Thousands of retail buyers and owners of independent stores from across the UK flocked to Spring Fair at the NEC Birmingham yesterday as it opened its doors for the first time in two years.
Running until Wednesday 9 February, 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, says: “The show was bustling all day yesterday. 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 three days, for the start of Curated Meetings today [Monday], and to see retail flourishing once again.”
Exhibitor Liz Ireland, Managing Director and Founder of Bigjigs Toys, commented: “It’s 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.”
Hunter Price’s Allana Holmes 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.”
The Curated Meetings programme kicks off today (Monday 7th) with hundreds of pre-arranged meetings set to take place between buyers and brands. Buyers are pre-qualified for budget size, purchase responsibility and are actively sourcing, and come from national retailers Asda and Midcounties Coop, multi-store independent boutiques such as Nest and Gibbons, destination retailer Kelvingrove Museum and Ragdale Hall Spa, while 10 per cent are travelling internationally to join the programme, including Houstons and Wallaces Homevalue & Garden Centre.
Product Manager Monica Todd says; “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 six months and I can’t wait to see and hear the buzz of it all coming to life today. 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.”
On the Inspiring Retail Stage yesterday, visitors were encouraged to hear from Karl McKeever, Founder of FutureView, about the opportunities that have arisen as a result of Covid, with many businesses unlearning and relearning behaviours, developing different ways of thinking and doing things, and becoming increasingly creative and collaborative in the process.
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. Plastic-free beauty business Whitfords won for the creation of a sustainable, multi-purpose alternative to commonly found packaging.
Spring Fair is taking place until 9 February 2022 at NEC Birmingham. For further Spring Fair information visit www.springfair.com