Back from the Chicago Housewares Show

Any lingering doubts about the “Great Recession” being at its end, at least for the housewares industry, were dispelled over the three-day International Housewares Show.  Buyers arrived earlier; Buyers stayed longer; and some even did some business while there.  Last year when people said they had a “great show”, you really didn’t believe them.  2009 saw some buyers literally flew in on a Sunday morning, walked through the show to just make an appearance and disappeared back to the airport to catch a evening flight back to work.  This year is testimony that America’s consuming heart isn’t at a standstill any longer.  Inventories were depleted by a decent fourth quarter so buyer’s are back in business.  There were some new colors.  There were new offerings (one cookware company brought over three hundred new product prototypes to the show. Perhaps 40 will make the cut. Still a pretty good vote of confidence in the future.  Registrations for show visitors were ahead 13% and there was even evidence that negotiations with the notorious McCormick Place unions resulted in some more rational behavior by the set up artists. The IHA had floated the idea of moving to the show to sunnier and more work-rule friendly climes.  Even the weather cooperated this year and it was possible to walk outside without bundling up.

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