Las Vegas - The major appliance trade has largely taken a pass on this month's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS).
Once the premier showcase for white-goods makers, the event has steadily lost majap industry support over the last four years as high costs, low attendance and competitive venues took their toll.
This month's roster of majap exhibitors has dwindled to 12, led by Dacor, a California maker of premium kitchen appliances, and Equator, a Texas company known for its compact laundry and kitchen products.
The balance of the exhibitors is small, niche manufacturers such as American Range, Arda Appliances, FiveStar Range and Summit, and China-based factory exporters including Chinabest and Wuxi Little Swan.
K/BIS began losing support in 2007 when Whirlpool and Electrolux sat out the show and GE limited its presence to its premium Monogram line. Electrolux returned with its own booth for the last time in 2008, and for the past two years Whirlpool had been represented there solely by its premium Jenn-Air line. Other leading majap vendors, including LG, have often opted in recent years to meet with customers at more cost-effective offsite facilities.
Also sitting out this year's show is Sears Kenmore, whose last exhibit, in 2009, piggybacked BSH, Electrolux and Samsung.
Both Sears and Whirlpool have since opened their own showrooms in Chicago, and both companies, along with GE, Haier, LG and Samsung, will likely show their white-goods wares again at International CES, following the first major majap showing there in January.
Ironically, this year's K/BIS returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center, home of International CES, April 26-28.