Autumn Fair is “in great shape – and growing significantly” according to show organiser i2i Events Group.
i2i Events Group portfolio director Nick Davison said: “We are already a couple of thousand metres ahead on bookings compared with the same time last year, and we’ve seen a 20% rise in new exhibitors. There has also been a massive increase in rebooks from lapsed exhibitors.
“All this is indicative of both the strength of Autumn Fair and a welcome upswing in the retail market, along with further confirmation that buying patterns have changed tremendously over the past few years.
“Retailers – especially independents – want to buy little and often throughout the year in line with current trends and economic conditions, meaning that seasonal shows like Autumn Fair are increasingly important to them as prime sourcing events.”
A Seasonal Buying Report commissioned by Autumn Fair organiser i2i Events Group reveals that over the past five years, more than 60% of retailers surveyed have reduced their level of budget available for forward orders. Department store buyers in particular (75%) have reduced their forward ordering commitments, and 65% of independents are now buying closer to each relevant season. Some 60% of online retailers have reduced their forward orders.
The survey was carried out in June 2013 of 230 independent retailers with less than four shops, independents with up to 10 shops, multiple retailers, department stores, mail order and online sellers.
i2i Events Group commented: “Over 24% of retailers are holding back more than half of their budget to buy closer to the season, meaning that Autumn Fair – a key transactional buying event – is more important and relevant than ever in the changing retail landscape. ‘Right time, on trend, in stock’, is the Autumn Fair mantra, and it doesn’t fail to deliver on this promise. With over 40,000 new products to choose from across nine different market sectors and around 1,500 exhibitors, Autumn Fair is also a prime event for retailers to get a first preview of brand new products for crucial Spring seasons including Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Easter and Father’s Day.”
Autumn Fair International 2014 will be held at the NEC in Birmingham from September 7-10 (the volume hall opens on September 6).