SUPER SHOW TO STRUT ITS STUFF
Byline: Brenda Lloyd
The Super Show, already a star among trade shows in size and scope, will outdo itself next month for its 10th anniversary.
Not only do show organizers plan scores of special events and promotions, The Super Show, which takes place in Atlanta Feb. 3-6, will be bigger than ever.
Attendance is expected to top 105,000 this year, perhaps even hitting 115,000. The show has grown steadily since 1986, when it drew 55,000. Attendance in 1994 was 104,495, of which 71,285 were buyers, 16,467 from foreign countries, and nearly 900 were members of the media.
There will be more than 3,000 exhibitors — up from 2,793 in 1994.
A weekend of events is planned, from an opening ceremony on Friday morning in both the East and West Halls of the GWCC, to a party thrown by the City of Atlanta at Underground Atlanta Sunday night.
An new special segment has been added for in-line skating. According to Hardy Katz, show manager, the In-Line Skating Show, with 125 to 150 booths, will be in the auditorium on Level Two East of the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC). Katz said that the seats will be removed from the auditorium and scaffolding installed to level this new exhibition area.
The city has good reason to help the Super Show celebrate this milestone. The show, which is GWCC’s biggest, is expected to contribute $72.3 million to Atlanta this year.
It is also the city’s biggest convention — the only one that tops 100,000 in attendance.
The show, sponsored by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, is spread out over four venues covering 2.3 million square feet: the GWCC; the Georgia Dome, which is connected to the GWCC by a covered walkway; and the Atlanta Apparel Mart and adjoining Inforum, both several blocks away.
Last year, the sporting goods industry (sports apparel, equipment and athletic shoes) had a wholesale volume of about $36.5 billion. Many of these dollars will be booked at The Super Show, which retailers use as a “one-stop shopping experience,” according to Mike May, director of communications for the SGMA.
The Super Show idea germinated in 1984/1985, when the SGMA and other industry leaders decided to create one major trade show to take the place of several small ones.
There were nine original shows, including the tennis and fitness shows and the Activewear Show. As trends began to influence and dominate the sporting goods industry, other shows were added, including the Licensed Sports Show and, the latest, the In-Line Skating Show.
Apparel can be found throughout the show, but is centralized in the Activewear Show where major sportswear companies such as Reebok, Russell Athletic and Adidas show the latest trends in apparel. Nike, always in the GWCC ballroom, sets itself apart.
The SGMA’s Sports Apparel Products Council predicts strong growth this year in sports apparel, as much as six percent, with teens a major part of the business.
According to the SGMA, sports apparel sales in 1994 were about $13.34 million wholesale, a 5 percent increase from 1993. The entire sporting goods market grew by about 6 percent, slightly better than the industry’s 4 to 5 percent projection.
Teens represent only 9 percent of all sports apparel wearers, but they account for 29 percent of retail dollar purchases, according to a recent SGMA study. They own the most licensed apparel (81 percent), basketball apparel (58 percent) and outdoor wear.
And while sales growth of licensed apparel has slowed down, teen purchases of in-line skating apparel, cross-training, outdoor apparel and “authentic” look licensed apparel are expected to show good growth in 1995.
Manufacturers are projecting 10 percent growth in licensed apparel this year, according to the SGMA, but retailers are less optimistic because of lost sales due to the cancellation of the baseball season, the shortened pro-hockey season, and concern about major league baseball this year.
Fleecewear sales, especially T-shirts and sweats, were soft last year but the SGMA predicts that they will improve in 1995 because of a fashion comeback in warm-ups.
The SGMA study shows that sports apparel sales abroad could grow as much as 5 percent in Europe this year, with the U.K., Italy and Spain being the key prospects for growth.