More than 150 companies were waitlisted for the expo, which was sold to fire marshal-mandated capacity.
A record number of buyers fueled a 7.2% surge in NACS Show attendance this year, as attendance hit 24,056, the second highest ever, and only 309 short of the record set in 2004.
Records abounded at the NACS Show this year. The number of buyers (retailers, wholesalers and distributors) was up an astonishing 17.1% to reach 9,764. Both NACS and Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) buyer registration increased 17% compared to 2011, with NACS buyers hitting a record 8,057 — nearly 3% more than the previous record set in 2004. PEI buyer registration was 1,707, the third-highest total ever.
Attendees came from a record 65 countries and international attendance was a record 2,482 delegates.
The NACS Show took place Oct. 7-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It is ranked as one of the 50 largest annual trade shows in the U.S.
The NACS Show featured a 381,050-plus net-square-foot exposition with 1,176 exhibiting companies — of which 200 companies were new to the NACS Show. More than 150 companies were waitlisted for the expo, which was sold to fire marshal-mandated capacity. Extending the value of the expo to both retailers and exhibitors, the Cool New Products Preview Room featured 306 products, another record.
In addition, the NACS Show featured three days of general sessions and 53 educational sessions. The educational sessions alone drew a cumulative 9,889 attendees, averaging out to nearly 190 attendees per session, the most ever recorded.
Reflecting the growing international scope of the NACS Show, the general sessions were translated into Portuguese, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, and select educational sessions were translated into Portuguese and Spanish.
“Our record numbers reaffirm the value that the NACS Show delivers to our industry,” said NACS Vice Chairman of Convention Pat Lewis, partner of Oasis Stop ’N Go LLC, headquartered in Twin Falls, Idaho. “The NACS Show is an annual must-attend event for retailers who see attendance as an investment in their businesses. With our theme of ‘One idea can change your business,’ ideas were everywhere, whether in sessions, networking opportunities or on the expo floor. As far as investments go, could there be any better one for your business?”
“The NACS Show was a clear success, with positive stories from across our diverse supplier community about the robust foot traffic throughout the run of the event,” said NACS Supplier Board Chairman Lucia Romanello Crater, vice president of retail sales for Cardtronics Inc. “With the opportunity for significant business-building activities with existing clients and leveraging new relationships with convenience store prospects, suppliers were clearly able to optimize their NACS experience and deliver a recognized return on their NACS Show investment.”
At the conclusion of the NACS Show, a cumulative 56 tons of leftover product from exhibitors was donated to two charitable organizations: Three Square, a local food bank, and Operation Interdependence, which provides goods to the military troops and their families.
The industry’s value proposition of convenience continues to be embraced by consumers, as noted by several NACS Show general session speakers. The U.S. convenience store industry alone conducts 160 million transactions per day. There are 148,126 convenience stores in the U.S. — one per every 2,100 people. In 2011, U.S. convenience stores had $681 billion in sales — more than the sales of the country’s restaurants ($632 billion) or supermarkets ($584 billion) and far greater than drug stores ($222 billion, not including prescriptions). Overall, convenience store sales in 2011 were one out of every 22 dollars of the overall $15.04 trillion U.S. gross domestic product. The U.S. convenience store industry had sales that would rank it the 19th largest country by gross domestic product, between Turkey and Switzerland.
While the NACS Show has concluded, both attendees and non-attendees can still experience the NACS Show. The 55-minute “Ideas 2 Go” DVD is for sale at nacsonline.com/ideas2go. And, the NACS Show Virtual showcases videos on Cool New Products and the future of fuels. Fifteen educational sessions and general session presentations will be available for broadcast on NACS Show Virtual beginning Oct. 30. Subscription pricing varies, ranging from $25 to $200; more information is available at nacshowvirtual.com.
The 2013 NACS Show will take place Oct. 12-15 in Atlanta.