Action Sports Retailer, the biggest trade show in the action sports industry, has ended its 29-year run. Nielsen, the show's owner, said last week it was “indefinitely suspending” ASR due to consolidation in the action sports space as well as the challenging economy.

At the same time, Nielsen said it was expanding its retail and brand base as well as the culture of its Outdoor Retailer trade shows in Salt Lake City “to better serve the growth needs of the action sports communities.”

The twice annual Action Sports Retailer show had been held in San Diego for over 20 years and had been in existence since 1981. Last year’s ASR Access drew more than 5,000 attendees and 176 exhibitors, representing a sharp drop-off compared with the 2008 show when there were 6,424 attendees and 324 exhibitors. Timing issues, price resistance from exhibitors and retailer consolidation were all said to be factors impacting the show. The last event was held August 2010 with the next scheduled for January 2011.

Andy Tompkins, Nielsen Group Show Director, sent a letter last week to ASR's exhibitors and retailers to inform them of the show's cancelation.
“As you well know, the action sports industry has been undergoing profound change over the past several years. Recent consolidation among major brands and even meaningful changes in the retail environment has significantly altered the landscape,” wrote Tompkins. 

He noted that “the action sports lifestyle has huge consumer appeal and favorable youth demographics, along with leading, creative and successful brands and retailers.” But he added that several factors – including more competition, consolidation and tight credit markets – all made it “increasingly difficult for the ASR shows in San Diego to serve the new needs of the action sports marketplace. Therefore, we are indefinitely suspending these events.”

Tomkins noted that brands such as Hobie, C4, Surftech, Naish, Riviera, Doyle, Dakine, Quiksilver, Scott Hawaii, Reef, Sanuk, Body Glove, O'Neill Clothing, Ocean Minded, Cobian, FCS, Simple, Smith Optics, Oakley, Xcel wetsuits and over 60 other ASR exhibitors also currently exhibit at Outdoor Retailer, another Nielsen show.

“While we realize this won't work for everyone who had been attending or exhibiting at the ASR shows in San Diego,” Tompkins wrote, “we invite those from the action sports lifestyle industry who feel they would benefit to reach a broader base of successful active and outdoor lifestyle retailers and brands from across the USA and around the world, to participate in Outdoor Retailer in 2011.” Other options for action sports space include Surf Expo, Agenda, and the MAGIC show.
Outdoor Retailer Winter Market will be held Jan. 20-23 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.