National Hardware Show® Experiences a 20 Percent Attendance Increase

May 10, 2010

National Hardware Show® Experiences a 20 Percent Attendance Increase

Exhibitors thrilled with booth traffic and orders booked

(LAS VEGAS, NV May 6, 2010) - The National Hardware Show® closed out its three-day show today at the Las Vegas Convention Center on a high note with a 20 percent attendance increase, exhibitors reporting brisk traffic at their booths and significant orders booked. The Show was a flurry of activity from start to finish, boasting a diverse lineup of exhibitors from the Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden/Outdoor Living, Tailgating and other key industries. The attendee list for the sold-out Show was a veritable Who’s Who in important players in the home products industry, covering not only traditional retail and wholesale outlets but untraditional channels like grocery, mass, drug, catalog, Internet and international retailers. This included industry giants like The Home Depot, Walmart, Sears, True Value, Costco, Sam’s Club, Ace Hardware and many others representing more than $237 billion in sales revenue.

"It’s been a great Show – real positive with a lot of great vendors," said Brendan Sullivan, director of merchandising from ProGroup, the nation’s largest independent hardlines group with more than $3 billion in annual distributor sales. "I’ve been going to the Hardware Show for many years, and I’ve been so impressed this year with the atmosphere, attitude and management of the Show."

There were several big events at the Show, including the Tailgate Display & Party, which was held outdoors and featured refreshments and live entertainment. New this year, the Tailgate area featured some 40 companies and was a testament to the growth of this category in the home channel. "The tailgate area pulled all the right items together, and the people coming out to see it were the right people – the ones focused on this area that have room in their stores for these products," said Jason Goss, Fabrique Innovations, which has the NCAA and NFL license for the Snuggie blanket.

Exhibitors were thrilled with the traffic on the show floor and quality of the buyers. "This is the third year at the hardware show. It is the only trade show to go to if you're in Lawn & Garden Industry," said Larry Ford, vp of sales for Bahama Towel. "We believe a lot of our success over the last few years is a result of the connections made at this show. We've already signed up for next year. We wouldn't miss it."

Bob Findlay, owner of Suntracker swivel beach chairs, said he had seen buyers from Costco, CVS, Ace Hardware, Target, QVC corporate and other major retailers during the course of the Show. "One face-to-face meeting at the Show is more valuable than 100 phone calls," Findlay said. "In the first minutes on Day One I had four people in the booth and during the conversation they asked if I could do a production run of between 6,000 and 8,000 chairs. When I asked where they were from, they said Costco."

One2Products of Oshtemo, Mich., doubled the size of its booth this year and introduced a new water-saving product. President Patrick Hanna said he received commitments from major buyers at this Show, where he featured the One2tap Water Saving Faucet Aerator in New Product World. "We wouldn’t change a thing because it has worked so well for us," Hanna said. "If you want to introduce a new product into the industry, this is the place to do it."

Ed Several, Group Vice President & Show Manager, National Hardware Show, commented on the increase in attendance as an optimistic sign for the home improvement industry.

"The significant increase in attendance, we believe, is an early indicator for the retail home improvement industry into the fourth quarter," Several said. "With brisk order writing, retailers are looking to increase their inventory and bring the exciting new products they found at the show back to their customers in their local trading areas. We couldn’t be more excited by this year’s show and the feedback we’ve received thus far from both retailers and manufacturers."

The Show also featured keynote addresses by Bridgette Brennan, CEO of Female Factor, who spoke about the impact of women buyers in the home improvement industry, and Don Soderquist, former Chairman of Walmart, who spoke about how ethical leadership can lead to success in business. In addition, The Home Depot co-founder Pat Farrah – a pioneer in the home improvement warehouse concept – was inducted into the Home Channel News Hall of Fame.

One of the hottest areas on the Show floor all three days was the Handyman Club of America’s "Power Tool Test Shop," where six winners of a contest sponsored by Handyman Club tested products from a number of major power tool companies. "This booth exceeded our expectations," said Larry Okrend, editor in chief of Handy Magazine, which conducted the tool testing. "When you actually put the tools in action, it gives the show a much more dynamic kind of interface. Some of the people from the tool companies who haven’t been at the show recently are seeing the benefit of doing a venue like this from a brand-building standpoint."

In other big news coming out of the Show, it was announcement that the National Hardware Show and the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) have reached an agreement in principle to co-locate the NRHA Annual Convention with the National Hardware Show beginning with the 2011 event, May 10-12, 2011, in Las Vegas. The 2011 National Hardware Show held in conjunction with the NRHA All-Industry Convention, will host delegations from the International Hardware Association – the first time the IHA has held a meeting in the U.S.

The National Hardware Show® celebrates a rich history spanning 65 years of serving the home improvement marketplace. From its early beginnings in New York during the post-World War II housing boom and eventual move to Chicago in the 1970s to today’s current location in Las Vegas, the National Hardware Show continually evolves through the industry’s involvement, commitment and passion to improving America’s quality of life through their homes. Today, the National Hardware Show is the place for global manufacturers, associations, organizations and the media to unveil their new products, ideas and insights to a broad spectrum of home improvement resellers.

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