A Little More MAGIC - Attendees, Exhibitors, Space All Up

February 19, 2012

Although the retail industry hasn’t fully recovered from the gloom and doom of recent years, there were green shoots of promise growing at Advanstar Communications’ MAGIC Marketplace, the world’s largest trade show for the fashion industry.

Held at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino Feb. 13-15, the biannual behemoth draws global buyers and sellers of the latest trends in men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, footwear, accessories and sourcing resources.

Show representatives were unable to release attendance figures by press time, but expectations were for the event’s attendance to be well above February 2011 participation, when more than 60,000 attendees converged at the show, according to Chris DeMoulin, MAGIC International president and executive vice president of Advanstar’s Fashion Group.

This year, MAGIC attracted approximately 3,800 exhibitors occupying more than 800,000 square feet of exhibit space, while last February 3,500 exhibitors spanned more than 700,000 sq. ft., he added.

“Our show has been growing since the post-recession 2009 show, and we’ve been growing ever since,” DeMoulin said.

He added, “Now, I think there’s this general sense that we’ve finally turned a corner. Consumer confidence is up a little bit (and) unemployment is down, so we can be bullish in 2012. We’re seeing that reflected in booth sales and in the excitement level.”

In an effort to keep that positive energy flowing, MAGIC continues to add more value in the form of new floor sections, events and activities, as well as a deeper foray into the social and digital world to connect with a broader audience and extend the life of the event for the fashion community, DeMoulin said. 

Although DeMoulin added there are many exciting plans for the show ahead, it appears he won’t be overseeing the implementation.

According to a recent announcement by Advanstar, Tom Florio, former Conde Nast executive and Vogue publishing director, will be taking the helm of the show as CEO of Advanstar Fashion Group, while DeMoulin will be transitioning to executive vice president of customer development and president of licensing.

Neither Florio nor DeMoulin were available for comment by press time on the executive changes.

On a busy, energetic showfloor, exhibitors and attendees alike said they had indeed noticed a pick up in the show this year.

Exhibitor Karen Castellano, senior account executive of Yummie, said she was pleased with both the traffic, as well as the gradual recovery she was seeing in her industry.

“Business has been good, the general outlook for most of the stores has been better than it has been in the past couple of years and there’s a lot more people opening stores, which has been promising,” Castellano said. “I have pretty positive expectations for the show and the industry.”

Attendee Koko Ward, owner of A Walk In the Woods, said that even though many of her colleagues were still hoping for better days ahead, her store had had its best year ever in 2011.

“My business has been good and so far the show has been good,” Ward said. “The selections are good, the prices are good and there are new companies here, which is good. When my feet start to hurt, things might not be so good.”

MAGIC will return Aug. 20-23 to Las Vegas.

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