Despite the challenging economic environment and an over-crowded trade show calendar, organizers of Pre-Market have good reason to be optimistic: 144 buyers representing 69 leading retail organizations are pre-registered to attend the event and that number continues to grow. “This will be the largest group of retailers we have hosted since the revitalization of the Pre-Market movement began two years ago,” says Brian D. Casey, president and chief executive officer of the High Point Market Authority, who acts as spokesperson for the event’s sponsoring manufacturers. “The tremendous response we have received from leading retailers this season is a ringing endorsement of the growing importance of this event,” notes Kevin O’Connor, chief executive of Samson Marketing, parent company of Legacy Classic and Universal Furniture. “Buyers clearly see real value in being among the first to know what each of the factories will present next month at the High Point Market. They also enjoy the distinct competitive advantage afforded by an ability to preview products that have never been seen anywhere previously, and to make early commitments that will protect distribution and ensure exclusives in their marketplaces.” “The product development process in our industry is dramatically changing,” Casey says, adding that “in this economic environment, no company can afford to ‘throw it up on the wall and see what sticks.’ The most successful manufacturers in our business are quickly moving beyond that very inefficient, expensive model, which was long the norm in our industry, to a more collaborative effort, in which the manufacturer and retailer come together during the product development process. Based on their collaboration, both can then move forward with greater confidence in a product’s eventual success. It’s this focus on the collaboration that sets the Pre-Market experience apart for everyone involved. True creativity and innovation occurs here, and that’s why this event has gained such momentum: The buyers know that High Point is where the trends begin, and that Pre-Market is where they are born.” Indeed, the executive sums, “Our focus as a Market has always been on the introduction of new products that have never been seen anywhere before. A substantial number of these products are set to hit the streets in the coming weeks, and the buyers who have committed to Pre-Market next week will have had the advantage of having seen it all first.”
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