Out of Luxe? by ProQuest

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       As the Trade Shows Turn
                                                        THE INDUSTRY’S TRADE
                                                        show soap opera’s plot thick-
                                                        ened with last month’s an-
                                                        nouncement by WSA that it
                                                        has switched its February and
                                                        August 2110 show dates in Las                        Out of Luxe?
                                                        Vegas to directly overlap with                       EVERYONE IS WELL aware that spending on luxury items has
                                                        FFANY’s show dates (Feb.                             taken a nosedive since the financial crisis kicked opulence in the
                                                        2-4 and Aug. 3-5) in New                             gut last fall. Bling quickly became a fashion “don’t” and no longer
                                                        York, which may force many                           as attainable. The one-two punch has triggered double-digit sales
                                                        wholesale and retail compa-                          declines at luxe retailers across the board and caused many fashion
                                                        nies to decide between one                           prognosticators to claim that the luxury market as we have come to
                                                        or the other. Meanwhile, The                         know it is dead and buried.
                                                        Atlanta Shoe Market (TASM)                              So when several investment banks reported healthy second-
                                                        continues to grow in promi-                          quarter profits and the bosses started to once again dole out big-
                                                        nence—the recent edition saw                         time bonuses, we sniffed a chance of a luxury market rebound.
                                                        attendance up a healthy 16                           Alas, not just yet. It appears American taxpayers who helped bail
       percent—and Magic show operators are making a concerted effort to posi-                               out the banks remain a bit testy, as most have yet to partake in any
       tion its head-to-toe format as an ideal venue for the footwear industry. Last                         economic turnaround. The presumed negativity is so fierce that
       but not least, there’s the in-the-works United Shoe Show that is trying to                            many bank bosses fear a backlash if their employees spend like it’s
       step in as a Los Angeles-based alternative planned for nearly the same dates                          2007. Specifically, Goldman Sachs’ top dog reportedly has issued
       as WSA and FFANY, beginning in August 2010.                                                           a company-wide mandate to “end conspicuous consumption,” and
          Just who emerges from the fray as the footwear industry’s “national” show                          that’s despite a record second-quarter profit of $2.3 billion and the
       remains to be seen. There are plenty of backroom discussions and alliances                            fact that the company has repaid its taxpayer loan in full.
       yet to transpire before any show can firmly stake claim to such a valued yet                              If that’s not bad enough, the luxe market can’t even count on
       unofficial top billing. But with perceived national show status comes the                              Ruth Madoff, wife of infamous Ponzi mastermind Bernie Madoff, to
       largest number of exhibitors as well as the most senior level executives in                           indulge herself with the $2 million federal prosecutors let her keep
       attendance. It’s big business, and that’s largely why it looks to be a battle not                     in the wake of her husband’s sentence. A judge has ordered that the
       settled quickly or politely.                          
								
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