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Number of retail buying units attending Las Vegas Market increases

February event draws 3,500 first-time attendees
LAS VEGAS — February's Las Vegas Market attracted more "retail buying units" than any of the previous three markets, World Market Center officials announced Tuesday. They did not divulge the total number of such units, or attendance by head count.

Among the other partial attendance results released, market officials said:

• Buyer and designer attendance from the Northeast and Midwest was up 40% over the last market in September, with attendance from the Southeast up 8%.

• International attendance rose and made up 8% of total attendance "with marked growth from buyers coming from Europe, Mexico and the Middle East."

• February's market drew some 3,500 first-time attendees, with gift retailers growing the fastest in the first-time category. Officials said that should pave the way to a successful launch of the new Gift+Home show at World Market Center in Aug. 4-7, which will overlap the Las Vegas Market, set for Aug. 2-6.

The Vegas Kids show, featuring youth furniture, juvenile products, toy and game, children's books, children's apparel and gift, also is set for Aug. 4-7.

"The industry has weathered the eye of the storm, and it's uplifting to see people motivated and geared up for success in the New Year. Although individual companies may be sending fewer people in each delegation given the economic times, more buying units overall were here, and decision makers showed up in record numbers," Bob Maricich, president and CEO of the World Market Center, said in a press release.

February's market also marked the debut of InspireDesign for hospitality and healthcare professionals, along with Alfresco Spaces, offering the latest trends in outdoor furnishings. And a strategic partnership between Las Vegas Market and Surfaces, the floor coverings show held at the Las Vegas Sands Expo Center, gave buyers access to both events.

These new showcases, coupled with the growing roster of high-end lines at the WMC's Las Vegas Design Center, also generated a boost among designers and hospitality contract buyers at the February market.

More than 100 new exhibitors showed at Las Vegas for the first time, officials said.

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