Winter Fancy Food Show, PCMA Annual Meeting, National Retail Show All Break Records

January 29, 2012

And the good news just keeps on coming, with several shows across a broad spectrum – from fancy foods to convention managers to retail – all reporting record-breaking numbers.

The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade reported that their recent Winter Fancy Food Show, which was held Jan. 15-17 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, drew the biggest crowds the show had ever had, with 18,000 buyers checking out the marketplace devoted exclusively to specialty foods and beverages on the West Coast.

The showfloor also was completely sold out, covering 206,000 square feet of exhibit space, up from 196,000 sq. ft. last year.

To accommodate the demand from exhibitors, NASFT added exhibit space that allowed 60 more specialty food makers to present their products.

“The numbers are strong and so is the spirit of innovation and creativity that are the foundations of the specialty food industry,” says NASFT president Ann Daw.

She added, “Our industry is showing renewed vigor.”

The Professional Convention Management Association’s annual meeting, held Jan. 10-13 at the San Diego Convention Center, also drew a record-breaking number of convention managers to the event packed with networking and education sessions.

More than 3,743 attendees, a record that originally was set at last year’s event in Las Vegas, showed up for this year’s PCMA annual event, with a 9-percent year-over-year increase in planner participation.

PCMA’s hybrid event also attracted more attention this year, with total hours spent in sessions increasing from 3,123 in 2011 to 5,123 this year.

"We're very fortunate our leadership feels strongly that the association has to be on the leading edge of meeting trends and that our members allow us to continue to take risks,” said Deborah Sexton, PCMA president and CEO. “If attendees leave here excited about trying something new - changing it up - that's what it’s all about.”

She added, “With the help of our on-site production partners Active Network, bXb Online, Experient, Freeman, INXPO and MultiView this year’s engagement numbers confirm we’re delivering an experience our member’s need and want both virtually and face-to-face. We’ve raised the bar and set expectations.”

The National Retail Federation’s 101st annual event - Retail’s BIG Show, NRF’s 101st Annual Convention and EXPO – also broke all previous attendance records, drawing a crowd of 25,500 attendees, compared with last year’s 22,500 attendees.

The show was held Jan. 15-18 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center of New York and featured a 152,000 sq. ft. showfloor, which was 95 percent rebooked for next year’s show.

“The phrase ‘jaw-dropping’ best summarizes the overall theme of NRF’s 2012 Annual Convention, and there was a buzz in the air like never before,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

He added, “From President Bill Clinton’s inspirational keynote to the jam-packed EXPO hall full of the latest retail technologies, every aspect of the event was bigger and better this year.”

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