Outdoor Retailer, the largest outdoor trade show in the country and a cardinal event on the industry's annual calendar, cancelled its annual Summer Market Thursday as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus. Outdoor Retailer released the following statement:
"Recent developments have made it impossible to effectively execute a June show that delivers the level of connection, discovery, and value our community expects," reads a letter from Marisa Nicholson on Outdoor Retailer's home page. "Despite cancelling our in-person summer show, we are committed to keeping us all connected because it’s with the help of each other that we move forward. As the largest network of outdoor businesses, we are doing everything we can to leverage that for the health of our industry."
In a SNEWS survey that has been live for several weeks, 63 percent of our readers voted for cancellation, 15 percent voted for a later summer date, and 17 percent voted for a fall date.
Many in the outdoor industry had anticipated this announcement as cancellations and postponements of other major events piled up over the past month. On March 20, Mountain Hardwear dropped out of the show preemptively, signaling a turn in the community's view of the event's potential risks. All together, Emerald, the publicly traded parent company of Outdoor Retailer, has cancelled 10 events and postponed 20 since the coronavirus crisis began. The company's stock has seen a steep decline in the last month and is hovering around $2 per share today.
Outdoor Retailer says that, despite the cancellation, it is still committed to supporting go-to-market strategy for Spring/Summer 2021; reinforcing buyer/seller networks; offering an ability to discover new brands, products, and retailers; and providing media and marketing opportunities for companies across the outdoor industry to tell stories and drive awareness. No other details are available at this time.
Reaction to the cancellation from Outdoor Industry Association
A statement from Outdoor Industry Association in response to the cancellation reads: "OIA supports the decision made by Emerald Expositions to cancel the Outdoor Retailer show this summer. While we will greatly miss the gathering of our outdoor community, it is the right thing to do for our industry, our partners and our larger community across the world. It is critical that we do our part to slow the spread of the virus and keep everyone as healthy as possible. The outdoor industry is best when we are working together for the greater good, and this moment in time no different. From production of personal protective equipment for health care workers to advocacy of safe and responsible outdoor access, the industry is finding important ways to support the pandemic response."
SNEWS spoke to Lise Aangeengbrug, executive director of Outdoor Industry Association this week in anticipation of this inevitable news. While 70 percent of OIA's revenue comes from Outdoor Retailer, she said, "The cancellation of one show will not dramatically impact what we’re able to do as an organization." Look for a deeper interview with Aangeenbrug next week on SNEWS.
SNEWS will continue to report on this story as it develops.