Outdoor Retailer Market attracts record crowd | ParkRecord.com

Outdoor Retailer Market attracts record crowd

Dan Bischoff, Of the Record staff

People who love the outdoors, apparently want to bring that style into their daily lives.

"Apparel is a category that is selling really well," said Peter Devin, group show director for Outdoor Retailer. "Outdoor apparel has changed. It used to be all technical wear. Something you’d wear skiing."

Devin said people want to show their lifestyle on their shirt, literally.

"Now what you’ve got is lifestyle apparel combinations that are also doing technical and not technical. It’s something you’d wear to work.

"People going into stores to get a sled or skis also buy apparel. I see apparel being a significant pattern of business," he said.

Devin gave examples of "Life is Good" T-shirts and various outdoor shoes that are universal.

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"Stores are doing very well with outdoor apparel products," Devin said. "The consumer gets the benefit of shopping in one spot, and they can get technical jackets and still wear it to dinner.

"In the old days, that couldn’t have been done, that’s really changed and the market reflects that," he added.

Outdoor Retailer’s 2007 Winter Market, which takes place Jan. 27-30 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, also shows that trend.

"There’s more apparel at this show than any other show," Devin said. "There are 13 percent more apparel companies than last year. There are nine percent more apparel companies than the summer show."

While apparel has seen a spike in numbers, the success of this trade-only show in its 17th year has also seen a growth in popularity. The merchants coming to the show are multiplying daily. According to Devin, there will be 5,000 retailers representing 3,200 stores worldwide and 800 new exhibitors have been added this year.

"It’s 16 percent greater than last year," Devin said. "The attendance at this point of time is projected up both in stores as well as buyers."

Roughly 150 returning companies will have requested expanded booths to offer more space. Some companies like Arc’teryx have enlarged their booths significantly.

"That’s a product of companies evolving their strategy," Devin said. "Companies are coming out with new apparel lines and they couldn’t fit all the apparel in one booth. It will be jammed with packs and apparel."

Merchants and buyers who attend the show benefit from each other in a multitude of ways. The buyers are buying for next fall and winter seasons.

"Our goal is to provide the outdoor business community with an efficient and compelling marketplace where participants can pinpoint top trends, further business strategies and network with leading industry influencers," Devin said.

Devin added that the show provides "a lot of apparel that’s sold throughout world at this time. They are looking for those items that will significantly impact their stores this year."

But, stores such as REI, Cabelas, Jans Mountain Outfitters and Cole Sport may come to see the market trends as well.

"The show is successful from both sides of the aisle," Devin said. "They love getting together and it’s beneficial from networking and an awareness standpoint.

Whether it’s skiing and snowboarding gear or apparel, "it’s an opportunity for them to take a pulse of what’s going on in the market," Devin added.

Often forgotten by the layperson are components like zippers, welted seams and buttons. Finding and purchasing those items is a big part of the show. For help finding those products Outdoor Retailer has included a design center.

"It’s a resource center for product development people," Devin said. "Larger stores are making their own product and then you have exhibiting companies like or North Face dealing or talking with suppliers. It’s a design center that talks about trends and fabric. Buyers that I’ve spoken to, Cabelas and REI, look at that as a potential help to them."

When building a product, Devin said, this could be beneficial in assisting companies to complete the design puzzle.

"Building a product is really exciting," Devin said. "There’s a lot of moving parts, you may put it all together in another country. There’s a large significant amount of suppliers that are making products for all those folks, they come from all over the world."

The show will also provide educational tools for attendees to help their businesses flourish. The events and seminars will discuss environmental sustainability, accessories, digital printing, sports trends, and influences to customer service dynamics, Devin said.

"The education opportunities at the show will be the best that we put together," Devin said. "It’s a fabulous track for buyers and primarily designed for retailers."

Even though the show will see an increase in apparel, there will be no shortage of the latest winter sports mountaineering gear and backcountry snowboards to technical apparel. Top trends, according to Devin, include "an increase in environmentally-conscious products across all segments."

To help chose what products buyers want in their stores, Outdoor Retailer is holding its fourth annual Backcountry Base Camp on Friday, Jan. 26 at Brighton from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to test backcountry equipment prior to making buying decisions.

The event will feature backcountry-guided tours, a Nordic facility, snowshoe testing area, and a beacon search area among other events. The Base Camp Bash will be held immediately following the on-snow demos at the Alpine Rose from 4 – 6 p.m.

"This is an opportunity for retailers around the world to demo products on the snow," Devin said. "It’s been a really successful event, it’s a wonderful advantage of buyer. Buyers will often switch decisions based on the demo."

The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Show will take place Jan. 27-30 at the Salt Palace Convention Center with the Backcountry Base Camp scheduled on Jan. 26, one day prior to the Show. Registration details for Winter Market 2007 and more information on Outdoor Retailer tradeshows can be found at http://www.outdoorretailer.com.

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