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Outdoor Retailer Winter Market opens Thursday

Published January 7, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (BRAIN) — The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market opens Thursday, only a few days into the New Year. With the show opening more than two weeks earlier than in years past, exhibitors have their fingers crossed.

Will retailers flood the Salt Palace Convention Center halls or will the shift to early January take a toll on attendance? Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer's vice president, said from all the data OR has compiled retailers will be here.

Pre-registration numbers for retail buyers is up 8 percent and the show has attracted more than 1,000 exhibitors with more than 200 exhibiting for the first time. A major segment of international exhibitors is comprised of textile companies from Taiwan and China, which have filled several halls at the convention center.

And while firm numbers have yet to be compiled, OR's All Mountain Demo at nearby Solitude Ski Resort, held Wednesday, was packed with retailers demo'ing the latest in skis, boots and other outdoor equipment. Retailers enjoyed perfect weather to test gear. Temperatures were in the low teens and some two inches of new snow filtered down during the day.

Shifting dates for a trade show the size of Outdoor Retailer is always a challenge, but Nicholson said extensive research and a survey of 6,000 exhibitors and retailers helped her cinch the decision to move the dates far forward into early January.

"We found there was exhibitor and retail support of the new January dates as being the preferred time for the show," she said in a brief interview with BRAIN. The show's move allows retailers to see new products earlier in the selling cycle and it puts some distance between other trade shows like SIA and the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend in mid-January.

Nicholson said another benefit is the show no longer competes with the Sundance Film Festival. The winter show has traditionally been held at the same time as Sundance putting pressure on hotel rooms and restaurants in Salt Lake, Park City and other nearby venues.

Winter weather is always an issue at this show and this year is no different. For East Coast retailers it's been a tough winter as unseasonably warm temperatures and poor ski conditions have taken a bite out of winter sales.

On the other hand, retailers in the Rockies and the West Coast have enjoyed early season snow and a continuing stream of winter storms, fueled by El Nino, have kept cash registers ringing. It's exact opposite of the last few years when East Coast retailers enjoyed record snow falls buried in snow and the West suffered through a record drought.

The Cat Crap folks were using this Pugsley as a prop in their OR booth.
Topics associated with this article: Tradeshows and conferences

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