt the area rug category has experienced a tough go of it the past several years with overall flat to low single digit top-line sales. But it seems that, while difficult times may still play a role in the area rugs’ present and immediate future, things are seemingly beginning to shape up in a positive way regarding the segment’s sustainable growth for the second half of the year and beyond.

Jeff Seagle, director, marketing and product merchandising, Mohawk, noted the cash-strapped consumer and an overall sluggish economy, along with the shift to online purchases, have been the major inhibitors to overall category growth. “As 2013 came to an end, we the category as a whole showed signs of a recovery with a 3%-5% year-over-year projected growth for 2014. The inclement weather throughout the first quarter created a delay in the rebound, but we still feel the category will increase over the back half of 2014 with the annual number being closer to 2%-3%.”

Challenges center around the conservative approach at retail, he said, both with overall inventory levels, static price points—which inhibit the ability to infuse “newness” into the category—and with lower discretionary income levels for a majority of consumers. “The propensity for the supplier base and at retail is to drive to lower price points without top-end assortment rejuvenation to enrich the product mix,” Seagle added. “This is unsustainable over time for the category.”

Allen Robertson, vice president of sales, Capel Rugs, said the slow housing market recovery continues to impact flooring sales. As a result, many mills have had to source or create lower price points.

“Consumers are also settling for smaller-size rugs, using 5 x 8 and 6 x 9 offerings instead of 8 x 10 and 9 x 12,” he explained. “Of course, the smaller sizes are one half the price of larger rugs. Fortunately, the $249 to $299 products are good sellers.”

Robertson said the company’s research indicates area rug sales would remain flat this year in dollars and are trending at below $4 billion in retail sales. So far in 2014, much like Seagle, he sees the weather playing a major role in delaying growth.

To counteract this, he noted, Capel expanded its branded programs with all its partners “to enhance our rugs with the unique styling they bring. Our Genevieve Gorder and Kevin O’Brien programs are creating buzz in the marketplace. We’ve also increased our efforts in social media and are seeing strong results from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Houzz.”

Others predicted some positive developments in the near future. For example, Alex Peykar, principal at Nourison, said the segment has been experiencing a “bounce back” year thus far in 2014. “During the first six months of this year we’re experiencing an estimated 15% increase over the same period last year.”

Economic indicatorsScreen Shot 2014-07-03 at 9.45.12 AM

Imports of carpets and rugs to the U.S. grew 10.6% in the first quarter of 2014, according to figures recently released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Textile & Apparel. Including both wool and manmade fiber products, first-quarter 2014 shipments amounted to $463.8 million compared to $419.2 million in first-quarter 2013.

Business continues to thrive at AmericasMart, according to Kevin Malkiewicz, vice president, area rug leasing and sales. Since January 2014, AmericasMart has leased, expanded or renewed over 45,000 square feet of integrated home and rug showrooms.

As the economy improves, he explained, “we are able to bring more new showrooms to our marketplace. Additionally, our current exhibitors continue to grow their businesses by expanding both their showrooms and product.”

According to Malkiewicz, AmericasMart also has some major home vendors who have already committed to new showrooms for the January 2015 market. “These additions will continue to draw resources and buyers to the home and rug floors,” he said. “There will also be further capital investments in the facility to enhance our vendor and buyer experience. As the housing market continues to improve, we anticipate a bright future ahead.”

Some retailers are also experiencing an increase in sales and optimism. Sam Presnell, owner of The Rug Gallery in Cincinnati, said business has been on an upswing for the last 18 months, and that growth can be attributed in large part to area rugs. “It started right after the 2012 election. Most people, who were reasonably positive about their financial situation and felt they had job security, were tired of living on hold. In 2013, we experienced a 15% growth in revenue over 2012, and so far in the first five months of 2014 we’re up another 15% over the same period last year. The majority of that growth comes from area rugs.”

Buying, design trends

As Presnell noted, consumers have definitely changed their buying habits. Where they were once buying one rug as a replacement, they are now buying for the whole house, or at least multiple rooms.

