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5 summer retail expositions

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If a retail expo spells summer fun, grab your plane ticket now.

Retail sales rose in February, the most in five months according to Bloomberg news. That's likely to put a smile on the thousands of attendees hitting up the following diverse and eclectic assortment of retail expos happening this spring and summer.

Get ready to talk shop, or rather shopping, when more than 30,000 people gather May 20-23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center for RECon 2012, the Global Retail Real Estate Convention. The expo, sponsored by the International Council of Shopping Centers, connects people in retail real estate (the folks who own shopping malls and centers) with local and national retailers to discuss new and existing leases and includes product and service suppliers, a green zone for eco-friendly businesses, a social media and technology pavilion, product demo showcases and more.

You're probably unaware that the scientific name for chocolate is theobroma cacao, but we're betting the folks attending the 92nd Annual Retail Confectioner's International Convention & Industry Expo happening June 11-15 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport Hotel know a thing or two about the world's sweetest treat. The five-day event includes networking opportunities, educational sessions and behind-the-scenes tours of area candy stores and industry suppliers. An even sweeter weekend follows June 17-20 in Hawaii and includes a tour of a local coffee and chocolate plantation.

Not everyone mixes prayer with product, but at the International Christian Retail Show happening July 15-18 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., a daily worship service with other followers of Christ is woven into 72,000 square feet of exhibition space attracting 300 exhibitors and more than 5,000 attendees from sixty countries worldwide. The event connects the Christian resources industry through four days of workshops, summits, Q&As, meet-and-greets, book readings and even a film festival.

Pitch a tent or your best new idea at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, a gathering of independent and chain buyers and retailers seeking outdoor-oriented goods and services, taking place August 2-5 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. More than 21,000 attendees and 1,000 brands (including Timberland, North Face Patagonia, Columbia Sportswear and the Sports Authority) will partake in a weekend of mixing and mingling and also adrenaline-pumping events such as climbing walls and bouldering sessions.
New ideas will be rising like bread at All Things Baking, the annual gathering of bakers, caterers, pastry chefs and restaurateurs happening September 9-11 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. Check out new product trends, learn how to make your store standout, network and exchange ideas and find other ways to make more dough for your business as more than 140 exhibitors present their wares. Additional programs include behind-the-scenes tours of Houston's finest bakeries, hands-on cooking demonstration to enhance your skill levels in the kitchen and a live cake decorating competition including more than $14,000 in cash and prizes.

Last Updated: 04/04/2012 - 5:55 PM

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