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IMRA 2001 to feature new trade show concept

DALLAS — Understanding customers' buying decisions and category-specific growth opportunities are two of the topics to be presented at the International Mass Retail Association 2001 conference.

The trade show takes place May 19 to 22 at the Wyndham Anatole here, and registration begins on May 18, the same day as the golf tournament.

In addition, IMRA will bow its new trade show concept, called the Business Development Forum, which will replace the usual product exhibits with 250 meeting spaces for suppliers and retailers. The forum will run from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on May 20, and 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the 21st. Suppliers will be assigned a 10' x 10' private meeting space so they can talk business with current and potential retail customers.

The opening general session begins at 2:30 p.m. on May 19, and will start off with a State of the Industry address by Joe Ettore, chairman of the IMRA board and chairman and ceo of Ames Department Stores. The Supplier Member Board Update and a Presentation of Partnership Award follows, along with the State of the Association, presented by Bob Verdisco, president, IMRA; the President's Awards; and the opening keynote address, moderated by Ettore.

At 5:30 p.m., IMRA will hold a business and government debate, with speakers Alan Keyes, ambassador and former Republican presidential candidate, and Ralph Nader, former Green Party presidential nominee. The welcome party follows from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Besides the social events, IMRA will have a seminar program that covers a variety of business topics. Several of the seminars are "Why They Buy — Understanding & Influencing Your Customer's Buying Decisions," which will be held on May 20, from 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m.; followed by "Best Practices in Global Merchandising," running from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

"What's Driving Categories & Why" is one of the breakout sessions that will cover several categories, including house, home and garden. It takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

On May 21, "Where Are All of the Customers?" is one of the breakout sessions, from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., "How To Work With Wall Street to Your Business' Benefit" will take place.

The closing keynote address will begin at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, May 21, with Lee Scott, president, ceo of Wal-Mart, as moderator and John Chambers, president, ceo of Cisco Systems, as speaker. A semi-formal cocktail reception will follow at 7 p.m. The grand finale celebration, from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., will include a tribute to Ettore as well as entertainment by comedian Dana Carvey.

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