LAS VEGAS, NV (11 August 2004) -- World Shoe Association's (WSA) four-day show in Las Vegas ended last week as the most successful in the organization's history, with attendance of 24,272 industry professionals, an increase of 14% over the August, 2003 show. The worldwide audience attended to order Spring 2005 products from some 1,600 domestic and international exhibitors, including nearly 175 first-time exhibitors from 39 foreign countries, the US and Puerto Rico.
Commenting on the event staged at the Sands Expo, Mandalay Bay Convention Center and Venetian Hotel, Diane Stone, WSA's incoming chief operating officer, says, "The breadth of the global footwear industry was assembled here, offering buyers the most comprehensive opportunity in this part of the world. For every facet of the footwear retail scene men's, women's, kids, athletic, outdoor, luxury high-fashion and more this was the place to be." Stone explains, "While everyone always asks for the number of participants at trade shows, the true measure of success and value to an industry marketplace is the amount of business transacted and how the buyers and sellers view the show. In that regard," she adds, "the feedback I have received from hundreds of participants is extremely positive."
Scott Radcliffe, public relations manager of Birkenstock USA, states, "The WSA show is an integral part of our sales and marketing strategy. It gives Birkenstock the opportunity to introduce our new lines to the industry and also provides a great venue to meet new buyers and visit with existing retailers. Simply put, WSA means business."
"Buyers appreciated the variety and quality of the product selection," Stone says. "We have a lot of very happy exhibitors who wrote a tremendous amount of business and many, many excited retailers who saw new styles and found new resources. "From a personal standpoint," Stone continues, "being new to WSA and the footwear industry, I learned that this show is extremely important to people's businesses, and being there has great value to manufacturers and buyers alike."
Other Show highlights included the following:
- Shoe aficionados united to welcome the hottest footwear styles during QVC's special three-hour event, Live From The World Shoe Association, Las Vegas. The broadcast, aired live from the floor of one of the world's largest shoe shows, featured 11 brands and hot fall trends and yielded sales of 15,731 pairs of shoes. Additionally, QVC staged a get-acquainted event for new vendors to explore QVC opportunities. "We are always looking for new and exciting ways to make the customer's shopping experience unique," says Doug Howe, QVC Merchandising Vice President of Fashion and Beauty. "Based on the customer's response, partnering with World Shoe Association was a big hit."
- CBS-TV's "Early Show," with Lynda Lopez, was at the Show and will feature highlights in a segment scheduled for broadcast on Friday, August 13.
- Rod Stewart performed to a sell-out crowd at WSA's opening night event at the Aladdin Performing Arts Center;
- eBay conducted practical sessions providing instruction on the basics of moving new or excess inventory through eBay;
- A series of seminars was presented by the publishers of Sports Edge Magazine, focusing on small and mid-size athletic footwear retailers, and featuring practical and efficient business and marketing applications;
- Ellen Campuzano presented a fashionFACTSfolio Spring Fashion Preview; and,
- National Shoe Retailers Association conducted a series of seminars on topics targeted for independent specialty retailers.
As the largest footwear trade association in the country, WSA has more than 5,000 members and stages two of the top 25 largest trade shows in the US. The next show is scheduled February 5-8, 2005, at the same venues in Las Vegas.
WSA is headquartered at 20281 S.W. Birch St., Suite 100, Newport Beach, CA 92660; (949) 851-8451; www.wsashow.com.