Outdoor Retailer shifts dates, adds new winter show | ParkRecord.com

Outdoor Retailer shifts dates, adds new winter show

Changes include a new Winter Market show

Outdoor Retailer announced new dates for its annual trade shows held in Salt Lake City. The organization says the schedule change will benefit retailers and manufacturers, but SnowSports Industries America, a trade organization based in Park City, has expressed reservations about the shift.

Park City retailers and manufacturers of outdoor gear are going to need to adjust their calendars.

The Outdoor Industries Association recently announced a major change to the schedules for its Outdoor Retailer trade shows, held each year in Salt Lake City. Starting in 2018, a new Winter Market show will be held in November, in addition to the annual January show, while the Summer Market will take place earlier in the year, in June.

Outdoor Retailer said in a press release announcing the changes that the new schedule is the result of extensive research and discussions with stakeholders in the outdoor industry. Kate Lowery, a spokeswoman for Emerald Expositions, the company that owns Outdoor Retailer, said in an email interview that the dates will better serve retailers because they are positioned at the beginning of buying cycles that have become more clearly defined in recent years.

"Each (event) has a different purpose and once we release all the details, retailers and brands will be able to choose which best suit their needs," she said. "We realized, through our research and our conversations, that our current dates weren't working and that retailers are moving to a four-season buying cycle.

"Moving the shows into the beginning of the different buy/sell cycles enables retailers to gather the most information possible, across all categories of outdoor, and then go back to their regional shows, closer to the order deadlines, and make informed buying decisions," she added.

Lowery said the factors that led to the date changes first became apparent about eight years ago, when manufacturing and ordering deadlines for soft goods such as clothing, began to shift. The deadlines for footwear and hard goods eventually began changing, too, leading Outdoor Retailer to begin exploring new dates for the trade shows.

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Outdoor Retailer soon discovered that most merchants wanted to use the trade shows as kick-off events for the buying cycles, she said.

However, some in the outdoor industry have expressed reservations about the new schedule. SnowSports Industries of America, a trade organization that represents suppliers of winter gear, said it's concerned that the new dates, and the addition of another winter trade show, may put a financial strain on manufacturers and retailers. SIA, which recently moved its headquarters to Park City, also puts on a large winter trade show of its own, the Snow Show held each January in Denver.

Nick Sargent, president of SIA, said in an interview that those in the winter gear industry may find the schedule unmanageable because they must also attend a number of regional trade shows throughout the year.

"Now, you force the buyers to pick and choose which shows to go to, but you also put a lot of financial pressure on the manufacturer, who has to go create the booths, set up the booths and show the product," he said. "And if the retailers aren't there, it doesn't make sense for the manufacturers to be there."

Sargent said SIA has discussed potential ways to consolidate the trade show schedule with Emerald Expositions. One option would be to eventually merge the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market with the SIA Snow Show. The challenge, he said, is finding a compromise that would be in the best interest of SIA's members and also allow Emerald Expositions, a for-profit company, to meet its bottom line.

Lowery said in an email that, while there is overlap between the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market and the Snow Show, they serve largely different markets. She said only about 17 percent of the more than 1,000 brands that attend the Winter Market also appear at the Snow Show, and Outdoor Retailer is committed to doing what it views as best for its brands and retailers.

Still, she said, Outdoor Retailer has an open line of communication with SIA and is receptive to exploring various options with the organization.

"Even though the crossover is small, at the end of the day, if the market would like the two shows to join, we would be open to discussions," she said.
She added: "As an organization we are always looking at ways to grow the show and support the industry. If a relationship in the future presents itself, we would be happy to explore the possibilities."