By  on December 8, 2004

CHICAGO — Who says less is more? At Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, more is more in 2005.

Market organizers are providing increased opportunities to shop the popular StyleMax show, Chicago’s largest women’s apparel event, conducting comprehensive markets in March, August and October.

Urbanwear buyers also will have   more times to shop the almost one-year-old Pulse, set for January, March, June and September.

That’s not all. StyleMax will move to the Mart’s renovated seventh floor. In turn, the show, which, on average, boasts some 4,000 resources, will be remerchandised, featuring longer aisles and more natural groupings of categories.

“You always want to make it as easy as you can for buyers to shop,” said Susan McCullough, vice president of apparel for Merchandise Mart Properties Inc.

Moving to the seventh floor, with its new carpeting and open space, creates more room for contemporary and young contemporary lines, which were “landlocked” on the eighth floor. Prior to the reconfiguration, a buyer might have found a misses’ line next to a young contemporary manufacturer, McCullough said.

Also, according to McCullough, there is a stronger bridge selection, including more dress and special-occasion vendors, as well as an expanded outerwear collection for the upcoming March edition.

StyleMax, which has experienced double-digit growth annually since its inception four years ago, picks up a third show in 2005 and adds a fourth show in January 2006.

“Manufacturers said they want regular access to their Midwest customers four times a year,” McCullough said. “This is something we always planned to do. We hope our four shows will be competitive with anywhere else in the world.”

This year’s new August show “will find its own identity,” McCullough said, noting that resort and swimwear will be obvious key categories. “For shows, it takes a year to sort themselves out. We anticipate the core of the show will be the same [as March and October],” she said.

StyleMax also has begun to attract buyers from outside its immediate territory. “Our base is really starting to spread out,” McCullough said. “We’re getting retailers from South Carolina, Kentucky and Georgia.”

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