The Publisher’s View
The Editor’s View
There are signs of life in the retail landscape.
I would imagine that many retail merchants are closely watching
their inventory levels to help counteract any potential decline
in the sales volume that may increase their turn. At the same
time, we are all watching for signs of economic recovery that
may hint to a gradual return to normal business levels.
As I toured the 2010 International Home + Housewares Show
I was struck by the quantity of outstanding new products being
brought to market. Industry suppliers have not been sitting
on their hands; they have been working diligently to continue
to provide fresh products to the product pipeline. Signs of
enthusiasm were evident in the quality of these product
offerings, the number of retailers walking the aisles, and the
tales of first quarter sales increases. Throughout this issue, you
will see many of the exciting new products we saw at the show.
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Is this enthusiasm unfounded, or an indication of things to
come? If we are looking for signs of economic recovery in the
housewares industry, we don’t need to look any further than
Williams Sonoma’s strong fourth quarter earnings. Williams
Sonoma increased profitability sevenfold over the prior year,
beating most analysts forecasts. The “high end” consumer
seems to be back.
Gourmet Business LLC is a division of
Gourmet Business & HousewaresDirect, Inc.
PO Box 700
Weston, MA 02493
Gourmet Business is a digital publication
serving the gourmet gift retailer. Gourmet
Business relies on product information
submitted by the manufacturer, distributor
or other representative in the featured
editorial content. Gourmet Business is not
responsible for any errors in the descriptions
or prices appearing in the magazine.
Gourmet Business is distributed free of
charge to qualified professionals in the gift
and housewares industry.
Lee Eiseman, the go-to professional for color trends
in housewares, told us at the 2010 International
Home + Housewares Show that the biggest color
story for the coming year is about how colors are
put together, not just about new colors.
That sentiment resonates throughout the retail and
consumer world this year.
While last year may have been about survival,
and, perhaps fear, this year is about easing the
mindful consumer back into the market with items
that freshen and build, rather than replace.
Style and function are not the only concerns of
this mindful consumer. They want to know the
backstory, the provenance of products. How is a
product building a better world, as well as making
the consumer a more skilled cook?
Understanding the origins of a product has always
been a factor in housewares – German knives,
Italian pottery, Scandinavian design, made in
the U.S.A. What’s changing is that the consumer
interest goes deeper. How does the company
conduct business? Where does it source materials?
How does it support its local community?
Retailers are rising to the challenge by asking
tough questions of the suppliers. Suppliers are
rising to the challenge with open discussions
about their products, processes and even their
These discussions were taking place all across the
2010 International Home + Housewares Show a
few weeks ago. And while style and function were
still the major factors in product selection, a good
backstory probably made the decision easier.
Executive Editor, Gourmet Business