After two-and-a-half years of planning, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) will bring everybody tied to its world together in one place this August: Las Vegas. That is at least the plan, according to NACDS, which is consolidating three events—includingone that is more than 50 years old— into a single Total Store Expo that will be held Aug. 10-13 at the Sands Venetian Expo.
2012 saw the final editions of the NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference, Supply Chain and Logistics Conference, and the Marketplace Conference. NACDS Senior Vice President Jim Whitman says he anticipates more than 5,000 attendees and 750 exhibiting companies for the new event.
While the combined total for the three previous events exceeded that, Whitman says it is only because there was duplication of efforts. Most members of the industry are pleased they will be able to attend only one event each year rather than two or three.
“We’re bringing the total store together in one expo,” he says.
Whitman points to three different, but overlapping, constituencies that the event and his association serve:
• Mass merchandisers, such as Target or Walmart
• Conventional drug store chains, like CVS or Walgreen’s
• Food stores with pharmacies, like Safeway or Albertson’s
In many cases, he says, the same vendors and suppliers serve them all, so it makes sense to put everybody together in one place at one time.
“We decided we’re going to take a different approach and be a leader in the industry,” Whitman says.
The Pharmacy & Technology Conference dates back to 1958 and traditionally has been the anchor annual meeting for the pharmacy industry. The other two events were started in the 1980s.
While the Total Store Expo will be held at the Sands this year, next year it will begin a three-city rotation that will take it to Boston, Denver and San Diego in the future. Whitman says there are no immediate plans to return to Las Vegas after this year.