Mike Hartnett, Publisher of Creative Leisure News filed this report about the CHA Summer Show:
The show was smaller in terms of exhibitors, booths, and buyers, but larger than CLN expected, given the state of the economy and reports of substantial declines at the Atlanta and Dallas gift shows. This morning there was a report that even convention attendance in Las Vegas is down 10%. CLN should have specific show numbers in the next issue.
Despite the smaller size, a member of Sierra Pacific Crafts, the industry's most successful group of independent retailers, told CLN that SPC members who attended all reported finding exciting new products for their stores. Buyers were was cautious, but definitely placed orders.
Scrapbooking is down, but leveling. One key scrapbook vendor told CLN, "Attendance was down, but the market is where it should be. We no longer have retailers rushing in, placing a big order, then going out of business in six months."
There were three major topics of conversation:
1. Inflation. Some vendors seemed almost in a state of shock as they told CLN how the cost of their raw materials has skyrocketed. Double-digit increases two and three times this year were not uncommon– and warnings that more increases were on the way.
"If there is any good news in all this," a major vendor told CLN, "it's that the retailers finally realize we have to pass along some of these increases. For a long time they wouldn't accept any increase; now they finally are beginning to understand."
Part of the chains' more-understanding attitude is that they are feeling it first hand. As they attempt more direct importing, they are seeing price increases as inflation increases in China. The products cost more, as does the shipping.
2. Recession. Every retailer CLN talked to said sales were down. In some cases traffic was up, but the average sale was lower. One craft retailer told CLN, "I sell Yankee candles. One of the more expensive candles is a half-tank of gas. Customers are thinking like that these days."
3. Orlando. The '09 Summer Show is moving to Orlando, on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday in late July, followed by a two-day consumer show. (As CLN understands it, trade exhibitors will not be required to exhibit at the consumer show.)
The majority of attendees CLN talked to opposed the move, but that might be because they could drive to Chicago. The next issue of CLN will include an opportunity for you to vote on the move.
Many of the specific issues of the consumer show – who can exhibit, who can sell, how will the show be promoted, etc., have not been completed, but that didn't stop the rumors from spreading like wildfire. (Advice: Withhold judgement about the consumer show until all of the details have been determined.)
There will be more details, plus other news, in the next edition of CLN, online Monday, July 28.
Read more about the creative industries at Creative Leisure News Online: http://clnonline.com/