Vendors at the WWIN show at the Rio offer mixed reports of their sales amid general reports of retail’s decline. Some vendors are seeing meager sales, while others’ sales are similar to or up from previous shows.
The WWIN show caters to vendors that sell though independent retailers, so the vendors’ sales depend on independent retailers’ predictions of sales for the next season. The retailers are reporting mixed results, so the vendors report mixed results as well. A common theme in our discussions with vendors is that many retailers have poor business skills, while others have been in business for decades and have solid business habits. Many smaller vendors who have well-established retailers are seeing a smaller number of orders, but an increased amount per order"an expected result when poor retailers fail and the remaining retailers pick up the failed retailers’ business. This show, the buyers going to WWIN seem very well prepared.
Our interviews with retailers have uncovered many independent retailers that are faring well this season. While major retailers are hunkering down, independents with strong customer relationships and excellent customer service are actually thriving, and these retailers make up the bulk of buyers at WWIN.
Although buyer traffic is lighter than in the Fall 2008 show, the vendor space was sold out. Every buyer and vendor we’ve talked to considers WWIN an excellent show, the last show they would drop in an economic crisis.