Outdoor Retailer Show Preview

Outdoor Retailer will continue to grow its footwear segment for the fall ’12 show, to be held Jan. 19-22 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City.

According to director Kenji Haroutunian, the Nielsen-run show has seen the shoe category grow by leaps and bounds, from 120 vendors just a few seasons ago to 250 this time around.

Haroutunian noted a marked shift in the kinds of labels signing on to exhibit as well. “We’ve always had longstanding brands in the show that are rugged or technical footwear, but the influx [lately] has been from the comfort and casual footwear categories,” he said. “The casual footwear swell is part of a trend that addresses retail at its most basic level, because horizontal retail environments [or stores that sell only one category] are not exciting to consumers.”

Haroutunian added that buyers he’s spoken to said they are looking to supplement core seasonal or sport-specific product with merchandise that will appeal to their consumers year-round. “[They will] start with more of the technical side, and the natural extension is what [product to wear] when you’re not climbing the mountain or skiing,” he said. “It’s an evolution.”

This winter also will mark the first time the show has partnered officially with Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival, taking place Jan. 19-29 in neighboring Park City, Utah.

As part of the arrangement, the festival will recognize OR as an official partner, and the trade show will have what Haroutunian described as a “curated gallery” space in Park City to introduce filmgoers to the outdoor market and walk them through a “story of innovation,” which will explain to this crossover audience what outdoor product does — and why it’s so costly.

“We’ll be bringing OR to life for the whole duration of the film festival,” Haroutunian said. “Because of that [outdoor winter] culture tie-in, it’s more of a reason to work together.”

Calendar of Events

All-Mountain Demo
Wednesday, Jan. 18
Solitude Mountain Resort
With sponsors including Garmont, Scarpa, Columbia Sportswear and La Sportiva, this event gives show attendees a chance to try out the latest mountain gear.

Sundance Film Festival
Thursday, Jan. 19 – Sunday, Jan. 29
Park City, Utah
Among the notable events at the legendary film festival: the world premiere of “Predisposed,” starring Jesse Eisenberg and Melissa Leo; and the North American premiere of “This Must Be the Place,” with Sean Penn and Frances McDormand.

OIA Industry Breakfast
7 a.m. – 9 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 19
Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown, Salons A-J
Environmental strategist Andrew Winston will present “The Greening of Business: Pathways to Stronger and Smarter Company Performance.”

The Winter Market Industry Party
6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 19
Salt Palace Convention Center, Meeting Rooms 250-251
Street hockey, snacks and beer are on tap to celebrate the opening day of the trade show.

The Conservation Alliance Breakfast
7 a.m. – 9 a.m., Friday, Jan. 20
Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown, Salons F-I
The breakfast will feature a multimedia presentation called “To the Arctic” by wildlife photographer Florian Schulz.

Screening of “The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest”
4:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 20
Salt Palace Convention Center, Meeting Rooms 250-251
Narrated by Liam Neeson and featuring the voices of Ralph Fiennes and the late Natasha Richardson, this film by Anthony Geffen uses archival footage of George Mallory to explore whether the British mountaineer reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1924.

OIA Outdoor Inspiration Awards Celebration
6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 20
Capitol Theatre, 50 West 200 South, Salt Lake City
Presented by Adidas Outdoor, the awards ceremony will feature appearances by mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner and Adidas champion climber Sasha DiGiulian.

FN Presents “Footwear: Forward”
8 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 21
Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown, Deer Valley Salon
Outdoor editor Jennifer Ernst Beaudry hosts a breakfast panel on performance footwear with Matt Powell, analyst with SportsOneSource; Andy Tate, footwear development director for The North Face; and Travis Zarins, footwear and apparel buyer for Great Outdoor Provision Co.

All-Star Industry Jam
9 p.m. – 1 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 21
Club Elevate, 155 West 200 South, Salt Lake City
Outdoor industry insiders can show off their musical sides at a party that benefits Paradox Sports, an organization that empowers the disabled community to explore the outdoors and participate in sports.

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