Autumn Fair exhibitors ‘pulled out all the stops’

Autumn Fair International welcomed over 1,500 exhibitors and almost 30,000 retailers from 80 countries.

The exhibition, organised by i2i Events Group, took place on September 1-4 at the NEC in Birmingham.

500 new exhibitors and 400 overseas suppliers joined a host of UK industry bellwethers across 11 different market sectors including: Contemporary Gift & Home, Kitchen, Dining & Housewares, Gifts, Home Interiors & Furniture, Gift, Home & Volume, Hobby, Arts & Craft, Greetings & Gift, Children’s Gifts, Toys & Gadgets, Body, Bath & Home Fragrance, Fashion Jewellery & Accessories and The Summerhouse.

A schedule of seminars provided business guidance to retailers. One of the stars of the show was retail and hospitality guru Alex Polizzi. The presenter of TV series ‘The Hotel Inspector’ on Channel 5 and BBC2 series ‘The Fixer’ (which focuses on her turning around family businesses) delivered inspirational advice to a packed audience on the opening day of the event.

Alex was brought to the exhibition by one of Autumn Fair’s key sponsors, nPower, whose SME sales and marketing director Phil Scholes commented: “Autumn Fair International has provided us with an ideal opportunity to build on our knowledge of independent retailers and talk to them about their needs, so we can continue to develop the right products and services to support them.”

Another show highlight was an awards ceremony held in the Kitchen, Dining & Housewares in hall 2. It was organised by the Cookshop and Housewares Association (CHA), a division of The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), whose expert panel of judges voted the Gefu Spiralfix Spiral Slicer distributed by Haus as the Best Product at Autumn Fair.

A further housewares-themed event held in hall 2 was a Dragon’s Den-style competition called Hot Plate, where Autumn Fair exhibitors presented innovative new products to a panel of industry experts. The winner was Richard Hogg of Kitchen Concepts with his Salt Genie dispenser.

Commenting at the end of the show, Autumn Fair Portfolio Director Nick Davison said: “I’m very proud to have overseen my first Autumn Fair as Portfolio Director and pleased at the overall positive reception visitors gave to our fantastic exhibitors and insightful show content.

“This show is testament to both the resilience of the UK retail trade and more than 1,500 suppliers who have pulled out all the stops to put on such a superb showcase. I’m now looking forward to seeing their hot new products hitting the stores in time for Christmas, and hope it turns out to be an excellent key trading season for all involved.”

The 2014 edition of Autumn Fair International will take place from September 7 – 10 at the NEC in Birmingham, with the Volume Hall opening one day early.

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