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Shopping Centre reports from the world’s largest commercialisation event, SPREE in Las Vegas The range of product categories on display would largely be familiar

MUs have long been a feature of US malls, adding vitality to the retail mix while acting as a hothouse for emerging retail concepts. And given that commercialisation – or specialty

leasing as it is called – is more mature there, it is perhaps no surprise that the world’s leading event for the commercialisation industry takes place in the US. SPREE – the Specialty Leasing Entrepreneur Expo – takes place in Las Vegas every Spring. It is first and foremost a marketplace where mall owners and managers go to meet potential RMU operators, where operators go to source this year’s hottest products and where inventors and product developers go to find a way of getting their new product to market. And it’s the place where the large RMU designers like Stak Design

and Creations Global Retail showcase their wares. This year’s SPREE took place in the sprawling Sands Convention

Center at the heart of the Strip. It hosted around 300 stands and attracted more than 2,000 delegates. And a busy conference programme ran in parallel with the exhibition.

to British commercialisation managers – mobile phone accessories, hair and beauty products, clothing and so on. But there are others that are less so. Toys, especially radio controlled models, and sporting memorabilia seem more popular in the US than here. Martin Kemp, managing director of spaceandpeople’s Retail Profile

division, was one of the small coterie of UK commercialisation experts to make the trip, along with representatives of its German and Russian businesses. For him, it wasn’t necessarily the range but the quality of operators that stood out. “Companies represented ranged from multi-national corporations, such as Cellairis, a mobile phone accessory provider which has almost 1,000 franchises in the US, to family run businesses producing handicraft items,” he says. Kemp was on the lookout for new products that could translate to

the European market. “As a result of SPREE, we came back with three primary and five secondary new product applications that we see as potentials for the UK market,” he says. May 2011 SHOPPING CENTRE

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