IMC to Bolster Gift + Home, Expand Product Reach in Las Vegas

Bob Maricich

Bob Maricich

By Andrea Lillo

Its sights set on becoming a premier destination for the gift and home industries, the International Market Centers will implement changes to World Market Center Las Vegas’ Gift + Home Market in a three-phase process, with the first being unveiled in January 2013.

The new strategy broadens Las Vegas Market beyond furniture. Half of the furniture buyers who come to Las Vegas Market buy only that category, but the other half is open to other products, according to Bob Maricich, CEO, IMC. “We’re building tomorrow’s marketplace.”

The strategy will concentrate gift and home resources into Building C of the Las Vegas complex. Underrepresented categories such as tabletop, home textiles, kitchenware and gourmet will be added to the assortment. A new, two-day conference for gift and home executives will also debut.

“We’re committed to one pivotal goal,” Dorothy Belshaw, president, Gift + Home Décor, IMC, said at a press conference during the recent Las Vegas Market: “To deliver the premier market for the gift, home and lifestyle [categories] in the western U.S.”

Phase One will reposition 13 floors in Building C into a gift and home complex, and gift and home exhibitors will be reorganized into that building for the winter show, scheduled for Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2013. In addition, a collection of high-end home décor resources on C3 will debut as an extension of Building B’s B3 initiative that launched at the recent show; the two floors are connected by an inter-building bridge. Floors 1-14 in Building C comprise 1.7 million square feet.

For the next summer show, scheduled for July 29-Aug. 2, 2013, a new, cross-category showcase called c-One will debut on the first floor of Building C, which will include a new tabletop focus, as well as gift and home companies, in both permanent and temporary presentations. Already, some of the fashion leaders in the tabletop category—including Alessi, Michael Aram, Kim Seybert, Nambé, Match, Mottahedeh and Vietri—have committed to helping shape the new tabletop destination, though none have yet committed to a space.

On the 10th floor of Building C, the Lifestyle Collection will debut, featuring suppliers of in-demand categories such as fashion accessories, personal care and fragrance, stationery, juvenile merchandise and technology accessories.

Phase Two will begin the following year, as home décor resources will expand on C4 and C5, including home textiles, for the winter show, slated for Jan. 27-31, 2014. For the summer market, scheduled for July 28-Aug. 1, 2014, gourmet, kitchenware and casual tabletop categories will debut on C11 to target the specialty gourmet retail audience in the West. Phase Three involves Las Vegas Market’s trade show component, which will relocate to C12 and C13 to allow for expansion opportunities on C14 to include new merchandise categories.

Launching new categories is critical, Belshaw said. “This is the number one reason people come to market, for product. We need to go deep [within a category] but also go wide to provoke attendance.” And the eight tabletop companies that are already on board “are supportive of a West Coast destination.”

People come to markets to see what’s new, to network and to have some fun, added Maricich. And while the recession has “fundamentally changed shopping in America,” this was the time to evolve. “My grandfather said that a recession is an opportunity to trim the garden, get rid of the weeds, what’s not working,” he said. What’s left is “fertile ground.”