LAS VEGAS — There is no way to replicate a tactile experience virtually, which is one reason the OFFPRICE Show during Fashion Week in Las Vegas this February was such a success. At OFFPRICE, retailers can touch and feel the inventory from exhibiting brands, wholesalers and distributors. The show, which is the leading B2B off-price apparel trade show in the U.S., takes place biannually and draws a wide range of buyers, from small-business owners to retailers for national chain stores.
This year, the OFFPRICE Show, which took place Feb. 13-16 at The Venetian Las Vegas, saw a discernible uptick in business from last year’s show in August, with an increase in the number of exhibitors and retailers.
Though the OFFPRICE Show is not back to the regular size of a pre-pandemic show, according to Tricia Barglof, Executive Director of OFFPRICE Show, the square footage and number of exhibitors did increase by 25% in comparison to August. The number of international companies, representing 50 countries and Puerto Rico, was less than 5% off of the last show they hosted during Fashion Week in February 2020, Barglof said.
Exhibiting companies included Empire Apparel, DM Merchandising and S.A.S.C.O. Apparel Group, and there was growth in interest from retailers out of South America and Mexico, in particular.
As safety and hygiene procedures are normalized, people feel more comfortable to travel and meet face to face, according to Barglof. “While attendance is still a bit down, the quality of the retailer that is coming is eager and willing to buy, and the new connections being made have been top-level interactions,” she said.
Because of the vast array of exhibitor categories found at the OFFPRICE Show, retailers had the ability to source products for numerous departments all at once. The merchandise on display was ready to ship and often offered retailers profit margins of 50% or more. Another benefit of the show is the sustainability factor, with buyers able to purchase products from retailers that would otherwise go to waste.
The business that took place could only happen at a live event.
“As a tactile industry, you cannot truly understand the quality of a product unless you can touch, feel and see it,” Barglof said. “And because retailers are working hard to find product, the majority of merchandise displayed at the OFFPRICE Show is immediate inventory that is available and ready to ship.”
Aside from challenges hosting the trade show because of the pandemic, the industry is also dealing with supply-chain issues and consumers’ changing shopping habits. According to a statement from Audrey Taylor, Global Retail Business Manager at OFFPRICE, “Supply chain news and uncertainty sparked a great deal of curiosity and eagerness to see what goods and deals were available at OFFPRICE. Many retailers are shifting their strategies due to changing demographics and shopping habits as a result of the pandemic, so they come to our show to develop relationships with new vendors.”
Despite the current economic and supply-chain issues, the overall sentiment for both buyers and exhibitors has been cautiously optimistic for 2022, according to Barglof.
“The supply chain disruption normally means that there will be a lot of product available in the off-price market and at very competitive pricing,” Barglof said. “The community is watching very closely the effect of inflation and shipping costs, and what that means for the consumer’s eagerness to spend.”
Other trade shows taking place during Fashion Week included MAGIC and WWIN, which focuses on women’s wear. “We remain very positive about the future of our event, because there is no other place where a retailer can go and see several hundred exhibitors all under one roof. And with MAGIC and WWIN also happening at the same time, Las Vegas Fashion Week is the most efficient use of a buyer’s time,” Barglof said.
The MAGIC Is Back
As a testament to the resiliency of the fashion industry, another successful trade show took place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York from Feb. 27-March 1: COTERIE and MAGIC New York, organized by Informa Markets Fashion. The event serves the entirety of the fashion ecosystem, providing an all-encompassing platform from big box and department stores to boutique retailers, attending to discover the latest products and new lines for their customers, according to Kelly Helfman, President of Informa Markets Fashion.
COTERIE New York featured more than 150 new brands and 700 exhibiting companies on the show floor, while MAGIC New York offered more than 60 new brands —a 36% increase from last September’s show — and 300 brands on the show floor. Retailer attendance rose as well, with an increase in registration of large stores including chain and department stores, and higher international registration with 80 countries represented.
“The return of COTERIE and MAGIC New York for our second live in-person event was much welcomed by the fashion community,” Helfman said. “We’ve continued to learn and adapt with what our industry needs in order to create an event that centers around our community. We’re all about discovery, connection and spotlighting the latest trends, so that brands, both established and emergent, have a voice to promote their product, and retailers are able to ink deals with the hottest new brands across multiple women’s categories spanning from advanced contemporary to trend.”
Contact: Tricia Barglof at (262) 754-6932 or email@example.com