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Chicago: International Home + Housewares Show

The International Home + Housewares Show  is the world’s premier housewares marketplace, features 2,100 exhibitors from 34 countries, and more than 20,000 buyers from over 100 countries around the world. The show was sold-out, with 2,115 exhibitors from 46 countries and an increase in total buyer attendance from US and international markets. The show also included a series of educational sessions, including keynote programs on the convergence of housewares and giftware, color trends by Lee Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute, an overview of consumer trends by Tom Mirabile of Lifetime Brands, and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaking at the annual Industry Breakfast.  We have to assume that, now he’s no longer running for president, the Mittster has considerably more time available for thinking about things like furniture and housewares…  #interiordesign

Los Angeles: California Gift Show – Winter

You wanted to be reminded of all the things you might want but don’t own yet?  You needed The California Gift Show (Winter), bringing together “an unparalleled offering of local resources, destination lines and international fare”.  This year there was a significantly expanded exhibitor base in eight well-balanced product categories, curated in a way ideally suited to the West Coast retail audience.  Sectors on show included Gifts, Design, Markers’ Market, Personal Style, Boardwalk, World Style, Vintage, and Jewelry Cash & Carry.  It all added up to “the largest gift & home market in the West”.  Attendance saw growth in a
number of key western region trading areas, including California, Oregon and Nevada. Steady buyer traffic, combined with a number of new show promotions and programs, came together to create an upbeat atmosphere on the show floor, we found.   The newly expanded and rebranded “Makers’ Market “ section put a special spotlight on artisans and designers showcasing handcrafted crafts in a variety of categories, including jewelry, home décor and tabletop. Where do the ideas come from?  It’s a special gift…  #CAGiftShow

Salt Lake City: Outdoor Retailer Winter Market

The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market had them stamping the metaphorical snow off their boots, and lining up to meet leading winter sports equipment retailers, manufacturers and outdoor industry professionals. Delegates could discover new winter sports products, apparel and gear at the leading winter sports market business-to-business trade event, the OR Winter Market. This popular outdoor gear trade show featured the best of the winter sports market, geared so that leading outdoor industry manufacturers could introduce winter sports products — oh,  and summer outdoor products too, come to mention it. Attracting thousands of buyers, top winter and summer sports manufacturers and the newest innovative outdoor kit, this outdoor market was the place to be.  The show attracted thousands of buyers and senior level decision-makers looking for winter sports equipment, specific products, services, brands, fresh ideas, apparel launches, and outdoor innovation.  No snow job, this…!  #Orshow

New York City: National Retail Federation – Retail’s BIG Show – NRF

NRF is all about the National Retail Federation, and this jamboree is pitched as “Retail’s BIG Show”, with 33,000 attendees, international delegations, hundreds of sessions and miles of exhibition space.  Being innovative (and being perceived as innovative) has Holy Grail status for most retail companies today, especially as consumers’ behavior continues to evolve.  In a breakout session about omnichannel retailing on Monday, Staples Executive Vice President of Global E-commerce Faisal Masud said innovation isn’t optional, it’s required. “You don’t have a choice. You need to innovate,” he said. But innovation isn’t exactly easy, especially in large companies. Innovation slows when businesses are doing well, Masud pointed out, an observation echoed by Uber’s “head of Uber everything” Jason Droege.  As more retailers embrace digital as a driver of all commerce, the organizational structure of many retail companies remains a hurdle to growth and innovation — even as most companies accept the new world of converging channels.  Kind of like chasing your own (re)tail….. #nrf15

Las Vegas: NACS Show – National Association of Convenience Stores

The NACS Show is laid on by the National Association of Convenience Stores.  Every year the NACS Show brings together convenience and fuel retailing industry professionals for four days of learning, buying and selling, networking and fun, all designed to help participants run successful operations. This one’s for industry retailers who are serious about the success of their business, and U.S. convenience stores reached record in-store sales in 2013, with sales climbing 2.4% to $204 billion apparently.   With more than 390,000 square feet of exhibit space, the NACS Show is  one of the country’s top 50 trade shows overall, we heard, (that’s according to the Trade Show News Network’s Top 250 Trade Shows in the United States). Year after year this bustling showcase, including the Cool New Products Preview Room, is a launch pad for retailing’s  future, with new innovations, products, services and other growth opportunities.  It’s easy once you’ve got the “NAC(S)”….  #NACSShow

Seattle: Shop.org Annual Summit

Shop.org Annual Summit lured 5,200 professionals to Seattle for the Shop.org Summit, an event specifically for digital and multichannel retailers. They were there to get the rush of discovering new ideas, getting actionable takeaways, and building relationships with the brightest and most innovative players in the digital retail world.  The Digital Retail Boot Camp was a one-day, rigorous hands-on workshop designed with the entry- to intermediate-level manager in mind. The big idea was to jump-start online initiatives. New managers were able get up to speed, and more experienced managers could focus on the fundamentals.  On hand were more than 280 solution providers ready to demo and discuss the latest solutions to online retail problems — whoops, we meant opportunities.  Once you found what you were looking for, all you had to do was “add to cart”, then “go to checkout”….  Don’t worry, the summit made sure everything “checked out”…  #shoporg14

Las Vegas: CaterSource & Event Solutions

CaterSource brags that its Las Vegas meet hosted over 3,000 visitors (and one Iron Chef) from fifty-two countries, and generated 18,000 tweets and nearly 13.000 retweets.  Cater source education contributes to the mandatory courses in sanitation, nutrition and business management.   Delegates could take 30 minutes to meet with the Cater source Consulting Unit and get free practical advice about their business;  all they had to do was bring their materials and sit one-on-one with an experienced consultant who was there to help boost operations, sales and marketing techniques.  Not enough?  Members of the CaterSource and Event Solutions Advisory Board were available in the Attendee Lounge throughout the Conference, for impromptu pronouncements. The onsite Cater source Store was stocked full of great new and classic resource and souvenir items. From t-shirts and swag to books and DVDs, browsers could find dozens of items relevant to the catering and event industries.  Clockwork talking hamburger, anyone?  #AOFC2014