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World Market Center Las Vegas delivers record attendance, optimism, and excitement at summer market

Las Vegas Market Rocks with Record Attendance, 320 New Exhibitors and New Building Opening Las Vegas, NV - Records were broken, premieres were held and milestones were marked at the Summer 2008 Las Vegas Market, July 28-August 1, the first show to be held entirely on World Market Center Las Vegas' ultra-modern 57-acre campus since the Market's July 2005 launch.

From the moment July Las Vegas Market kicked off with its record-setting opening day attendance, its energized pace and portfolio of unique offerings demonstrated why World Market Center Las Vegas is the world's fastest-growing integrated home and hospitality contract furnishings showroom and trade complex. The opening of the iconic Building C - a 16-story, 2.1-million-square-foot structure - created the most efficient Market to date, allowing manufacturers, buyers and designers from around the world to convene in a single location.

Total registrations exceeded the historic average of 50,000 and were up 4 percent over the last July Market; total attendance was up 7 percent. In particular, there was a dramatic increase in attending buyers, with 15 percent more retailers and 93 percent more designers attending 2008 Summer Market than in July 2007.

"Considering the very difficult environment in the home furnishings industry, this is a remarkable uptick," said World Market Center President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Maricich. "At World Market Center Las Vegas we have a compelling platform to do business. We set out to create excitement and provide an environment of optimism-and we were successful by every measure."

Furthermore, many exhibitors reported that qualified buyer traffic was up in their showrooms and that order-writing was brisk, defying the challenging environment in which the industry is currently operating.

"Our written business at Market was up well over 20 percent, and it was our most successful Summer Market thus far," said Lee Fautsch, vice president of sales/home furnishings for Flexsteel Industries, Inc. of Dubuque, Iowa. "We need to be in Las Vegas - it's very important to us."

"The quality of traffic we've had has been excellent. The major re-launch of Pennsylvania House alone has made it a great Market," said Dave Pinamonti of Universal Furniture.

In all, more than 1,500 exhibitors showed their newest products, including 320 new companies and 120 companies who expanded their World Market Center footprint. July's Market featured more than 200 international exhibitors from 20 countries; further reinforcing World Market Center's standing as the industry's new global hub. Of the non-U.S. companies exhibiting this summer, 30 percent were from Canada, 29 percent were European-based, 21 percent were based in Latin America and 20 percent were from Asia.

"We have been busy from 8 a.m. to closing," said Suzanne Kelly, Vice President of Home Furnishings of The Robert Allen Group in New York which opened a new 30,000 square-foot flagship showroom in World Market Center's Building C. "We're seeing people from across the country and meeting local designers for the first time. There are many international buyers here as well, especially from Mexico, Canada and even Dubai."

"Provasi has showrooms all over the world, and we are making this our headquarters in the U.S.," said Gina M. Fard of Provasi. "We believe Las Vegas Market will be the center point of the high-end in the U.S."

Perhaps the most prominent example of World Market Center's growing international appeal was the U.S. premiere of Fiera Milano's Design Italiano. The one-of-a-kind, museum-quality exhibit features the best in Italian furniture design from 1956 to today. The 8,000-square-foot exhibit consists of nearly 100 pieces from 13 top designers and manufacturers, including B and B Italia, Cassina, Flexform and Minotti.

Design Italiano was conceived, organized and curated with the support of Fiera Milano, Regione Lombardia and the city of Meda. The exhibit runs through the end of the year on the first floor of Building C at Las Vegas Design Center. About World Market Center Las Vegas World Market Center Las Vegas is an integrated home and hospitality contract furnishings showroom and trade complex in Las Vegas. With the opening of Building C, WMC now stands at more than five million square feet of space, exceeding the size of any trade merchandise mart in the United States.

When fully built, at 12 million square feet in 8 buildings, WMC will be the largest trade show complex in the world. The $3 billion, state-of-the-art campus will showcase furniture, decorative accessories, gift, lighting, area rugs, home textile and related segments, as well as the Las Vegas Design Center, open year-round.

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