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Posted: April 14, 2016:  

Athletics: Chicago Women's Event Offers Retailers A Road Map To The More Discerning Woman Consumer

The Running & Fitness Event for Women, June 9 to 10, is a Fusion of Sports, Fitness, and Style

CHICAGO (April 14, 2016) - The market for women's footwear, gear and apparel has never been hotter and never more competitive. The challenge for retailers and brands is how to successfully navigate this increasingly complex world, a world that combines sports, fitness, and style.

The $18 billion women's market (NPD Group) will be on full display at the upcoming The Running & Fitness Event for Women, a trade-only conference and exhibition scheduled for June 9 to 10, 2016, at Chicago's McCormick Place.

Show director Beth Gordon, of Formula4 Media, based in Great Neck, N.Y., expects the Women's Event's new, more businesslike venue along the shores of Lake Michigan, a few miles south of downtown Chicago, will be an added draw for retail attendance.

"The market is growing, not only in terms of size, but in sophistication," said Gordon. "A few years ago, retailers were excited just to have choices of several different sports bras and yoga apparel from vendors. Now they are focused on what sports or fitness activities attract their customers and exactly what items and brands are right for them."

Gordon continues, "We're planning the show one month early in the buying cycle, which will also give retailers a 30 day jump on planning for the fall season and the following winter. The fact that June is the nicest time of year in Chicago is certainly an added attraction."

Over 100 exhibitors are expected to participate in the trade show, representing a lively mix of leading brands showcasing the best women's footwear, apparel, wearable technology, and accessory products on the market.

New exhibitors include 361 Degrees, Balega, Breathe by Body Glove, Liquido Active, TLF, Tyr, and Tonic. They join returning exhibitors Altra, Brooks, CW-X, Eagle Creek, Enell, Goodhew, Icebug, New Balance, Oofos, Pearl Izumi, Saucony, Skechers, Soffe, Superfeet, tasc, Topo, Zamst, and Zensah, among many others.

Listen and Learn

Keynoter for the conference is Robin Waters, former V.P. of Trend, Design and Product Development at Target, who will present, "The Art of Tracking and Translating Trends into Sales and Profit."

Griff Long, V.P. of Operations at Equinox, will speak about, "Women's Participation & Activities in Health Clubs; How It Impacts Your Business."

Tom Flierl of Hanson Dodge Creative will present, "The Future of Shopping and the Active Woman's Path to Purchase," focusing on how businesses identify and deliver greater value through the integration of their branding, marketing and technology efforts.

Tess Roering will offer her perspective on the business. Roering, who helped The Gap launch Athleta, and is now CMO of CorePower Yoga, will discuss the evolution of the fitness industry, and the growth of boutique fitness and yoga.

Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, a surgically trained doctor of podiatric medicine specializing in the prevention and treatment of foot pathology, will explain how best to sell footwear to women, focusing on how their feet and physiology are different than men.

The Independent Running Retailers Association (IRRA) will host its Store Merchandising Summit at McCormick Place on June 8 and 9 - two days of discussions on how to better merchandise retail stores to create a better selling environment. (Open to IRRA members only).

Special Events

Instructors from CorePower's Chicago studio will lead a yoga class on Wednesday, June 8, the night before the event opens.

"We believe our attendees learn best by experience," says show director Beth Gordon. "We want them on the floor meeting with brands, but we also want them to have fun and experience what's so great about this growing market."

Other events include a Cocktail Reception & Fashion Show on June 9 on the trade show floor, and the Runner's World Fun Run, June 10.

Formula4 Media's sister conference and trade show, The Running Event (TRE), will be held at the Orange County Convention Center on Nov. 29 to Dec. 2, 2016. An industry race is planned at Walt Disney World EPCOT Center.

For more information about how to participate in the 2016 The Running & Fitness Event for Women, contact Beth Gordon, 949 293 1378,

For more information about The Running Event: Troy Leonard, show director, 352 624 1561,; Mark Sullivan, president, 646 319 7878,

Formula4 Media, based in Great Neck, N.Y., established in 2005, also produces eight publications: Footwear Insight, Inside Insight, Outdoor Insight, Running Insight, Sports Insight, Team Insight, Textile Insight, and Trend Insight.

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