Accordingly, The Rug Gallery has hired extra operations personnel as “the demand on the staff became too great for the number of associates we had been comfortable with during the downturn.”

As Ryan Beauchamp, creative director for custom rug producer Creative Accents noted, when it comes to buying trends, a consumer will pay more for a Made in America product as compared to one made overseas, such as China, India, etc. “I only know about the material that goes into our rugs and it is among the finest in the world, from Wools of New Zealand and the like. Complaints I get from consumers and dealers are often about low-end imported rugs that shed profusely and end up falling apart.”

However, Robertson believes the middle-income consumer is still reluctant to buy higher quality products. “She is settling for average quality versus long lasting. Our mid- to upper-income customers are asking for the latest color stories and transitional and soft contemporary designs. We see this trend continuing, and it has been embraced and expanded upon by online retailers. We are an industry that still needs our distribution channels to take our message to consumers through in-store promotion.”

Peykar is seeing the same trend. While a good portion of homes within the U.S. are still very traditional, he noted, “we do see an increase in demand of transitional and contemporaries. Most of our debuts were concentrated toward this change in consumer demand. Overall, simple looks continue to grow, proving that more is not always better.”

Seagle agreed, saying lower-end, simple and easy-to-decorate offerings are working well in the market. “We see more solid and two- to three-color offerings than in the past. Product value and fiber attributes are increasingly important.”

Presnell said most of the increase in his store has been in high-end handwoven products, but he has also observed exponential growth in machine-made business over the last year. “Our carpet business is up as well, with probably half the carpet sold being fabricated into rugs.

“2014 is the year of blue, although we still see gray as the leader in our showroom,” he added. “Stronger colors seem to be emerging in both rugs and carpet, with orange being the front-runner. These bold colors will work well with the neutrals we’ve seen sell over the past few years. Less traditional, more transitional and contemporary designs are selling well. This is also a big year for geometrics.”

Looking ahead

While thoughts were mixed on the current state of the rug industry, there seemed to be an optimistic consensus among those who talked about the future.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 9.45.39 AM“I foresee our company finishing strong for 2014,” Beauchamp said. “Our sales and marketing approach is customer-service based and I see a huge lack of this in the area rug business. I believe 2015 has further potential as long as our economy can at least remain static to positive.”

Robertson’s inclination for the next six to nine months is that while sales would be sluggish through July, they will begin to accelerate beginning in August. “I anticipate fall sales to increase by at least 5%, rejuvenating to a growth pattern.”

Seagle also foresees growth in the category for the back half of 2014 and into 2015. “Continued product newness, increases in consumer confidence and the retail focus to drive sales through brick and mortar as well as ecommerce will be keys to the growth.”

Peykar has noticed consumers spending more money than they have been on upgrading to better qualities, and he is hoping that the trend will continue for the balance of the year. “While not all retailers have felt the improvements, financial reports that relate to the U.S. future, as well as the housing rebound, should continue.”

And, according to Presnell, prices are going up at retail. “The major players are increasing their pricing to dealers. This is a good sign things are moving in a positive direction.

“I’m very positive about 2014,” he concluded. “Barring something catastrophic, the mood of the consumer will continue to be positive. People are ready to enjoy life again.”

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AmericasMart grows international collection

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 3.32.55 PMAtlanta — Europe2You has become the sole North American product source for Italian manufacturer and retailer Dialma Brown in an exclusive partnership set for introduction at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market at AmericasMart Atlanta, July 8–15, 2014.

“We are excited to have AmericasMart as the setting to launch this new venture in home furnishings and décor,” said Joe Borocz, founder of Europe2You, which captures the spirit of the European lifestyle with a carefully curated collection of iconic originals and vintage inspired re-creations for the home and garden.

“Dialma Brown’s dedication to craftsmanship and classic Italian design reflect the very principles Europe2You was founded on. What has resulted between our companies is a dynamic partnership that ultimately reinforces our vision in bringing time-honored artisanship to the United States,” Borocz added.

