This year's Spring Fair, which concluded at the Birmingham NEC on 7th February, proved "bold and busy", according to organiser ITE Group, which reports a strong turnout, with particular growth in top-tier retailer attendance.
Over 2000 exhibitors – including over 600 new names – presented their newest ranges to visting brands including M&S, Topshop, ASOS, boohoo.com, Liberty, The White Company, Wayfair, John Lewis and Selfridges.
Consequently, a "significant number" of exhibitors have already rebooked for 2020's edition.
Julie Driscoll, MD of Spring and Autumn Fair, comments: “In spite of a mixed Christmas trading period and continued Brexit uncertainty, Spring Fair 2019 has been an immense success. We’ve enabled more connections, more sales and helped forge deeper business relationships across our sectors. We’ve brought together thousands of buyers and exhibitors to prove that retail is indeed resilient, prepared and well-equipped in the face of the year ahead."
At the show, the fair’s three live theatres featured speakers from the likes of Louis Vuitton, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Green and Blacks and Insider Trends, who offered buyers new ideas, insight and inspiration for the year ahead, focusing on topics including driving profit, ethical consumption, SEO and social media strategies.
With sustainability high on the fair's agenda, buyers were encouraged to pledge their sustainable individual or business change as part of the event’s Power of One campaign. The initiative saw visitors and exhibitors commit to stopping the usage of single-use bottles and straws, cutting down on packaging, re-using shopping bags, and more.
Talking about Spring Fair’s new sustainability commitments, Julie says: “With this year’s show we really wanted to embrace growing consumer demand for a greater choice of sustainable and ethically sourced products, with a new commitment to supporting retailers and exhibitors who want to do more for the environment. Those retailers looking for products aligning with this trend were able to get their hands on new products from across the show which launched with this very trend in mind.”
Meanwhile, throughout the event, visitors were able to explore the show’s expanded First showcases, designed to support unique and first-time exhibiting brands.
Across key show sectors, feedback was positive, with exhibitors reporting increased interest and strong footfall. Elaine Anderson of Bluebone said: “We launched 100 new products at Spring Fair which were very well received and we have had lots of orders placed. It’s very well attended and offers breadth and depth of products for home and gift sectors.”
Off the back of fresh investment, next year's show will enjoy a major re-edit, with newly organised show sectors. “The 2020 re-edit sets up two distinct sourcing destinations for retail buyers, making it easier than ever for visitors to locate the right suppliers for them and for exhibitors to generate more new custom,” adds Julie. “We’ll continue to provide world-class content programmes that help the visitors and exhibitors differentiate, compete and succeed, as well as introduce new product categories and sector names to create fresh inspiration for exhibitors and visitors alike.”
Stand bookings are now being taken for Spring Fair’s partner show, Autumn Fair, taking place from 1st–4th September at the NEC.