FFANY to Leave Dates Intact

NEW YORK — The board of the New York-based FFANY show last week decided to leave its show dates intact for the next three years.

The decision confirms that FFANY and The WSA Show will be held during the same three-day period in February and August 2010, February and August 2011 and August 2012. (The February 2012 dates do not overlap.)

The group of 28 top retail and wholesale executives comprising the FFANY board decided to reevaluate the show schedule following last month’s move by WSA to shift its dates to conflict with FFANY.

“This is quite a difficult situation,” said Larry Tarica, chairman of the FFANY board and president and COO of Jimlar Corp. “FFANY never intended to have its markets compete with WSA,” he said, adding that WSA was aware of FFANY’s already scheduled dates before it decided to shift the timing of its show.

While FFANY was locked into its 2010 schedule, Tarica said the board had three options to consider for 2011 and 2012: preserving the dates already in place, trying to shift its timing to avoid the overlap or canceling the February and August editions.

“We had almost full attendance at the meeting, and our members had done a lot of soul searching,” said Tarica. “We concluded that the most appropriate thing to do was to preserve [our] dates.”

After hearing news of FFANY’s decision, Elyse Kroll, founder and chairwoman of ENK International, which owns WSA, reiterated last week that the Las Vegas-based show had responded to industry demands in shifting its own dates.

“Retailers told us that was the [timing] they wanted [for WSA]. And they want a national show — an international show — under one roof,” Kroll said. “That’s because of time and cost efficiencies. There is no way they can produce as much business when they’re going to different locations.”

Tarica said a national market is still the goal among board members — regardless of where it is held — but that WSA had not recently been effective on a large scale.

“For many years, WSA provided us with the opportunity [for a national show],” he said. “That has not been the case in the last few years. … The WSA markets in Las Vegas haven’t fulfilled the goals of many FFANY-member companies.”

The challenge for a growing FFANY show, Tarica said, is how to effectively serve the needs of a larger group of wholesalers and retailers. “We want to put as much attention as possible into the right kind of venue,” Tarica said. “We recognize that is an issue both for companies that are showing and retailers that are getting around to see them.”

He said it is too early to tell whether FFANY can be expanded into a national platform, or whether there will be another venue for that. One thing is clear, Tarica said, “many of our board members continue to see the value in coming to New York, and having that ability to shop in a fashion capital.”

He added, “We’re not selling the FFANY market. We’re a nonprofit. We’re trying to operate a show to fulfill the needs of those who come to New York.”

Tarica said some industry players feel that a solution is to debut their lines at the New York event and also present them at the Magic show, which falls in the latter half of February and August.

Tarica encouraged industry players to make a swift decision about where they will exhibit in February.

“We have venues locked in, but we did not plan them for a significant increase,” he said. “In the event we [have increased demand], we will try to find [a solution].”

Both FFANY and WSA said they will continue to meet to discuss the situation.

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