Strong growth at Spring Fair bodes well for British retail in 2015

Buyers from around the globe are invited to source the hottest new products from 3,000 companies across 14 market sectors at the UK’s premier retail trade exhibition

The organiser of Spring Fair, i2i Events Group, is pleased to report a ten per cent year-on-year growth in exhibitor numbers at the 2015 event, due to take place from February 1 – 5 at The NEC, Birmingham. The Gift, Home & Volume Halls 10, 11 and 12 will open one day earlier on Saturday January 31.

Such clear growth at the UK’s most important retail exhibition is a positive indicator for the trading year ahead, which also looks set to benefit from strong high street sales over the Christmas period.

Spring Fair will present the hottest new lines from 3,000 British and international suppliers, 400 of them new to the show in 2015, providing the ideal launch platform for more than 300,000 new products across 14 different market sectors:

Gift; Contemporary Gift; Greetings & Gift; Children’s Gift, Toys & Gadgets; Christmas Gift, Floral & Seasonal Decoration; Gift, Home & Volume; Home; Table & Kitchen; Fashion Jewellery, Accessories & Luggage; Body & Bath; The Summerhouse; The Party Show; Retail Shop and Jewellery & Watch Birmingham.

The strongest year-on-year growth is seen in the Gift, Home and Fashion Jewellery, Accessories & Luggage sectors (see individual sector releases for more details). The overall international exhibitor numbers are also up on Spring Fair 2014.

Highlighting the importance of Spring Fair to the retail trade, the managing director of award-winning independent retailer M&P Cards Terry Harvey, said: “Spring Fair is the most prominent trade fair on our calendar, and we usually spend 3-4 days on site. Undoubtedly it holds the most comprehensive range of cards and gifts currently available, and is the best opportunity to view new product lines for the coming year. It is also an ideal opportunity to meet with suppliers and discuss trading opportunities in depth. In my opinion, Spring Fair is vital for any serious card and gift retailer”.

Mr Harvey will join around 70,000 other retail buyers from around the UK and wider world in sourcing new ranges from Spring Fair, who are utilising the opportunity to network with business colleagues at this vital industry event.

One of the most exciting new developments for the 2015 event will be the unveiling of Spring Fair’s transformed Home sector – formerly branded Home Interiors & Furniture – which has been relocated to Hall 1. This strategic move to the front of the show reflects both the strong growth in this sector as well as the reorientation towards the upper end of the Home market, with hundreds of inspirational design-led suppliers choosing Spring Fair as their prime new product showcase for the year ahead.

Home is to welcome 11 major international companies to Spring Fair for the first time, all eager to meet top industry buyers at this unrivalled product launch platform: Chic Antique, Authentic Models BV, Light & Living, Du Bout Du Monde, Baroque International, Neuhofer Folz GmbH, Hermle Clocks GmbH, Entryways, Fuzhou Bailey Furniture, Fortun industrial Ltd and Carpert Export Promotion Council.

As Home moves to Hall 1, the rebranded Table & Kitchen area – formerly Kitchen, Dining & Housewares – will relocate to Hall 9, another strategic move that places this vital sector next to both The Summerhouse in Hall 8 and the main Gift offering in Hall 5 that can be also reached from Hall 9 via a convenient covered walkway. The new home for Table & Kitchen also puts it within easy reach of Europe’s largest volume offering in Halls 10, 11 and 12, offering more superb cross-over buying opportunities.

The move has been well received by exhibitors, who are glad of the opportunity to reach a larger proportion of Spring Fair’s huge contingent of gift retailers, alongside thousands of specialist kitchen shops, department stores and garden centre buyers.

Also new for 2015 will be the Retail Shop brand, which has evolved from the hugely successful e-commerce zones at Spring and Autumn Fair. Retail Shop will provide a full-spectrum offering dedicated to cutting-edge technology and retail sector solutions, aimed at ensuring i2i Events Group customers retain their competitive edge in a rapidly evolving global marketplace.