According to the company, the Dialma Brown collection features high-quality home furnishings that reflect the new, contemporary way of life with a focus on feelings, experiences and stories to be told. Italian representatives from the company will be at the July Market to introduce AmericasMart buyers to the culled collection which includes styles ranging from classic to modern industrial.

“Dialma Brown is rapidly expanding worldwide and we are excited about the feedback we are receiving from these new markets,” said Luigi Marchi, the collection’s founder. “The collaboration with Europe2You will allow our brand to become known in the American market and ensure its success given their passion and common understanding.”


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Area rug market will fill expanded space, host new exhibitors

Dec. 9/16 2013; Volume 27/number 16

By Jenna Lippin

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 1.30.07 PMSeeking to maintain the momentum generated by the summer Atlanta International Area Rug Market in July, next month’s heavily trafficked winter event is expected to create even greater enthusiasm. “There is a lot of excitement around the winter market,” said Kevin Malkiewicz, vice president of leasing, AmericasMart Atlanta. “Exhibitors are expanding their spaces and improving their showrooms in preparation for the event.” Continue reading Area rug market will fill expanded space, host new exhibitors

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Integration of home décor and rugs resonate

July 22/29, 2013; Volume 27/Number 7

By Joe Fondetti

Designer Bob Timberlake, pictured here in the Shaw Living showroom, used inspiration from Southern regions of the United States as well as historical design.
Designer Bob Timberlake, pictured here in the Shaw Living showroom, used inspiration from Southern regions of the United States as well as historical design.

Atlanta—If variety is indeed the spice of life, then those who attended the summer edition of the Atlanta International Area Rug Market in July had a full palate with colors and options from which to choose as they inspected the offerings in the AmericasMart showrooms.

While the summer market is traditionally slower than the winter version, that did not keep companies from pulling out their finery, and buyers at the show appeared to like what they saw. Continue reading Integration of home décor and rugs resonate

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Cross-category product expansion at AmericasMart

imagesAtlanta—With the momentum of its January 2013 Market continuing to fuel demand for showroom space, the AmericasMart Atlanta product mix is expanding significantly with the addition of scores of new and newly expanded home, gift and rug showrooms set to open next month. Continue reading Cross-category product expansion at AmericasMart

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AmericasMart’s VDAs underscore creative excellence

ATLANTA—AmericasMart celebrated the visual presentation achievements of permanent and temporary exhibitors showing in its January 2013 markets with awards recognizing superior designs across all product collections and categories.  Adjudication during The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market and The Atlanta International Area Rug Market featuring the National Oriental Rug Show Jan. 9 to 16, 2013, yielded Visual Display Awards (VDAs) for 33 permanent showrooms and 20 temporary exhibits, including a Best of Show in the Temporaries.  Independent design and visual merchandising experts, with decades of experience, selected the winners.  The January 2013 VDA winners, with judges’ comments are: Continue reading AmericasMart’s VDAs underscore creative excellence

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Mohawk SmartStrand now available in area rugs

Sugar Valley, Ga.—Mohawk Home is reintroducing a familiar name from its past, American Rug Craftsmen (ARC), with renewed design and style.

“This is a change from American Rug Craftsmen brand, which Mohawk absorbed in 1993,” said Brandon Culpepper, vice president of specialty sales for Mohawk. “There is a void in the marketplace, and we see American Rug Craftsmen filling that void as the consumer landscape continues to change. Our research indicates a growing demand for American-made goods and American customer service—which is exactly what American Rug Craftsmen is all about. Continue reading Mohawk SmartStrand now available in area rugs

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Karastan to expand, remodel AmericasMart showroom

Atlanta—Karastan will expand and remodel its AmericasMart flagship showroom to showcase a broader, deeper product mix in preparation for the Jan. 10-13 Atlanta International Area Rug Market featuring the National Oriental Rug Show (NORS), Jan. 11-13.

The expansion will give Karastan, the long-time premier manufacturer of machine-made area rugs, more than 7,000 square feet of space in its existing location on Floor 3 of Building 1. The new space will fully support several new line extensions. Continue reading Karastan to expand, remodel AmericasMart showroom