By  on April 13, 1994

DALLAS -- Packed showrooms, retailers who reported brisk spring sales and praised the diversity of fall fashions, and unusually effusive sales representatives told the story of fall market week here: Business is back in a big way.

"I haven't seen it this crowded in years," observed Kathryn Becker, who has been shopping here since 1974 for her High Cotton shop in Jackson, Miss. "I think business must be better for everybody."

The fall Mega Market, which ran five days through Monday at the International Apparel Mart, combined women's, children's, men's, boys and western wear. Fall is always the biggest market of the year, but this event exceeded expectations.

Buyers reported spring sales gains of 11 to 32 percent, which gave them incentive to hike their fall budgets from 5 to 15 percent.

"People are starting to let loose with some of their money," affirmed Dean Campbell, owner of Mr. G Especially for You, Amarillo, Tex. Campbell planned to buy about 10 percent more.

More buyers traveled here from outside the Southwest -- even from New York, sales representatives pointed out.

"I think a lot of people tried Dallas this market," theorized Suzanne Collier, who represents women's better sportswear lines. "We had good stores from Florida, California and Mexico City this market."

A new facet of the scene was the Dallas Market Daily, a daily newspaper produced by Wybar Communications, Sheridan, Wyo., under contract to the Mart and distributed free.

"The buyers can read about events the day before and seminars coming up," Wells explained.

The daily will be published at only one other market this year -- the Western show in September.

"After that, we'll evaluate it," Wells added.

In addition, more than 600 people crowded into the Fashion Theatre at noon Friday to watch a new fashion show highlighting 234 outfits styled in cotton, mohair, wool or leather by about 80 Texas manufacturers. A project of the state government's Naturally Texas initiative to promote the natural fibers industry, the show will be staged twice annually at the Mart's spring and fall market weeks.

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