The National Association of Chain Drug Stores will eliminate three of its niche conferences and replace them with one large new event in 2013.
Three shows—NACDS Marketplace Conference, NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference, and NACDS Supply Chain & Logistics Conference—will be eliminated starting in 2013. They will be replaced by the NACDS Total Store Expo, which will be held August 10–13, 2013.
Management based their decision on emerging trends and input from members as part of a formal outreach program by the association to get feedback on the value of NACDS events. “After careful thought and study, we are convinced that the innovation will deliver even more power and value to the NACDS membership,” said Larry Merlo, president and chief executive officer at CVS Caremark Corp., and NACDS chairman of the board.
The NACDS Annual Meeting, held in April, and the Regional Chain Conference, held in February, will remain unchanged.
One of the objectives of the new lineup is to have the conferences spaced out throughout the year, rather than have them scheduled so closely together. Also, the event will give attendees access to strategies and vendors from across the industry as opposed to a particular niche.
“We looked at where the shows are going and how people are going to market in our industry, and the last few years we were seeing a trend,’ said Jim Whitman, senior vice president, member programs and services, NACDS, Alexandria, Va. Because companies are doing more with less and are asking people to do multiple tasks, there is more overlap among the niches. There is more integration of tasks and a single topic is no longer confined to a certain job or role. “There were similarities, there were common threads, so we said this is something we should look at,” said Whitman.
The changes weren’t borne out of attendance declines at the three shows, added Whitman. “We’re trying to stay ahead of the game, anticipating as opposed to being reactive. We didn’t want to be in a situation where we had to do something.”
As the name implies, the Total Store Expo represents the entire industry. Attendance for the first year is expected to be around 5,800, which is the combined attendance of the three shows that are being eliminated. The three shows will continue unchanged this year and next. Because the association hadn’t booked beyond 2012, there was no need for cancellations.