Columbia Makes ‘Difficult Decision to Depart Outdoor Retailer’

The Portland-based gear and apparel giant didn’t say if it would return to the massive bi-annual outdoors trade event. And it won’t be the only brand missing from the exhibition floor.

colorado convention center blue bear columbia
Denver’s Colorado Convention Center (left) will host this month’s Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show

It was supposed to be like old times. Following the bitter disputes that erupted last winter over public lands and led to a hasty, unceremonious exit from its Utah home of 20 years, this month’s Outdoor Retailer trade show was hailed as a return to normalcy.

But the inaugural Denver OR Show – officially named Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show – will have a very noticeable absence. Columbia Sportswear confirmed to GearJunkie it will not be attending the event, and its plans for future shows remain unclear.

GearJunkie also learned Canadian outerwear brand Arc’teryx will not be an exhibitor this winter either. Instead, the company will attend the On-Snow Demo event at Copper Mountain.

For context, more than 1,100 outdoors and active-lifestyle brands will be in attendance at the winter show, which runs January 25–28 at Denver’s Colorado Convention Center.

or show patagonia
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Columbia, Arc’teryx Out of Winter 2018 Outdoor Retailer

In a short statement, Columbia explained its decision:

Columbia has made the difficult decision to depart Outdoor Retailer. We will not have a presence at the Winter Show in January 2018.

In our annual review of the brand’s investments across the board, it became clear to us that now is the best time to change the direction in a few aspects of our business. We believe we can drive better results and consumer demand through a strategic refocusing of our resources.

The brand said it was “grateful for the partnerships” the show helped create, and it would build on them “in new and exciting ways moving forward.”

As for Arc’teryx, like many brands, it pulled out of last year’s show as a “statement for protecting public lands.”

We spoke with a media relations representative for Arc’teryx who did not rule out future plans for the brand to attend OR in Denver. But, as yet, the company has made no official comment.

We will continue to report on the Outdoor Retailer show leading up to and from the event floor January 25–28.

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie – from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it’s outside, it’s worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.

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