Retail Shop exhibitors – located in Hall 4 – will represent a multitude of products and services that are essential to successful multi-channel retailing, including in-store and online solutions, logistics and fulfillment experts, marketing platforms, payment providers and specialists in packaging.

The e-commerce seminar theatre can be found inside Retail Shop, where it will provide a series of seminars and presentations on some of the most challenging areas in online retail, given by best-in-class online retailers and other experts in the field of e-commerce.

Also located within Hall 4 will be the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) stand and seminar theatre (Stand B30). UKTI helps UK companies to develop successful export strategies, with advice, market knowledge and financial support.

Research from UKTI has found that firms that choose to export become 34% more productive in the first year, and exporters achieve 59% faster productivity growth than non-exporters. British companies who do business overseas are 11% more likely to survive than companies focused exclusively on the home market. These are statistics that customers of Spring Fair – the UK’s most important show for export business – cannot afford to ignore. A visit to the UKTI stand will provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage.

More great content can be found at the rebranded Trends Theatre located within Contemporary Gift Hall 6, the UK’s largest presentation of design-led products available under one roof. It is here that the World Global Style Network (WGSN) will provide crucial insight into key seasonal trends, whilst other industry leaders will present their ideas on some of the best opportunities in retail, from effective branding and merchandising techniques to boosting sales through specialised marketing techniques.

Located nearby in Hall 6 will be the renowned Designgap presentation of unique British artisans and other designer makers, showcasing their beautiful hand-crafted products and artwork to visitors.

Also located within Hall 6 will be the Design Lab feature area, now in its third year, which comprises a carefully-edited launch platform for 16 new and original contemporary gift designers. A second Design Lab showcase can be found within the Fashion Jewellery, Accessories & Luggage in hall 19.

Hall 19 will also be home to one of the most exciting regular features of Spring Fair, the Fashion Accessories Catwalk, where 3 daily runway shows will be punctuated by inspirational seminar content for the duration of the exhibition.

A different sort of catwalk – but no less inspiring – can be found within The Party Show at Spring Fair. Located in Hall 3, The Stage will showcase the best new fancy dress costumes and character-licensed apparel from The Party Show exhibitors, sponsored by Rubies, InCharacter Costumes, Rasta Imposta and Morphsuits. Three catwalk shows a day will be interspersed with expert balloon crafting demonstrations from industry giants Amscan and Pioneer/Qualatex.

One of Spring Fair’s two New Product Showcases will be located within the Children’s Gift, Toys & Gadgets sector – also in Hall 3 – with the second showcase positioned in Hall 9. These are in addition to the beautifully styled and sector-specific new product displays that visitors can look forward to seeing at the entrances to each of the halls.

Further new product inspiration will come from the prestigious Gift of the Year Awards, due to be held at Spring Fair’s Trends Theatre on the evening of Sunday February 1. All of the winning and highly-commended products will be on display at the Giftware Association’s Gift of the Year Showhouse, Garden and Retail Lounge in Hall 5.

Along with the Spring Fair New Product locator, visitors can also look out for signs for Creative Britain, highlighting the best of British designed products. The Licensed Product locator will point buyers to the hottest new licensed ranges, whilst the Ethical Product sign will help them to discover wonderful new eco-friendly and fairtrade items. The Body, Bath & Home Fragrance locator will help to guide Spring Fair visitors around this important gift category, located across Halls 5, 6 and 20.

Commenting as preparations for Spring Fair International 2015 intensify in the run up to Christmas, i2i Events Group Interim Portfolio Director for retail, Naomi Barton, said:

“As British and overseas retailers gear up for their most important trading occasion, preparations for the UK’s most important trade exhibition are well underway. We look forward to welcoming 3,000 of the best British and international suppliers to the show, offering our visitors the opportunity to source from hundreds of thousands of superb new products as well as gain invaluable business insights and trend information from our content theatres. The strong cent growth we’ve seen in exhibitor numbers is testament to the ongoing importance of Spring Fair to the retail industry, and also serves as a crucial industry barometer pointing to a good trading year ahead.”

For more information and to register for free visit the website: www.springfair.com

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