June 10, 2015

NeoCon - June 2015

Our two days in Chicago were exciting, draining‎, wet and wild. Following an energetic first day with massive crowds and positive attitudes, 50,000+ people exited the Merchandise Mart Monday afternoon to the Windy City's finest gale forces and sideways torrential rain. No cabs, Ubers, umbrellas....led to a lot of wet and disgruntled people. But later in the evening, the NHL finals showcased a Blackhawks shut-out victory. Many of us were awakened at 11pm to horns and hoots as Chicagoland celebrated its victory.

Contract/Commercial furniture folks are upbeat, as business is strong across all sectors, and most people believe we have another 2-4 years of growth ahead of us. We saw plenty of bright colors on upholstery, a continuation of open space working environments (vs cubes and individual desking), and plenty of new solo seating options configured to accommodate computers and screens and power support. The HAT (height adjustable table) movement continues, with new sit/stand options still emerging.

Everywhere we saw the concept of work/home blending. Clearly public space commercial furnishings look more homey and comfortable, and we expect to see more mergers & acquisitions to achieve and accelerate this blend.

We were reminded that distribution is the critical factor in capturing a sale....and the 8th floor product assortment reinforced that most everyone has the same kind of product. Dealers and their customers are increasingly looking for reliable vendors that can execute at a high level of customer service, product quality and reliable delivery.

Quote of the Market: "Good listeners generally make more sales than good talkers." B.C. Colwick (I didn’t really hear a good quote this market, so I found this in the Forbes list of quotes). I believe this is a truism for sure.

Our business remains at peak levels as there is a solid balance of buyers and sellers. With the stock market at record highs, capital markets open and active, private equity funds with plenty of liquidity, and the rest of the world a bit shaky, the US is primed for robust M&A activity. Stay tuned for several soon-to-be-announced transactions.

Call us ....we would love to be of assistance.

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