Monday, March 26, 2007

High Point Furniture Market kicks off

News 14 Carolina producer John Kunza is covering the High Point Market exclusively on News14.Com. Check in daily for various updates on Market and the events surrounding Market.

Today is the first day of the High Point Furniture Market, or as industry leaders here call it, simply "market."

The day kicked off with a news conference hosted by High Point's Mayor Becky Smothers and Lt. Gov Bev Perdue.

There is a reason why people in the know call this event "market;" North Carolina and the Triad are working hard to make High Point THE capital of the international furniture industry.

Furniture in North Carolina is still big money. North Carolina ranks as a top four furniture manufacturer in the country, and the High Point Market has a yearly economic impact of $1.5 billion on our state.

As Perdue put it, "That's not chump change."

That means everyone from furniture manufacturers to rental car agencies benefit from the bi-annual event. For more information, view News 14 Carolina reporter Stephanie Stilwell story here.

The furniture industry is very consumer-driven and this year everyone here has a hyper awareness about it. Perdue even noted it at the news conference, "I'm a friend of market, maybe it's because I'm a woman and I love to shop."

Industry analysts are noting a slip in retail sales, or as one briefing put it "weakness in retail" and blaming in part "credit anxious consumers."

Perdue says the General Assembly is working hard to keep the High Point Market competitive. Right now, the GA appropriates $1.7 million for the event and that figure is reviewed every year.

There was some talk about the Las Vegas Furniture Market. Some people are concerned that it will take buyers away from High Point.

"Vegas would like to take this away from us," said Perdue. "High Point has to remain the largest and most successful furniture market in the world ... and I will do whatever it takes."

More later.

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