World Market Center Las Vegas officials plan to add three more trade shows next year, President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Maricich said Monday as the Fall 2009 show opened.
In announcing the new shows -- a hospitality show, a gift show and a juvenile furniture show -- Maricich said the timing is right to expand.
The hospitality trade show is scheduled to be held in February and will use 150,000 square feet of World Market Center pavilion space. It will coincide with the winter Las Vegas Market.
The gift and juvenile furniture shows will be held in mid-June, in existing space in buildings B and C.
The existing gift show market could see more consolidation as a result of the new events.
"The gift industry has 300 million square feet of show displays throughout the country, and we think there is a better way to focus that," he said.
"There's no need to have shows in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Denver and Las Vegas," the market president added.
Shawn Samson, the managing partner of World Market Center, said his campus is finally at the size where it can delve into other trade show markets.
"Now, we have 5 million square feet, and we have 300,000 square feet of pavilions, and we can have various segments locate here," he said. "The whole idea of World Market Center was the consolidation of the bigger shows."
The unveiling of the expansion plans came at a key moment for the struggling furniture industry and the Las Vegas Market.
Attendance and registration for the four-day show is expected to be the stronger than it has been over the past five markets, Maricich said.
"We will get over 50,000, yes," he said after the press conference. The market president also said buyer participation is well above those of past markets.
"Our pre-registration exceeded all our previous markets. The value is in Las Vegas," Maricich said. Good hotel rates have drawn in attendees, even in a recession that has pummeled the furniture industry.
Samson credited the lack of retail furniture inventory, and the move of the summer Las Vegas Market to September, for the jump in registration.
"Ninety percent of our exhibitors have new products, and there is pent-up demand," Samson said.
Detailed registration numbers have yet to be released. The market has 1,400 exhibitors and product lines, including 300 temporary exhibitors. Seventeen permanent exhibitors joined the summer market, including Ethan Allen. One hundred existing exhibitors extended their leases.
The branching out of the World Market Center Las Vegas might not end with the three new shows in 2010, either, Maricich said.
"In the next five to 10 years, it is not inconceivable that we could have 12 or 15 shows."
Contact reporter Valerie Miller at vmiller@ lvbusinesspress.com or 702-387-5286.