Recession and Sept. 11 Will Affect Houseware's 2002

By John S. McClenahen As manufacturers and marketers get ready to gather at mid-January's International Housewares Show in Chicago, the outlook for 2002 is far from certain. "How much more unemployment is there going to be?" wonders Robert Sachs, president of Arden Companies, Southfield. Mich. "Will there be another devastating event?" he also asks. "There is no one with a crystal ball that is anything but cloudy," Sachs says. Nevertheless, a number of housewares producers are planning new product introductions in 2002. "Right now we're looking at appliances for the non-cook, and for the person who wants to spend less time on the mundane so they can enjoy being around their house or with their family," says Linda Graebner, president and CEO of Tilia Inc., San Francisco. And Woodridge, Ill-based Wilton Industries Inc. plans to introduce 300 new products at next month's show in Chicago. "People are really conscious of value, but it's not so much the price points," notes Vincent A. Naccarato, Wilton's chairman and CEO. "If a consumer sees a product that's $60 or $100, and they believe it's a good value, they'll buy it."

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