The Diamond/Alliance Retailer Summit wrapped up on a high note Tuesday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.  Attendance was about 350 retailers, up from around 300 at the 2001 Las Vegas Summit, the most recent event for comparison, and a few more than the 325 retailers that attended the Fort Wayne Retailer Summit. Both retailers and exhibitors seemed to feel that it was two days well spent, with generally positive vibes on both the buy and sell sides.  Retailers turned out well for seminars, packing rooms and overflowing into the halls early Monday, until accommodations were made for the greater attendance.  There was no crossbooking of seminars with exhibit hall hours, which undoubtedly contributed to the attendance. 


One no-show on the exhibitor side was CrossGen Comics, which decided late last week not to attend.  'We debated this back and forth until nearly the last minute,' CrossGen VP Marketing Chris Oarr told ICv2.  'I'm personally a big supporter of the Diamond workshops; however, it's no secret that CrossGen has a heavy load to bear right now as we prepare for the future and put our house in order.  And on balance I think it's a better service to the retailer to have me here putting our house in order, although I certainly will have missed out for not participating this year.'


Marvel was another major comic publisher that didn't attend--it did not plan to and didn't.


The trade event Monday and Tuesday was held in conjunction with the newly relaunched Las Vegas Comicon last weekend, also at the Mandalay Bay.  The move from the Orleans, where the last Las Vegas Diamond/Alliance event was held, to the Mandalay Bay group created a few problems for the trade show, including long hikes to different parts of the convention center for successive events, and a difficult trip from the Excalibur, the official event hotel, to the convention facility some distance by tram and foot away. 


The consumer event itself was below expectations by all reports.  We heard estimates ranging from 1800 to 4000 for attendance, well below what organizers expected.   This despite an excellent exhibitor list and a good local marketing campaign.  The small size of the local market and the high expectations set by exhibitors were the primary reasons noted for the shortfall.