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The Collections to make a 3-day format debut at WSA
Aug '08
The footwear and accessories marketplace was in full-swing this past week at The WSA Show and The Collections at WSA, held in Las Vegas. The industry's biggest names were out, and business flourished in every market category, from men's, women's, and kids' shoes, to jewelry and accessories, with exhibitor participation that included category leaders, emerging brands and rising stars. An estimated 29,515 participants from 99 countries/territories were in attendance in Las Vegas, representing a 2.8% increase over the February show.

“We are extremely pleased with the participation in this edition of the show,” said Diane Stone, chief operating officer. “We approach buyer recruitment by talking one-on-one with the top-tier retail organizations that are important to the brands, and 86% of those retail organizations attended the show. Like all businesses today,” Stone continued, “some of their teams were smaller in line with controlling their costs, as we all are, but their buying power was here and that's what's most important.”

On the first day, the show floor was buzzing when singer and actress “Fergie” appeared at the Brown Shoe Co. booth to launch her new footwear collections: Fergie and Fergalicious by Fergie. The Fergie collection boasts sophisticated, sexy shoes with a glam rock influence while the Fergalicious by Fergie line embodies the popstar's fun and funky pop rock edge. Both lines will make their in-store debut for Spring '09.

Major brands such as Steve Madden and Geox benefitted from being at The WSA Show. “The WSA Show has been a very successful show for us,” stated Phil Pine, national sales manager, Steve Madden. Kitty Bolinger, director of sales, Geox, mirrored Pine's sentiment by saying, “We're very pleased with the attendance to the show. We maintained a strong, consistent traffic flow to our booth and received tremendous response to our women's sandals.”

Another part of the show causing a stir was The Box at WSA. Doubling the size from its February debut, The Box at WSA offered retailers and buyers better, contemporary, trend-driven handbags and footwear in an open, hip boutique-style environment, allowing visitors to freely explore and discover next season's trends from new and established designers including Velvet Angels, Sergio Tomani, Gwyneth, Boutique 9, Dikuza, Sacha London, Dulce, GogoGear, Anouk, NeuAura, Peta Martin, Joan & David, Manas Spa, Kathryn Amberleigh, Tara Crystalle, YOU by Crocs, Nina, Charles David and Kowalski.

“Exhibiting in The Box has been a terrific experience for us. As a new brand, it was the perfect venue for buyers to discover our product, and with a very minimal investment, we were able to make a really big impact,” said Joe Ponce, president, Velvet Angels. “The Box really has become the venue that WSA envisioned it to be.”

Attendees from all 50 states, plus Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, were among those to walk the show floor alongside buyers from 99 countries/territories from all continents. The global buyer recruitment efforts were strengthened significantly for this show, and in addition to the efforts of WSA's Retail Relations Team, The WSA Show and The Collections at WSA were recently accepted into the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) International Buyer Program, which accepts only 32 tradeshows per year.

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