MAGIC Flourishes Amid Several Changes in Las Vegas

February 21, 2018

In the past few years, MAGIC, the biannual series of shows serving the fashion retail industry, has undergone one major change of ownership and is on the cusp of a possible other, as well as bought even more shows so that now there are a dozen running at the same time in Las Vegas.

The most recent MAGIC, held Feb. 12-14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Mandalay Bay Convention Center, marked a further evolution in the fast-growing series of shows.

In 2016, MAGIC’s parent company, UBM, bought Business Journals Inc. and took several of BJI’s shows, including STITCH, MRket and AccessoriesTheShow and folded them into MAGIC.

STITCH maintained its brand name and now is a standalone show alongside PROJECT Womens at the Mandalay, while MRket (menswear) and the accessories event were melded into existing shows.

“STITCH actually is really one of the fastest-growing,” said Mike Alic, managing director, UBM Fashion.

He added, “The Mandalay expansion allowed everything to all be one level. We worked a lot on the flow of the showfloor – from one product to the next.”

Instead of promising certain spots on the showfloor to ‘anchor’ exhibitors or doing space draws, MAGIC assigns everything based on what it the most effective way for a buyer to shop the show, Alic said.

“We also offer turnkey booth packages, so it makes it easier to do ‘neighborhoods’,” he added.

The shift in retail from brick-and-mortar stores to more online shopping also has meant changes to the buyers and sellers that come to the show, Alic said.

“Clearly, the one big change in buyers we have had is a rapid growth in online retailers,” he added. “Hundreds come here from Amazon.”

Ten percent of the attendees represent online retailers at the show, he added. “In some ways they buy the same as a traditional brick and mortar, Alic said.

The showfloor also has grown into new product categories since buyers often either go into a store and buy online expecting to also see beauty and home products being offered.

As a result, there was a new ‘home’ section added to Project Women’s with everything from candles to stationary being offered, as well as a new section called GLAM that was part of WWDMAGIC and featured all kids of beauty products.

MAGIC also has gone even more international, forging a first-time partnership with mmode, which represented 80 fashion brands from Montreal that were scattered throughout the show.

“Montreal is the third largest fashion city in North America,” Alic said. “We put their products into categories that made sense for the buyers. … They wanted to help their members go abroad.”

MAGIC also launched a presence on WeChat, a social media communications platform widely used in China. Especially with the attendees/buyers in the Sourcing areas of the show, Alic said it helps with communications.

“Our customers are on WeChat,” he added, “We need to be where they are.”

One more big change that might be coming to MAGIC very soon is another change in ownership. In January, Informa offered to buy UBM for $5.5 billion. The deal is pending until a shareholder vote takes place and, if approved, is expected to close soon after.  

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