This was a year of growth for the off-price market, and it was a time when more retailers wanted a piece of the market in which apparel is sold for 20 percent to 70 percent below wholesale prices.
Macy’s Inc. is scheduled to introduce its own off-price stores this fall called Backstage. Nordstrom Inc. opened 11 of its off-price Nordstrom Rack stores in 2015, and before the year ends it plans to open 16 more.
The Offprice show, which ran Aug. 15–18 at Hall G on the ground floor of the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, saw an increase in booth real estate, said Stephen Krogulski, chief executive officer for Offprice. The show saw a 5 percent increase in exhibitors over last year, he said. The August 2015 show featured 500 vendors exhibiting at 1,300 booths.
He also noted that categories of retailers shopping Offprice have expanded. Along with off-price majors shopping at the show—including Citi-Trends, Gabriel Bros., Bealls Inc. and National Stores Inc.—independent grocery stores sent buyers to the show. Mom-and-pop retailers selling off-price goods through online venues such as eBay also were spotted at the show.
Reports on show traffic were mixed. Tony Peters, vice president of sales for Bermo LLC, said the pace of the show was busy. The first day of the show felt like it was packed with wall-to-wall people, he said. Attendance seemed to drop the second day of the show, when MAGIC and its satellite shows opened for business, but attendance had not dropped as precipitously as it had in previous editions, he said.
At the show, buyers were looking for clothes with a technical angle. “I can’t give a cotton piqué polo away, but if it’s anything with moisture, wicking or technical fabric, everybody wants it,” Peters said.
Eli Pirian, director for the Los Angeles–headquartered Baciano label, also ran a booth at Offprice. He thought buyer traffic was lower compared with previous Offprice shows. However, he met with his label’s major accounts, specialty stores and private-label accounts. He also was concerned that business was becoming tougher due to heavier competition for the off-price dollar and weather that has impeded demand for fall clothing. “It’s been really warm, he said. “The fall hasn’t really come around.”