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MERCEDES R. GONZALEZ, DIRECTOR, THE GLOBAL PURCHASING GROUP HOSTS INDUSTRY (212) RETAIL TOUR OF NOLITA – EXCLUSIVE TO SHOW ATTENDEES

From: ASAP

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New York is the shopping capital of the world, which always makes it a great place to learn a thing or two about retailing. And that’s exactly the goal of the of the special Retail Tour of NoLIta on Sunday, September 28, 2003, for retailers who are pre-registered for Industry (212), New York’s most comprehensive apparel and accessories show which takes place September 29- October 1st.

The tour will be hosted by retail industry veteran and director, The Global Purchasing Group, Mercedes R. Gonzalez. A buyer in the garment industry for more than fourteen years, Gonzales founded The Global Purchasing Group in New York City in 1998. In the course of her career, she has helped open and restructure hundreds of stores n the United States and abroad. She is a self-described advocate for the independent retailer.

“Independent retailers get so wrapped up in the daily operations of their own stores that they don’t take the time to see what’s out there,” says Mercedes. “The tour provides a wonderful opportunity for retailers from different areas of the country to exchange ideas in a non-competitive environment. It’s amazing to watch them open up.”

The four-hour tour takes show attendees through NoLIta, which stands for North of Little Italy, a burgeoning area with the city’s hottest boutiques to which stylists and fashion editors flock to discover the next big label or trend. Stops include Calypso, Objets Du Desir, Paul Frank, Scoop, Shoe and Tracy Feith. Along the way, tour attendees will gain inspiration and an insider’s understanding of the fast-paced world of retailing in New York City.

The tour will start with lunch at a New York hot spot, where Mercedes will provide an introduction to 2004 retail and merchandising trends and tips on what to look for during the tour. Mercedes, for example, wants attendees to keep their eyes open for the “buffer zone” -- the table of merchandise set front and center in several stores along the route. Mercedes finds, “It stops you, subconsciously calms, and puts you in a better frame of mind to shop.”

The afternoon also includes a break at Rice to Riches, where attendees will enjoy a mid-day pick-me-up snack from a variety of over 20 flavors of rice pudding. “I love the idea that it’s a unique concept, highly stylized—and is doing really well,” adds Mercedes.

The tour will continue to neighboring SoHo where stops will be made at chain stores such as Club Monaco, Zara and Banana Republic. “It’s important to see what the majors and chains are doing,” says Mercedes, “not to play catch up with them but to learn how to compete with them by finding a niche as the area’s specialty shops have done so successfully.”

While several boutiques on the tour have spent as little as $3,000 on design, Mercedes’ crescendo conclusion of the tour is the Prada store, which is rumored to have spent more than $30 million to re-invent the retail experience. Only in New York can you find just such an intriguing juxtaposition of stores.

“My not-so hidden agenda for the tour is that I want buyers who come to Industry (212) to rediscover what a great place New York is,” concludes Mercedes.

There is a $59.00 fee for the tour, which includes the tour, lunch, mid-day snack and a MetroCard Fun Pass to get attendees there and back. The tour is by reservation only and capacity is limited. To make a reservation, call 917-326-6201.

Featuring over 600 apparel and accessories exhibitors, Industry (212) showcases the fastest growing segments of the fashion marketplace: Accessories, Casual Lifestyle/Better, Junior, Streetwear, and Young Contemporary/Contemporary. The event attracts more than 7,000 key buyers from specialty stores, major department stores, national chains, mass merchants, mail order and internet sites, as well as buying offices.

Industry (212) is an affiliate of MAGIC International, a subsidiary of Advanstar Communications. MAGIC International is the world’s largest and most widely recognized organizer of trade shows in the apparel industry. MAGIC International produces the MAGIC Marketplace in Las Vegas featuring MAGIC, WWDMAGIC, MAGIC kids and The Edge. For more information on Industry (212), please visit www.industry212.com. For more information on MAGIC International, visit www.magiconline.com.

Industry (212) is produced by Advanstar Communications, Inc., a worldwide business information company serving specialized markets with high quality information resources and integrated marketing solutions. Advanstar has 105 business magazines and directories, 80 tradeshows and conferences, numerous Web sites, and a wide range of direct marketing, database and reference products and services. Advanstar serves targeted market sectors in such industries as art, automotive, beauty, collaboration/e-learning, CRM/call center, digital media, entertainment/marketing, fashion & apparel, healthcare, manufacturing and processing, pharmaceutical, powersports, science, telecommunications and travel/hospitality. The Company has nearly 1,300 employees and currently operates from multiple offices in North

America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.advanstar.com.

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