Thousands of retail buyers, and owners of independent stores from across the UK flocked to Spring Fair at the NEC Birmingham as it opened its doors for the first time in two years. As the largest and longest running wholesale marketplace encompassing the very best in home, gift and fashion, the busy aisles and stands across all eight Halls showing that retailers are ready for a return to business as usual and in-person trading, with a palpable thirst for newness and desire to re-stock their stores with the latest products and innovations.
The show is expected to generate tens of millions of pounds worth of business, refuelling the retail industry and injecting newness.
Julie Driscoll, Divisional Managing Director, Spring Fair & Moda said: “The show has been bustling all day today [Sunday], exhibitors are excited to be back and retailers have flocked to the show to return to face to face business and networking. We are still on a high after winning AEO’s Trade Show of the Century Award, and feel genuinely proud to continue to successfully put on the UK’s largest and longest running tradeshow. We can’t wait for the next 3 days, for the start of Curated Meetings tomorrow, and to see retail flourishing once again.”
Exhibitor, Liz Ireland, Managing Director and Founder, Bigjigs Toys said: “It is very good to be here and to be back on the show floor talking to buyers, the visitor attendance has been extremely high for the first day and the quality of buyer has been excellent.”
Exhibitor, Allana Holmes from Hunter Price, said: “This is an exciting time for the business, with new launches on our toy, craft and stationery ranges as well as new homeware collections with Billie Faiers and Style Sisters. We have had a lot of interaction on the stand today with positive reactions and interest in the new products. The buyers we have seen are also looking for ranges with strong visual branding.”
Retailer, Anne Marie Murray from Willow Home & Interiors said: “Spring Fair has been great, fresh looking and its very contemporary. It’s well laid out and easy to get to and find products. It has been a great day so far and we’ve picked up a few names of new companies we didn’t know before.”
The launch of the Curated Meetings programme kicked off on Monday, with hundreds of pre-arranged meetings taking place between buyers and brands. Approximately 50% of brands taking part were not exhibiting this year. Buyers were pre-qualified for budget size, purchase responsibility and are actively sourcing, and come from national retailers, multi-store independent boutiques, destination retailers, with 10% travelling internationally to join the programme.
On the eve of its launch, Product Manager Monica Todd said: “Holding the potential to double your return on investment, taking part in Curated Meetings is a game-changing move. It speeds up the process of doing new business, it connects brands with buyers with meaningful budgets, and efficiently secures relevant connections and new partnerships. So much of the behind-the-scenes work has been done over the last 6 months and I can’t wait to see and hear the buzz of it all coming to life tomorrow. The programme delivers a clear and intelligent roadmap to ROI and is the most genuinely exciting new development in facilitating efficient and productive business that compliments the brand presence of a stand and offers new suppliers for options for taking part in the show.”
This year, as part of its re-launched Power of One campaign, the Good Retail Awards introduced the Power of One Award with the purpose of recognising a business that has made one small change to their business that has made a significant impact.