ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The International Housewares Show is getting remodeled.
Philip Brandl, president of the International Housewares Association here, said the show is being "positioned for the future" by changing the exhibit floor configuration, the name and the dates of its annual event.
This year's show, which will move from January to March 20 to 22, will employ a city motif and include new product categories. The IHA expects the changes and new name -- 2004 International Home & Housewares Show -- will upgrade its trade show value and boost attendance.
Retailers that SN contacted were positive about plans for the upcoming show.
The makeover, which will bring together a greater assortment of product categories, is "a good move" that will help retailers expanding in those areas to keep up with competition, said Thomas Shively, GM merchandiser, Eastern Region, Supervalu, Richmond, Va.
"It gives us a different mix of products to look at," he told SN. "We need to expand because we have to compete with the Wal-Marts of the world."
Julie Griffin, culinary products manager, Lund Food Holdings, Edina, Minn., said the new product categories will be "fantastic additions," and the key will be the new specialty and gourmet foods section.
"I'm surprised there hasn't been specialty foods there before," she said. "It will be a real win, and give ideas on how to do cross-merchandising in your own retail shop."
The new name of the 2004 show reflects the evolution of the housewares industry into one that places a greater emphasis on design and innovation, Brandl said. "A home focus adds particular value to [retailers'] trade show investment as they serve their customers," he told a recent press conference. "The customer is looking at the home in a different way than before, in a more comprehensive way, and that's reflected in the retail stores whether that be supermarkets, mass merchants or any [other channel]. You're really seeing a cross merchandising of products within the store, more lifestyle-solution merchandising."
Griffin added that she liked the new show name because housewares is "lifestyle-driven all around."
In creating a city-like environment, next year's show will comprise three new "districts" or product categories. The Gourmet Home & Food District -- "From Seasoned Street to the Upper Eats Side" -- will pair IHA and the National Association for Specialty Food Trade, New York. The area will showcase gourmet specialty goods with food preparation demonstrations by well-known chefs and education events at the show, said Perry Reynolds, vice president, marketing and trade development, IHA.
The Uptown Tabletop District -- "From China Town to Wedding Way" -- will give enhanced exposure to the tabletop market through a combination of educational and on-floor events. The educational component will focus on bridal education, registry and all areas of managing successful tabletop categories, said Reynolds.
The third new show category, Patio Park, will bring patio, lawn and garden suppliers together for the first time into an outdoor living section.