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MMPI and L.A. Mart set California Gift Show dates thru 2019

Don Hogsett, GDA Staff -- Home Accents Today, May 10, 2012

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - In a move that demonstrates MMPI's long term commitment to the Los Angeles gift and home market, MMPI and L.A. Mart have set the schedule for the California Gift Show (CGS) through July 2019. The CGS schedule, which includes show dates for both the L.A. Mart and Los Angeles Convention Center venues, reinforces the continuing position of the L.A. Mart as a permanent showroom and exhibit space. Hosted bi-annually in January and July, CGS is a destination gift and home market that highlights the California lifestyle and the region's distinction for both product innovation and its influence on consumer purchasing habits.

"CGS continues to emphasize the California-centric focus that is the cornerstone of our competitive differentiation," said Jeff Sampson, vice president of marketing, L.A. Mart/L.A. Mart Design Center/California Gift Show. "Many permanent showroom and temporary exhibitor resources are unique to the region, offering retailers selections unavailable elsewhere across the U.S. We remain confident in our Los Angeles venues as the must-shop destinations to source both innovative California designed and made products, as well as those produced internationally."

The future of the L.A. Mart as a trade showroom building had been put in question earlier this year when Vornado Realty Trust, MMPI's parent company, put the building up for sale. The timing of this unsettling news coincided with the January California Gift Show. Nevertheless, the showroom tenants were upbeat, and many had shown their commitment to the building and support of the market by renewing leases and expanding showrooms.

In a particular show of faith, Roost, which is represented by Matt Katzenson and Fine Lines, debuted its new permanent showroom space, its largest showroom, during the January market. Roost opened up the showroom space next to Fine Lines and broke through the wall between the two spaces for a seamless flow-through. With its own dedicated space, Roost is able to showcase its lines in greater depth and in a manner that provides its customers with display inspiration to take home to their own stores.

"It was a bit of an opportunity," commented Adriana Mello, national sales manager for Roost. As a growing line, "we needed room to merchandise the line and have it make sense for our customers."

The disposition of the building is still in doubt, "We will...continue to sell down the Mart business asset by asset, retaining for now the 3.5 million square foot Chicago Merchandise Mart. These assets are currently being marketed. [...] We entered this business in 1998 with the $630 million acquisition of the Merchandise Mart and related assets. Over the years, we grew the business with 11 bolt-on acquisitions of building and trade show, investing an additional $338 million. This business was a grower for us until it fell victim to the housing recession/depression. ... ," wrote Steven Roth, Vornado chairman, in a letter to the shareholders contained within the Vornado Realty & Trust 2011 Annual Report.

Nevertheless, Katzenson and other tenants remain supportive: "As a long time tenant of the LA Mart," commented Katzenson on, "I understand the disappointment and concern the sale may have on the industry. I, for one, have been and will continue to be committed to the Gift & Home Market at the LA Mart for as long as it is a viable model for my company. The building has sold once or twice in my 18 years here and each sale has brought with it improvements and growth."

The new schedule, including hours and dates for this year's shows and sample sales, was detailed in an earlier post HERE. 

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