As CEO of the OFFPRICE Show, Stephen Krogulski uses industry insights and a competitive drive to lead a team of talented professionals who organize the largest trade show of its kind in the United States. For 12 years, Krogulski has helped connect over 500 OFFPRICE vendors with buyers looking for value-price, opportunity purchases in Las Vegas and New York City. Under his guidance, the OFFPRICE Show has become a truly a treasure hunt experience for retailers interested in building margins and buying fast-fashion merchandise.
Could you give us an overview of the OFFPRICE Show?
The OFFPRICE Show exists since 1995 and serves the retail industry. It is a dynamic order-writing trade show, which connects apparel retail buyers with the leading off-price specialists in 20% to 70% below wholesale clothing, accessories, and footwear. The event takes place every February and August in Las Vegas during Fashion Week. It also has sister editions in New York City and Miami.
This year the OFFPRICE Show will be held between February 10th and 13th at the Sands Convention Center, Lower Level, Las Vegas. However, the OFFPRICE Show returns to New York City on June 11 and 12, 2018, at the Penn Plaza Pavilion, located in Midtown Manhattan.
The owner of the OFFPRICE Show is Tarsus Group plc, based in London, but our office in Wisconsin looks after the show
How has the event evolved through the years?
We’ll be celebrating our 47th show this February. It has always been about the mentality of the treasure hunt, with the hopes of finding a brand name at a great price. So, when retailers need to incorporate products, which could be dresses for the prom season, active wear or kid’s shoes, they use the OFFPRICE Show to source goods that are in stock in somebody’s warehouse. That means using capital in a very successful way.
What can attendees expect from this show?
Attendees can expect sharp deals and relevant quality fashionable product in all the categories for children, from infants and newborns, up to toddlers and teens. There are also great brands and opportunities for special occasion dresses, active outer wear, sports teams, collegiate, as well as every day wear to formal wear for women, men and boys. So, all the categories are represented, including the travel business with luggage and handbags.
Do you provide any networking or educational opportunities, in addition to the trade show?
We are going to implement a networking session. That session will highlight relevant topics like incorporating a business or advertising. We also help people to achieve a better understanding of the business and to share ideas with those who face similar challenges or opportunities. There will be sessions in several days of the event.
Is there a keynote speaker this year?
No, the keynote speaker is not something that we explore. We have industry consultants, who shop the show in advance and then present outfits and opportunities. They are seasoned professionals, who help people to understand how they can incorporate those types of outfits.
Will there be a fashion show?
In the network area, some secret shoppers will go out, display products, and educate people about their goals and their selection process. It is not exactly a fashion show.
How many industry experts, attendees and exhibitors do you expect this year?
We are still finalizing all the opportunities, but we will probably have five to seven industry experts. We expect 450 to 500 exhibitors and about 11,000 attendees, including 8,000 retailers or people looking to source opportunities.
Who are the typical attendees?
Attendees vary from brick and mortar stores, off-price value chains, independent stores, warehouses, club stores, marketplace sellers, and e-commerce retailers. We also have subscription services, so attendees also include gift shops, hospitals, or businesses that come to find opportunities for a uniform program, for example. There are also goodwill stores that come and supplement their offerings.
Generally, the attendees can be resellers like independent shop owners, part of multinational companies, or independent value price retail stores, small boutiques and destination stores like hotels, resorts, water or national parks.
How large is the show? What’s the size of the exhibit floor?
It is about 130,000 to 140,000 square feet. The size of each exhibit space varies, depending on our large destination sellers and the kind of exhibit space that they would need.
Who are the lead sponsors of the event?
The OFFPRICE brand is made up of three components – the shows, the industry magazine Off-Price Retailing and our online marketplace, offprice365.com, which we are going to introduce. So, the sponsor is OFFPRICE, which covers the market in those three ways.
What’s the idea behind the offprice365.com website?
It’s going to be the online marketplace, where our vendors can post opportunities throughout the year. We will market those opportunities to the qualified retail attendance that comes to our shows.
The 450 vendors at our show make up the sellers. The buyers are the retailers that come to source products off-price. Although the site will be functioning throughout the year, as we move our show through the first, second, and third days, the sellers can highlight a certain product. It will be open to the off-price community and represents a way of extending the value of off-price beyond the days that we get together in Las Vegas.
The site will be introduced at the show. We are in final testing stage right now to make sure that it works. We will launch the site when we get together in Las Vegas in February.
Are there any key takeaways for the prospective attendees?
Our website the OffPriceShow.com is a great resource. For the retailers, it’s a great place to look at the opportunities and contact the vendors in advance, so that they could plan their budget and activity before they get to the show.
Is the off-price business a growing industry?
Major players like T.J. Maxx, the Gabriel Brothers, or Gabe’s, the Variety Wholesalers, as well as small independent stores, are doing a very good job of promoting the industry by blending in off-price opportunities. More and more manufacturers are actually making products for the off-price channel, so we use the term “engineered off-price.”
There are warehouses, wholesale clubs, flash sites and some straight line e-commerce retailers like Zulily or Groupon. Also, some major brand stores with an e-commerce segment are able to use that channel to source goods and move them through their online business. So, there are different brands available on a website that may not be in a physical store.
Recent studies show that two-thirds of all apparel purchases are made at off-price retailers. The off-price channel is expected to exhibit a rather robust 6% to 8% growth, while the growth projection for traditional retail is 3% to 4%.