Spring Fair International welcomed over 66,500 retail buyers, including more than 5,250 from overseas: a 2% increase on last year’s show.
Visitors came to view over 300,000 new product launches from 3,000 exhibitors across 13 different market sectors, including housewares. Along with tens of thousands of independent retailers, senior buyers from the multiples, supermarkets and department stores, including Fenwick, Debenhams, Bentalls, John Lewis, Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Fortnum & Mason and Tesco, turned out in force.
Organiser i2i Events Group described the five-day exhibition, which opened its doors on February 2 at The NEC in Birmingham, as “the most successful show in years, revealing a clear upswing in the home and gift trade,” adding, “billions of pounds worth of transactions will be carried out as a direct result of participation in the show”.
i2i Events Group added: “The upswing is being driven by a number of key factors, including an impressive commitment to new product development by Spring Fair exhibitors, teamed with a sharpened focus on consumer-driven trends, and a clearer understanding of changing buying patterns from our nation of shopkeepers.”
The Group’s claim is supported by research carried out by the Local Data Company on behalf of the show at the end of 2013. The survey of over 20,000 businesses shows a dramatic uplift in retail optimism with 40.5% of respondents predicting their sales in 2014 to be strong or very strong (up from 23.8% last year). The proportion of retailers who described prospects as weak for the year ahead has plummeted from 21.7% last year to just 4.9% in this year’s survey. The balance of respondents, 54.6%, described prospects for sales in 2014 as steady.
Speaking at the close of Spring Fair, managing director Louise Young commented: “There was an incredibly positive and upbeat vibe at the show this year, reflecting both the fantastic quality of product being launched and a welcome return to buoyancy in the retail trade. The overwhelming majority of exhibitors are very happy with how the show went.
“I would like to thank everyone who participated for supporting Spring Fair, which continues to be the most important retail exhibition in the UK and a crucial barometer for the wider economy. I hope all involved have an excellent year of trading ahead and we’re now looking forward to a strong edition of Autumn Fair International in September.”
The next edition of Spring Fair International will take place from February 1 – 5 at The NEC in Birmingham. Volume halls open one day early on January 31.