Spring Fair organiser i2i Events Group has reported 10% year-on-year growth in exhibitor numbers at the 2015 event, due to take place from February 1 – 5 at The NEC in Birmingham.
i2i Events Group said: ‘Such clear growth at the UK’s most important retail exhibition is a positive indicator for the trading year ahead, which also looks set to benefit from strong high street sales over the Christmas period.’
Spring Fair will present new lines from 3,000 companies (400 of which are new to the show) across 14 market sectors, including Home & Volume; Home; Table & Kitchen; Gift; Contemporary Gift; Greetings & Gift; Children’s Gift, Toys & Gadgets; Christmas Gift and The Summerhouse. The strongest year-on-year growth has been in the Home, Gift, Fashion Jewellery, Accessories and Luggage sectors. The overall number of international exhibitors is also up on Spring Fair 2014. Their products will be viewed by around 70,000 buyers from the UK and overseas.
New developments for the 2015 event will be the unveiling of Spring Fair’s transformed Home sector – formerly branded Home Interiors & Furniture – which has relocated to Hall 1. i2i Events Group said this move to the front of the show reflects ‘both strong growth in this sector and a re-orientation towards the upper end of the Home market, with hundreds of inspirational, design-led suppliers choosing Spring Fair as their prime new product showcase for the year ahead’.
Home will welcome 11 major international companies to Spring Fair for the first time: Chic Antique, Authentic Models BV, Light & Living, Du Bout Du Monde, Baroque International, Neuhofer Folz GmbH, Hermle Clocks GmbH, Entryways, Fuzhou Bailey Furniture, Fortun industrial Ltd and Carpert Export Promotion Council.
As Home moves to Hall 1, the rebranded Table & Kitchen – formerly Kitchen, Dining & Housewares – will move to Hall 9, next to The Summerhouse in Hall 8 and the main Gift offering in Hall 5, (reached from Hall 9 via a covered walkway). i2i Events Group commented that the new location for Table & Kitchen also puts it ‘within easy reach of Europe’s largest volume offering in Halls 10, 11 and 12, offering more superb cross-over buying opportunities’.
It added that the move has been ‘well received by exhibitors, who are glad of the opportunity to reach a larger proportion of Spring Fair’s huge contingent of gift retailers, along with thousands of specialist kitchen shops, department stores and garden centre buyers’.
Also new for 2015 is the Retail Shop brand, which has evolved from the E-commerce zones at Spring and Autumn Fair. Located in Hall 4, Retail Shop exhibitors will represent products and services for multi-channel retailing such as in-store and online solutions, logistics and fulfilment experts, marketing platforms, payment providers and specialists in packaging.
Within Retail Shop is the E-commerce seminar theatre, which will offer a series of seminars and presentations on some of the most challenging areas in online retail, given by successful online retailers and other experts in the field of ecommerce.
Also within Hall 4 is the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) stand and seminar theatre. UKTI helps UK companies to develop successful export strategies with advice, market knowledge and financial support. Research from UKTI has found that firms which choose to export become 34% more productive in the first year, and that exporters achieve 59% faster productivity growth than non-exporters. The findings also reveal that British companies that do business overseas are 11% more likely to survive than companies focused exclusively on the home market.
Another show highlight is the rebranded Trends Theatre, located within Contemporary Gift in Hall 6, which offers ‘the UK’s largest presentation of design-led product available under one roof’. Here, the Worth Global Style Network (WGSN) will provide insights into seasonal trends, while other industry leaders will present their ideas on some of the best opportunities in retail, from effective branding and merchandising techniques to boosting sales through specialised marketing techniques.
Nearby in the same hall is the Designgap presentation of British artisans and other designer makers, showcasing their hand-crafted products and artwork to visitors. Also in Hall 6 is the Design Lab feature area, which comprises a launch platform for 16 new and original Contemporary Gift designers.
Further product inspiration will come from the Giftware Association’s Gift of the Year Awards, due to be held at Spring Fair’s Trends Theatre on the evening of Sunday February 1. The winning and highly commended products will be on display at the Gift of the Year Showhouse, Garden and Retail Lounge in Hall 5.
Along with the Spring Fair New Product locator, visitors can also look out for signs for Creative Britain, highlighting the best of British designed products; the Licensed Product locator, pointing buyers to the hottest new licensed ranges; and the Ethical Product sign, which will help them discover new eco-friendly and Fairtrade items.
Commenting as preparations for Spring Fair 2015 intensify in the run-up to Christmas, i2i Events Group interim portfolio director for retail Naomi Barton said: “As British and overseas retailers gears up for their most important trading occasion, preparations for the UK’s most important trade exhibition are well under way. We look forward to welcoming 3,000 of the best British and international suppliers to the show, where they can source from hundreds of thousands of superb new products and gain invaluable business insights and trend information from our content theatres. The strong percentage growth that we’ve seen in exhibitor numbers is testament to the ongoing importance of Spring Fair to the retail industry, and also serves as a crucial industry barometer pointing to a good trading year ahead.”