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New Product Gallery and Trends at International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market Offer Look at Outdoor Room Design Options for Next Season

Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI) kicked-off the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market at the Chicago Merchandise Mart this week.
    CHICAGO, IL, September 22, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI) kicked-off the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market at the Chicago Merchandise Mart this week. While the Casual Market is a trade show, a special New Product Gallery and near-countless product and style trends on display at the event are a comprehensive tell-tale of how consumers will decorate their outdoor spaces for the year to come.

With the Casual Market now open, the New Product Gallery includes a wide range of casual outdoor furniture and accessories from showrooms and exhibitors, including furniture designs, shade systems, new colors and fabrics, and other items. "This year's New Product Gallery gives retailers, buyers and other attendees the opportunity to easily view new products as they enter the Chicago Merchandise Mart building," says Jaclyn Kelly, senior director of marketing for the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market / MMPI. "In turn, they will make many of these outdoor room selections available to consumers from coast to coast and internationally during 2013."

The New Product Gallery is located on the first floor of the Merchandise Mart, offering show-goers an easy-to-access, collective look at new products and emerging trends from a variety of manufacturers. Elaine Smith, president of Elaine Smith Inc., credits the New Product Gallery as an important area at Casual Market. "We have been part of the New Product Gallery for as long as I can remember. It is a highly trafficked area where the newest styles and trends are on display to create inspiration for next season. It is always a must-see for retail buyers, and we wouldn't miss it."

In addition to the New Product Gallery, showrooms and exhibitors have created displays of brand new outdoor furniture collections and accessories on floors 8 and 15-18. The range of products includes deep seating, dining collections, outdoor rugs and flooring, cushions, pillows, garden / decorative accessories, and more.

MMPI's International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market team launched an online photo album of select new casual furniture and accessories, including many that are part of the New Products Gallery. The album is on the Casual Market's Facebook Timeline. The photo album features innovative products from an assortment of industry manufacturers who submitted their product releases and photos in advance.

The Casual Market's Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/CasualMarket. The online photos allow consumers an insider's look at how they will be able to design and decorate their patios, decks and outdoor rooms in the coming year.

Show goers are spotting the latest trends in the outdoor furnishings industry at the Casual Market. "Supplying show attendees with valuable trends information that can be used to make informed purchasing decisions about stocking inventory or for design installations is one of the Casual Market's primary objectives," says Kelly.

One maturing trend attendees are seeing at the Casual Market is the continued popularity of transitional deep seating furniture. This ever-rising trend allows consumers to change their settings from one design concept to another, for example redecorating from traditional to contemporary.

According to Gary McCray, president of Lane Venture, more manufacturers are designing this type of product to appeal to younger generations. "We're reaching out to the next generation of consumers that are becoming a bigger part of the market and prefer simpler, more transitional styling," he says.

Another product-oriented trend seen at the Casual Market involves coffee and dining height outdoor fire tables that combine both form and function. Manufacturers are responding to this trend with a number of creative options. There are many examples of this versatility provided by fire tables on site at the show.

Retractable and easy-open-close shade systems also seem to be on the rise again this year, as evidenced by several new and flexible shade devices on the show floor. Many manufacturers believe the need for shade devises and umbrellas has risen since consumers are spending more time at home and in backyard spaces. This has resulted in shade manufacturers conceptualizing new types of technologically advanced, multifaceted shade systems.

Other developing trends include space-saving stackable chairs; outdoor spaces defined with accessories; fuel-efficient grills for outdoor kitchens; sustainably manufactured furniture fabric collections coordinated by color palettes; dining tables with multiple form-and function features; and others.

Each year, outdoor retailers, buyers and designers attend the show to not only establish relationships with manufacturers, but also to gain insight as to what designs will be in style for the following year. Attending this week, two well-known retailers say the Casual Market is essential for pre-planning inventory.

"As an outdoor furniture retailer, if you don't attend the Casual Market in Chicago, you could never see all that is offered for the next season. The Market is the only place you can see all the different manufactures and their products," says Doug Sanicola, president of Outdoor Elegance, Inc.

"If retailers did not attend the ICFA July Preview Show, it is absolutely imperative for them to attend the September show. Whether retailers attend the July or September Market, it is important for us to attend to see what manufacturers are doing in the industry and to improve the quality of their businesses," says Petey Fleischut, owner of Casual Marketplace.

Casual Market began Sept. 20 and continues through Sept. 23. For more information, visit www.casualmarket.com.

The International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market is a four-day trade show that provides retailers with an outlet to find all things related to outdoor and casual living. Featuring the latest products and trends in the industry, the Casual Market averages approximately 250 temporary exhibitors and permanent showrooms, totaling approximately 350,000 square feet of overall exhibit in The Chicago Merchandise Mart.


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