Outdoor Retailer has cancelled its November show. The OR Winter Market was scheduled for Nov. 5–7, 2019, but Emerald Expositions, owner of the show, now says that it will be “united with Snow Show,” slated for Jan. 29–31, 2020, also in Denver.
Brands that had signed on to exhibit at the cancelled November show will be given refunds or credits. Retailers who had purchased airfare in anticipation of attending the November show have been told to contact OR’s retail relations team. Chris Sears is OR’s attendee relations manager and can be reached at [email protected]
Outdoor Retailer has historically been one of the strongest shows in the active lifestyle market, but the cancellation of the November show is the latest in a series of mis-steps that has shaken market confidence in the show organizer.
Emerald Expositions, the owners of OR, moved the show from its longtime home in Salt Lake City starting in January 2018, bowing to pressure from several large exhibitors who said they no longer would do business in Utah because they did not like the state’s policies on land protection and the environment. Many attendees also believed OR had outgrown Salt Lake City and that the city could not provide adequate hotels at affordable pricing.
As part of the move to Denver, Emerald announced they would hold three OR shows annually in January, June and November, but the first November show in 2018 was poorly attended. Footwear exhibitors in particular grumbled that the show was poorly timed for them, with some saying they would end up showing the same lines at both shows.
Many in the industry also believed that Emerald, which went public in Spring 2017, was more interested in serving its shareholders than the stakeholders in the outdoor industry who had been loyal to the show and enriched the company’s coffers for years.
While all this was taking place, Emerald also struggled with its Interbike trade show, which served the bicycle industry. In December 2018, Emerald announced it was cancelling the 2019 edition of Interbike and later said it would have a Bicycle Pavilion at November OR. With the cancellation of the November show, OR SVP Marisa Nicholson has said that bike exhibitors will be welcome to attend either the January or June 2020 shows.
After the announcement to cancel the November OR show. Emerald’s stock fell to $9.17 per share, almost half of the $17 per share of its Initial Public Offering price in April, 2017. Since the IPO, Emerald CEO David Loechner and longtime EVP over the sports brands Darrell Denny have both left the company. This past May Emerald hired Sally Shankland as president and CEO. Shankland is an experienced trade show and communications executive and was previously CEO of UBM.