Millions of pounds worth of business was generated during the home, gift and fashion trade show, Autumn Fair, which was co-located at the NEC with womenswear, footwear, accessories and activewear trade event, Moda.
Retailers from across the UK, including Harrods, Anthropologie, Dunelm, Walt Disney Company, B&Q, Oliver Bonas, Fenwick, Boohoo, Blue Diamond Garden Centres, Bloom & Wild, British Garden Centres, Daylesford Organic, Fortnum & Mason, Graham & Green, Tesco, Hobbycraft, La Redoute, Lakeland, Next, Paperchase, Pets at Home, and Sainsbury’s, flocked in thousands to attend the first major retail trade show since lockdown in March 2020.
The desire to refresh stock levels, inject newness and discover new products for their stores, and experience products in person, created a “confident mood” according to organisers and many exhibiting suppliers secured record numbers and quality of orders.
The show featured four key show destinations: Home, Gift, Fashion and Design and Source. Orgasniers said overall feedback from exhibitors has centred on the amount of pent-up demand there is for face-to-face trading again.
Companies including Little Bird Told Me, Hippychick, Asmodee, Inside Out Toys, Keel Toys, My Doris, Jess & Lou, Isles & Stars, The Travelling Craft Room, Fountasia, Lesser & Pavey, Richard Lang & Son/Lang’s, Sass & Belle, Kikkerland and Lesser & Pavey, have had their busiest shows yet.
According to many other exhibitors, the shows delivered above expectations with a large number already rebooking for Spring and Autumn Fair 2022. Feedback on Spring Fair’s change of dates to a four-day show have also continued to be positive.
Julie Driscoll, managing director, Hyve Retail, Fashion & Digital Marketing, said: “As a team, we have all been completely blown away by the attendance and huge volume of orders being written during Autumn Fair and Moda, and want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been a part of the last four incredible days.
“The reaction from all our wonderful exhibitors and visitors has been overwhelming and it’s very positive and encouraging for the future of the British High Street and retailing after over a year of challenges and uncertainty. We are committed to the retail industry, developing exciting new initiatives for our next show, Spring Fair in February, with all our partners and relevant associations. Based on the last four days at Autumn Fair, I have never felt more excited and confident in the collective ability of the retail industry to bounce back and reignite. We can’t wait for Spring Fair.”
The final day of Autumn Fair’s Inspiring Retail Stage focused on its new partnership with the Retail Trust and supporting the wellbeing of people in the retail industry. With the cost of mental health absences totalling £42bn per annum and 89% of employees saying they won’t disclose a mental health issue to a manager, Spring & Autumn Fair’s partnership with the Retail Trust has been created to support its and help raise awareness of the issues.
Following his session discussing the importance of creating an industry that cares for the mental and physical health of all within it, on the Inspiring Retail Stage on 8 September, Chris Brook-Carter, CEO, Retail Trust said: “It is really great to have the shows running again for the industry. Financial and mental stress is a huge concern for retailers, and it is working in partnership with key retail events such as Spring and Autumn Fair, that we can develop initiatives that can genuinely help people, help alleviate issues, and support the wellbeing of all those in our industry.”
Visitor numbers from Autumn Fair & Moda have not been published.