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Summer NAMM Continues To Rebuild

...filling two halls in the architecturally stunning Music City Center, the show was the largest in six years. Attendance showed similar improvement, advancing 8% over last year to 12,442. More importantly, the show benefitted from a noticeable attitude adjustment. The somber outlook that has characterized the industry in the wake of six years of sluggish sales and brutal competition seemed to give way to a guarded optimism. Industry sales growth remains tepid, but those at the show seemed to draw confidence from the realization that there were still opportunities to be found somewhere in the $6.8 billion market. As one exhibitor remarked, “The industry may not be growing, but we see opportunities to gain market share.”

Is the market actually on an upswing? After years of false starts, no one is saying so with great conviction. Nevertheless, Rick Young, Yamaha senior vice president, offered an optimistic outlook. “Business has just been better in the last three months,” he said. “Pianos have seen the biggest improvement, but all our product lines are up.” Given that Yamaha competes in virtually every segment of the industry, his assessment carries extra weight. Providing corroborating good news, Deb Barker of GE Capital, which provides inventory financing for a sizable contingent of retailers, said that retailers are in the best financial shape in years, having shored up their balance sheets. “The retailers who have survived the past five years are upbeat,” she said.

For the complete Summer NAMM report, see our September issue or subcribe to Music Trades today!


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