This year’s Autumn Fair saw 1200 exhibitors populate Birmingham’s NEC for five days of negotiation and inspiration. Over 200,000 new products were presented, offering buyers plentiful opportunities to stock up for the selling seasons ahead …

“Off the back of what was a flat summer of trading for retailers, buyers came ready to be inspired by ranges for the up-and-coming major sell-though periods for retail,” comments MD of Spring Fair and Autumn Fair, Louise Young. “It’s simply good news for all of retail that suppliers and retailers have come together to make this year’s Autumn Fair a commercial success for those that visited and exhibited – it’s a good barometer for the Christmas trading period and into spring.”

With visitors from the likes of Amazon, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Next, Wayfair and Wyevale in attendance, the feedback from many exhibitors was positive.

James Ellis, MD of Ancient Mariner Furniture, commented: “It’s been a well-attended show – we’ve been really busy. We’ve seen a good mix of smaller and larger buyers, existing and new customers. Particularly when it comes to finding new customers, Autumn Fair offers something that the dedicated furniture shows just don’t – over the years, Autumn Fair’s been great for lifting our profile.”

Four live theatres offered valuable market insights and updates on the current buying trends, with speakers including Theo Paphitis and notonthehighstreet.com’s Holly Tucker. sharing their advice and predictions for the coming year.

This year’s edition also saw the introduction of a dedicated section for the best of Theo Paphitis’ #SBS (Small Business Sunday) community, Autumn Fair Product Match, and new Global Handicraft and DesignFirst showcases. 

The show’s new owner ITE has announced a major investment programme to increase attendance from online and international retailers, plus a plan to reorganise the halls to improve visitor flow and facilitate greater cross-buying opportunities, with content that will encourage multiples to source more white-label/own brand product.

“Looking forward, market leader Autumn Fair is evolving as we embrace the structural changes in the market,” explains Louise. “Consumers have not stopped buying goods, but how they buy has changed.

“In 2019, both Spring and Autumn Fair are well positioned to continue providing a unique proposition for retailers. With the new re-edit plans we’re looking to really optimise the fair experience for both visitors and exhibitors, including updating show sectors to present real opportunities for crossover buying and better enabled networking. As the hub for ‘all of retail’, 2019 will offer buyers tangible profitable insight that will help them stay ahead of the curve.”

Online registration is now open for Spring Fair, taking place from 3rd-7th February 2019 at the Birmingham NEC.