April 25, 2016

Spring High Point Market - April 2016

The High Point Market continues to be a “can’t miss” show for residential furnishings. This year was no exception, and exhibitors felt that traffic was good and order writing was consistent with prior years. Positivity prevailed and exhibitors and attendees alike were upbeat in this economic climate, despite the noise and confusion of state and national politics.

Topics frequently mentioned include:

  • Labor – Finding skilled labor in the US and abroad, plus the talk of increasing the minimum wage, is putting pressure on manufacturers, leading some to explore options in Mexico as well as continuing to invest in labor-saving capital expenditures.
  • Made in America - Companies are re-shoring in order to improve long lead times and quality, primarily in upholstery.
  • E-commerce – Internet behemoths continue to change the game, and every company is exploring the extent to which they should adapt to this trend.

As our team walked the floors and met with company CEOs we were pleasantly surprised by the number of great companies with strong profitability that are poised for organic growth. Poor performers typically get the press, so we were thrilled to see these successes – a sign of the industry returning to good health! This is being fueled by traditional positive indicators, including:

  • Housing starts
  • Low interest rates
  • Family formations (millennials)

Following a record year in 2015, the merger market remains vibrant with a strong balance of buyers and sellers, and with capital markets supporting these transactions. Our shuttle diplomacy was active this April with four ‎transactions "in the market" and several more to come later in the second quarter. We will continue our efforts at HD-Vegas in May and Neocon (Chicago) in June. Call us if you would like to discuss opportunities in this active climate.

In other news, Stump & Company’s long time secretary Rosemary Riley will be retiring this spring. She has been a loyal member of the team since joining Ralph Stump in the 1990s. We wish her all the best in her retirement. Also, Stump & Company has just launched our new website. Come visit us at www.stumpnet.com (same address, new look!).

Quote of the market:

"How many diapers are used in China in a year?" asked one industry veteran. He then explained this question is written on his office whiteboard as a methodology for screening process minded employees: “It’s not about knowing the answer, it’s about understanding how people think and break down a problem.”

Call us and let us help you navigate our exciting and ever-changing industry.

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