NONFOOD FOCUS ATTRACTS 55 NEW EXHIBITORS TO FMI SHOW

CHICAGO -- Ninety exhibitors, including 55 new to the show, have signed up for the nonfood-focused product segment of the Food Marketing Institute's annual show here May 1 to 3, said Lori Campbell, director of exhibits.The general merchandise and health and beauty care area is the largest of the focused product segments in the main FMI show, she said. It accounts for 30,000 square feet of exhibit

CHICAGO -- Ninety exhibitors, including 55 new to the show, have signed up for the nonfood-focused product segment of the Food Marketing Institute's annual show here May 1 to 3, said Lori Campbell, director of exhibits.

The general merchandise and health and beauty care area is the largest of the focused product segments in the main FMI show, she said. It accounts for 30,000 square feet of exhibit floor space. Products featured range from cosmetics and baby products to pet products.

"This has been a very successful category," Campbell said.

Focused product segments will be marked in color on show maps, Campbell said, but there will not be any tours of the floor sections.

So far, the addition of more nonfood exhibitors and educational components has attracted more nonfood retail executives, according to FMI.

"On the pre-registration list, we have good representation from [the nonfood] segments of the supermarket, along with dollar stores, convenience stores and mass merchandisers. From a pre-registration standpoint, I'm really pleased with what I see," Campbell said. She declined to give specific attendance numbers prior to the show.

In addition to the focused section on the show floor, category close-ups -- seminars held on the show floor -- on topics specific to the nonfood arena are also part of the line-up.

Among the category close-ups will be two presentations based on studies from the General Merchandise Distributors Council, Colorado Springs, Colo. In one, scheduled for Sunday, May 1, David McConnell, president, GMDC, will present findings from a GMDC study titled, "Leveraging the Connection Between the Pharmacy and the Whole Store."

The other, set for Monday, May 2, is called "Meeting the Ethnic Challenge in HBC and GM" and it draws from an upcoming GMDC study which will be released in May. Jim Wisner, president, Wisner Retail Marketing, Libertyville, Ill., will discuss how to market general merchandise and health and beauty care items to Hispanic, African American and Asian consumers.

Other topics highlighted for nonfood executives include: "Driving Consumer Loyalty Through Corporate Brands," which will feature a case study on the effectiveness of integrated marketing and branding of the HBC, GM, and grocery categories; "Capitalizing on the Rx to OTC Switch Opportunity," about leveraging over-the-counter switches to grow sales and retail trips; "HBC and General Merchandise -- More Important Than You Think," focusing on the dynamics of HBC and GM in driving discretionary trips across all channels; and "How Consumer Health & Wellness Trends Are Reshaping the Grocery Industry," which will look at the impact of health and wellness trends on a number of categories.

The nonfood elements of the show were added this year in response to attendee feedback, Campbell said. Retailers and suppliers were interested in facilitating connections between a broader range of decision makers, she said.