Autumn Fair attendance rises for third year running

32,223 buyers visited the show, an increase of three per cent year-on-year.
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Organisers of Autumn Fair, EMAP, said investment in marketing and new show features, like the toy demo area, helped to boost visitor numbers at this year's show.

An increasing number of larger retailers also attended this year, including Hamleys, Fenwicks, House of Fraser, WH Smith, John Lewis and Debenhams.

At the show, 60,000 new products were presented from over 1,500 exhibitors, 900 of them exclusive to Autumn Fair this season.

Features launched at the show for the first time in 2011 included the Toy Demo and Craft Demo Area’s and returning to the show was the Spotlight on Design-led Gifts, Toys & Gadgets and the Talking Point Seminars.

The managing director of show organiser, Emap Connect Home & Gift, Louise Young, said: "The quality of product launched here was superb. In particular the scope and editing of our design-led gift offering was second to none in the UK this season.

“The reputation of Autumn Fair exhibitors’ innovation and sheer design talent is attracting increasing numbers of buyers here each year. Retailers want to pinpoint their future best sellers and AFI provides them with invaluable insight to help guide their product sourcing. The more we work to improve the presentation and content of our shows, the greater the inspiration we can offer as a catalyst to facilitate retail buying.”

“AFI 2012 will see further investment, as we start to assert the show’s stature as one of Europe’s most important sourcing opportunities for this time of year. AFI is the first show of significance on the international buying calendar to view festive ranges, and of increasing importance for retailers at this time of year to also see spring ranges.”

Another new initiative that targeted some toy retailers, was the Hobby & Craft sector in Hall 5 of the exhibition, supported by a demonstration zone. With 40 exhibitors from the UK and overseas grouped together under the Hobby & Craft banner, the new sector represented a small sector, but one that EMAP is hoping to grow next year..

Event director Roz McGuinness said: “This year’s Autumn Fair has seen an incredible range of innovative and trend-setting products on show from companies around the world.

“This in turn attracted visitors from across the breadth of the UK and Europe and as far afield as USA, Japan, Chile, The United Arab Emirates and Australia. AFI is the single most important event outside of Spring Fair in the UK home and gift calendar and we are delighted to have once again welcomed so many companies to the event.”

The next edition of Autumn Fair will take place at The NEC, Birmingham from Sunday September 2nd - Wednesday September 5th (volume hall opens one day early). For further information on this show and Spring Fair International 2012.

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