DENVER — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores' 2012 Pharmacy & Technology Conference, which kicked off on Saturday at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver and runs through Tuesday night, will be the last.
But there's no need to break out the tissues because it's not going way. Instead, the retail pharmacy trade group is rolling the Pharmacy, Marketplace and Supply Chain & Logistics conferences into a single show starting next year.
Dubbed the Total Store Expo, the show will take place between Aug. 10-13, 2013 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. The show will bring together an estimated 250 retail companies and 700 suppliers. “We took a look, and it became evident that this is a total store opportunity,” NACDS SVP member programs and services Jim Whitman said in a roundtable-style press conference with reporters Saturday afternoon. “The format is going to be a combination of the best of what we've seen from all the shows.”
The move to co-locate the three events under one roof is a reflection of the way more NACDS members — both chain and associate — are doing business these days. Frequently, merchandising, marketing and supply chain executives are meeting in concert to discuss not just buying product in retail, Whitman explained, but the much more difficult task of ensuring those goods actually make it to the store. In that sense, combining the three shows could enable vendors and retailers to speed up product introductions, and maximize sales opportunities.
One other benefit of the new show format, Whitman said, is that it would allow for greater interaction among buyers and vendors across categories. For example, people from the front-end could benefit from attending education sessions normally directed at pharmacists, or pharmacy buyers could learn about supply chain. “The pharmacy folks aren't going to lose anything, and the marketplace people are going to gain something,” Whitman said. “We're going to continue to strive to let people know they're not losing anything.”
In recent years, the concept of health and wellness has started to percolate into and link every corner of the store, from the pharmacy and OTC sections to beauty and personal care products and consumables. “The profitability of health and wellness has spilled over into every category,” Whitman said.
So perhaps it's only natural for suppliers and buyers from across a range of categories to gather under one roof. And that roof is going to be pretty big: Whitman said the show floor space would be about twice what it has been for the Pharmacy and Marketplace shows. In addition, according to NACDS, the TSE's Meet the Market program will include 9,000 appointments with 270 buyers. This year's Meet the Rx Market program included 1,501 appointments and 62 buyers, while the Meet the Market program at NACDS Marketplace in June included nearly 7,000 meetings and about 230 buyers.