July 20, 2009
Christian Retail Convention Sees Drop in Attendance
Attendance dropped by one-fifth at this year's CBA convention of Christian retailers, the organization reported, as overall Christian retail sales plunged by more than 10 percent.
Attendance of Christian retail professionals totaled 1,903, a drop of 20 percent from 2008 figures. International visitors at the Denver convention also dropped by 28 percent, to 534 attending from 56 countries. The International Christian Retail Show concluded on July 15.
"In light of the economy and its effects over the past 10 months, we approached this show with conservative expectations," said CBA President and CEO Bill Anderson, who said most trade shows have seen drops in attendance. "While we knew attendance would be down some, I'm satisfied with a strong turnout and the enthusiasm and positive tone throughout the event by both retailers and suppliers."
The low attendance numbers follow a drop in sales reported in May by the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based organization that once was called the Christian Booksellers Association.
Its annual "State of the Industry" survey found that Christian retail stores saw net sales drop 10.75 percent from the previous year. During 2008, at least 91 stores closed, while 54 new ones opened.