LAS VEGAS -- One week after NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing wrapped up its annual convention, the numbers are in and they are record breaking.
According to the association, attendance at the 2012 NACS Show reached 24,056 -- driven by a record number of buyers. The 7.2-percent bump made attendance at this year's show the second highest ever and only 309 less than the record set in 2004.
CSNews SHOW DAILY was the first to report during the Las Vegas event that this year's show would hit record numbers.
While attendance numbers did not quite break the record this year, other numbers did reach new heights. The number of buyers (retailers, wholesalers and distributors) was up a 17.1 percent to reach 9,764. Both NACS and Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) buyer registration increased 17 percent compared to 2011, with NACS buyers hitting a record 8,057 -- nearly 3 percent more than the previous record set in 2004. PEI buyer registration was 1,707, the third-highest total ever, NACS said.
Attendees came from a record 65 countries and international attendance was a record 2,482 delegates.
This year's 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. In addition, the Cool New Products Preview Room featured 306 products, another record.
The 2012 NACS Show also featured three days of general sessions and 53 educational sessions. The educational sessions drew a cumulative 9,889 attendees, averaging out to nearly 190 attendees per session, the most ever recorded. 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, 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?"
At the conclusion of the NACS Show, a cumulative 56 tons of leftover product from exhibitors were 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 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."