The UK’s retail buyers turned out in force last month for a ‘buzzing edition’ of the Spring Fair, according to show organiser i2i Events Group.
This year’s event, which took place from February 7-11 at the NEC in Birmingham, coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Midlands exhibition venue.
The show brought together thousands of exhibitors across 13 sectors, including housewares. New for 2016 was a Trend showcase between Hall 9 (Kitchen, Dining & Housewares) and Hall 8 (The Summerhouse), featuring some of the most searched for products on the Spring Fair’s online database used by retailers to plan their buying trip.
More hot products were brought to the fore at the Gift of the Year 2016 Awards, presented by new Giftware Association ambassador Cath Kidston at a ceremony held at the show on Sunday February 7.
As well as presenting new products, Spring Fair offered visitors free business content across several seminar theatres and feature areas.
Speakers included Anna Rigby, head of buying, home accessories, gifts and seasonal at John Lewis; Brett Kritzler, eBay business seller growth at eBay; Catherine Bennett, lead retail account manager at Twitter; Charlie Ruigrok, digital trade adviser at UKTI; Dave Morrisey, client solutions manager, retail & e-Commerce at Facebook: and Martin de la Fuente, senior buying manager for non-food at online supermarket Ocado.
Another attraction was the presence of several celebrities including BBC1’s ‘The Great British Bake Off’ 2015 winner Nadiya Hussain and the show’s judge Paul Hollywood, who promoted ranges with suppliers WOW! Stuff and Kitchen Craft respectively.
‘The Bake Off’ stars joined other stars in the Kitchen, Dining & Housewares sector in Hall 9. Housewares supplier Arthur Price hosted visits from design collaborators Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen and Sophie Conran, with the latter also presenting a new range for T&G Woodware, while Ulster Weavers launched a licensed range with British designer Kelly Hall.
Meanwhile Meyer’s Circulon brand marked ‘30 years of innovation’ with the unveiling of its latest product developments. The brand invited retailers to its stand to join in the celebrations with a private drinks reception.
Arthur Price owner Simon Price said: “Spring Fair 2016 was a great event for us. We had a strong multiple product launch, met lots of important buyers and reached our business and brand objectives.”
Retailer Martin de la Fuente of Ocado commented: “Spring Fair still remains one of the most important dates in the buying calendar. It continues to provide buyers with the best opportunity to see new products and pick up on the latest trends.
“My team found Spring Fair 2016 invaluable for meeting new manufacturers, catching up with existing suppliers and viewing the latest developments. As a retail buyer, I can’t afford to miss Spring Fair.”
Independent retailer owner of Christopher Dell, owner of White Mint – Fresh Home Interiors shop, added: “As always, Spring Fair was hall after hall of ideas. It helped me find some new brands to work with, as well as giving me a chance to catch up with some familiar faces.
“We came out buzzing with ideas of what to do next. From a commercial sense, the people we find at Spring Fair have new ideas that keep our shop relevant and fresh, which hopefully gives us the edge we need to keep getting people through our doors.”
Commenting as the show closed its doors, portfolio director Nick Davison said: “I want to thank all our loyal customers, and those new to the exhibition, for supporting Spring Fair and helping to make it such a fantastic show.
“There have been some exceptional results and wonderful special events taking place and there was a great atmosphere of camaraderie throughout the show, which is the best place to do business and for members of the industry to network with their peers.
“We are now looking forward to both Autumn Fair 2016, which takes place from September 4-7 at the NEC, and the next edition of Spring Fair, which for 2017 will run from February 5-9 at the NEC.”
The Housewares Innovation Awards 2016 stand at the Spring Fair