Spring Fair International 2009 illustrated the competitive and resilient nature of suppliers and retailers from both the UK and abroad, despite the weather and economic climate. The snow may nearly have brought parts of the country to a standstill for three days, but the serious buyers persevered with intention to trade at the biggest retail event and trade exhibition in the UK.
Alison Jackson, Managing Director at EMAP Connect, commented; “There has been a great deal of media hype and speculation about the challenges in the retail market over recent months. Spring Fair International has proven that people who are involved in retail are responding with a fighting spirit. Whilst the extreme weather conditions meant the quantity of visitors was lower, the quality was as high as ever. Key buyers fought their way through blizzards with representation from virtually every high street name plus independents.”
“Given the challenges of the market, everyone needed a successful show and whilst the snow didn’t help, it proved Spring Fair International still leads the way with millions of pounds worth of transactions taking place at the show.”
Buyers travelled from every corner of the world including Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Brazil, Russia, and the USA. Veronica Powell from Powell Craft experienced first hand the quality of International buyers who attended the show; “I came to the very first Spring Fair, opened by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and I’ve been coming ever since. Attendance is down this year but we have still had a very good show and taken some excellent orders, several of them European. It has been a case of quality rather than quantity.”
David Willan of Coach House also had a great response; “Considering all the elements were against us at this year’s Spring Fair International, the current economic situation, the weather, the transport shutdown, I think we did very well. Lots of our main customers braved the weather to reach us and we had our fair share of Multiple & Department Store buyers. Foreign trade was buoyant and we attracted a good number of new customers. All in all, a positive outlook in gloomy times.”
Jesper Lybeck Kristiansen from Spinning Jewellery; a new Danish exhibitor at Spring Fair International commented; “We chose Spring Fair International to launch our brand into the UK market and we have had a fantastic response to the brand. This is the first time we have been to the show and we have already generated 70 or 80 new accounts. The visitors to the show have been a really good mix between independents and multiples; it has also given a great insight into the market. We will definitely come back to Spring Fair.”
Linda Barker, owner of Really Linda Barker said of Spring Fair International 2009; “This has been a good show. I have set up three or four accounts with new suppliers and have seen some very interesting products. I come to Spring Fair International to meet existing suppliers and it gives us a great opportunity to see new suppliers. In fact, the majority of our business is done at Spring Fair International. Everyone makes a huge effort and it gives me the chance to view product that has been displayed in the best possible way. Plus, I have a number of licensed products which I can offer my support to whilst I am here.”
Whilst visitor numbers were lower than in previous years at 52,000*, this is due to weather conditions. This was borne out by the fact that Sunday was also a strong day and on Wednesday, the best day in terms of weather, visitor numbers were up on last year.
Plans are in place for Spring Fair International 2010, which will be taking place at the NEC from 7th to 11th February. Alison Jackson concluded; “It is going to be a very challenging year for the home and gift industry and we will work closely with the trade to help them get the most out of their investment in our fairs, but my expectations have been buoyed by the attitudes and determination of people at Spring Fair International 2009.”
Spring Fair International Announces Joint Venture with ‘Totally Shows’
Spring Fair International, the UK’s most important buying event, announces the co-location of ‘Totally Tools’, ‘Totally DIY’ and ‘Totally Secure’ at the 2010 Fair.
Spring Fair International 2010 will be running from 7th to 11th February. Totally Shows will be hosted in a dedicated hall and run as a three-day event taking place from 7th February.
Alison Jackson, Managing Director of Spring Fair International, comments: “This is a very positive move and the first of a number of smaller, complementary events we are in dialogue with to run alongside Spring Fair International 2010. There’s considerable crossover and synergy between the sectors and the joint venture will help strengthen our offer to retailers, connecting and further inspire both buyers and suppliers.”
Organiser of the three hugely successful Totally Shows, Brintex, has invited exhibitors from its shows to indicate their space requirement for the NEC next February. From this a floor plan will be drawn up in line with exhibitors’ expectations.
Brintex Exhibition Director, James Murray added: “This is a really exciting development – our shows will benefit from Spring Fair International’s critical mass of exhibition space and significant advertising and promotional activity. It will also offer greater access for buyers in the Midlands and North of the country. “We’ll continue to focus on quality, but this joint venture with the team at Spring Fair International gives us the opportunity to increase the depth and breadth of the show’s offer.”
Initial reaction to the co-location from Totally Shows’ exhibitors has been very positive, with comments including: “This move will make a good show even better” from Michael Weedon, group managing director at the BHF Group, and: “We think the outcome of moving will be positive, as does every other exhibitor I’ve spoken to” from Brendan Allen of The Tool Connection.