Lucky 13

The year 2013 almost sounds unlucky, doesn’t it? Besides all the talk of a fiscal cliff looming, there are promising indications on the horizon for the home furnishings and lighting industries. New construction is expected to cautiously resume, home buying has made some encouraging strides in many major markets, and remodeling projects seem to be bustling along at a steady pace nationwide. Not only is January the kick-off to market season, but it is often a harbinger of what lies ahead in retail for the rest of the year in the lighting sector. By the end of 2012, recovery was looking encouraging on the showroom level even though many showrooms weren’t staffed as fully as they’ve been in the past and perhaps had whittled down some of their business hours. As bleak as that may sound, it certainly was an improvement over the previous quarters. I think it’s become obvious now that new business won’t come knocking on the door like it used to in the boom years. Savvy lighting showrooms have to make that extra effort to capture more customers, even if that may mean trying marketing methods that seem completely foreign to you like launching a Facebook promotion or organizing a flash sale. Just as successful lighting stores are diversifying their product mix to include areas such as hardware, drapery, tabletop items, and linens, there are retailers such as Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel, and other home décor shops that are diversifying into lighting. This means we know have even more competition for the same clientele. In this issue, we have provided you with a 2013 Forecast (page 24) that includes tips for how to make your showroom stand out this year, a heads up on the hottest trends in home building (page 102), advice on how to launch a Facebook promotion (page 130), and a behind-the-scenes look at two very successful lighting stores in the country that might provide some inspiration. I wish everyone a very happy and profitable New Year!

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