By  on June 20, 2007

LAS VEGAS — Women's athletic apparel seeks to be more stylish for spring 2008, with exhibitors at the SGMA Spring Market last week featuring running skirts and dresses in feminine colors and silhouettes.

The SGMA Spring Market, which the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association launched June 11 to 13 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center here, replaced the Super Show that closed for the last time in January in Orlando, Fla. The new show is targeted to reach small and medium-size retailers, but the majors also attended, including The Sports Authority, Dick's Sporting Goods, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Chick's, City Sports and Modell's.

Tom Cove, president and chief executive officer of SGMA, said the new show is more balanced than the Super Show, which was about 50 percent licensed product. SGMA Spring Market is more equally distributed among apparel, footwear, team sports, equipment and licensed product.

Cove said the show had a "good mix" of key big brands and smaller ones: Asics America, Under Armour, Russell Athletic, Mizuno USA, Everlast Worldwide and New Balance. Nike and Adidas didn't participate.

SGMA and the Team Athletic Goods buying group, which held its own annual summer buying event here, had a total of about 350 exhibitors. "We're happy with the support and the number of large brands here," Cove said. "[This show] is all about getting the retailers here. We're going to build value one step at a time and listen to what comes out of this show. We want to make it a valuable business proposition to retailers and, for that, you have to provide good quality education with conferences as well as networking opportunities."

Steve Battista, vice president of brand marketing for Under Armour, said the industry needs a good gathering place. "We had five of the top 10 [sporting goods] retailers in here on the first day," he said.

Doug Kelly, president of Russell Athletic, liked the timing, noting Russell was just releasing its spring 2008 line. "We really don't have an opportunity, other than small dealer shows, to be in front of our customers in force," Kelly said. "This is a chance to rejuvenate the show and have all your executives together. You can see your large accounts regularly, but not the smaller and medium accounts."

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