Spring Fair International will inspire retail buying in 2012

Visitors to Spring Fair International 2012 can look forward to a totally transformed and re-edited event that occupies three more halls than in 2011, packed with great new features and design-led product and more focused than ever before on visitor comfort and convenience.

Clearly distinct product zoning, better rest and relaxation facilities and a more enjoyable, vibrant atmosphere will be evident at The NEC during the February exhibition, the largest and most comprehensive annual retail trade event in the UK.

The fair has been redesigned to resemble a destination department store, where each product category will have a distinctive show within a show and buying is a pleasure for the thousands of retailers due to arrive at the show in 2012.

The managing director of show organiser Emap Connect Home & Gift, Louise Young, commented: “We want buyers to spend more time at Spring Fair and so we’ve pulled out all the stops to make it an unrivalled buying experience that provides a stimulating and enjoyable environment for retailers. Our aim is to make the show easier to shop, reduce queues , provide more rest and relaxation facilities and to create a better all-round ambience.”

A significant investment in interior design, will help create a far more inspirational show environment in 2012 and encourage buyers to spend longer at the event.

Three thousand exhibitors have chosen Spring Fair International as their launchpad for around 300,000 brand new products, including 500 international suppliers, 400 new exhibitors and over 1,000 companies exhibiting exclusively at Spring Fair in the coming season.

The UK’s prime product sourcing opportunity will start for pre-registered visitors in the run-up to the event, when they will be sent exclusive A/W 2012-13 trend information created by WGSN (World Global Style Network).

The three key concepts for retailers to lookout for on the show floor are Ecohedonism, Hyperculture and Radical Neutrality – all with their own unique Pantone colour palette – which will be stunningly presented using products available at Spring Fair at the WGSN-hosted Trend Bar and seminar theatre in Hall 6.

Visitor feedback consistently indicates that insight into future trends is one of their primary reasons for attending SFI, second only to new product sourcing. The demand for trend-setting new gift and homeware is reflected by significant growth in Contemporary Gift & Home and new show features that include a Contemporary Gift & Home New Product Showcase in the Hall 4 – 8 link-through – in addition to a general New Product Showcase in the Hall 5 – 9 connection.

In Hall 1 a brand new feature called Trend Box will form a special product showcase for Kitchen, Dining & Housewares, highlighting some of the most innovative and desirable new launches in this category based on the three key trends forecast by WGSN. Other new initiatives for Spring Fair International 2012:

•    New Licensing Lounge in Hall 3
•    A revamped edition of the hugely popular Little Black Book will include 90 more pages packed with products, to be mailed out to 170,000 buyers worldwide.
•    A dedicated preview of The Party Show will be mailed out to 15,000 buyers worldwide.
•    Over 100 extra ‘Here to Help’ staff dedicated to helping buyers shop the show.
•    Bus Buddies on the cark park shuttles, Circle line buses and at bus stops will help visitors get their orientation from the minute they leave the car park.
•    Extra cloak rooms have been allocated in the Toute Suite and Hall 2 suite of offices (formerly the press room), which will help reduce queues and crowds at the start and end of each day.
•    New Spring Fair app (compatible with all smart phones) will be introduced as a planning tool for buyers.
•    Larger Product Finding Points in the Piazza, Atrium and the link through areas between Halls 5 and 9 and Halls 4 and 8. These linking areas will also be Wifi hotspots where visitors can access springfair.com, and home to New Product Showcases.
•    Wide new boulevard-style aisles with seating running down the middle will keep footfall flowing smoothly and give visitors a chance to rest and recharge in the halls.
•    New catering options include: High 5 champagne bar at the back of Hall 5 (Gift and Home); Sports Bar in Hall 12 (Volume Gift & Home). Daily Breakfast Club vouchers will also enable visitors to pick up a free breakfast at Sports Cafe. Free teas and coffee will also be available in Halls 10 and 11 throughout the show. The Restaurant fine dining experience in Hall 1 (Kitchen, Dining & Housewares); £5 ‘grab-a-bag’ packs with sandwich, drink and piece of fruit or packet of crisps will be available throughout The NEC at strategic locations.
•    A new Circle Line bus stop at the back of Hall 12 will drop visitors interested in volume products.

All of this is in addition to popular established show features Cook Live!, The Jewellery Show
Catwalk, the Toy Demo Area, Fashion Accessories Catwalk and Product Trails that will include: New Product Trail, Creative Britain, Exporter Trail, Licensed Product, Ethical Product and Retail Services.

After their successful return to Spring Fair in 2011, The Gift of the Year Awards will once again take place during the show, at an event to be held on Sunday February 5 from 6.30pm in Hall 6.

A LOCOG group stand featuring licensees of official merchandise for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be located in Hall 4. This will be the last chance retailers have to view the full range of London 2012 merchandise in a trade environment.
The London 2012 licensing programme features over 50 licensees who have developed almost 10,000 products for sale in the UK. There’s something for everyone at every price point—and every retailer can and should be taking advantage of the £1 billion opportunity this once-in-a-lifetime event represents.
With growing their export business and meeting more overseas buyers high on the list of priorities for exhibitors, an expanded International Meet the Buyer programme will run on Monday and Tuesday morning during the show, located upstairs in the Gallery Suite. Emap Connect has invested in paying for 200 overseas buyers to attend the show and participate in this programme with the express purpose of facilitating the export business of Spring Fair exhibitors and overseas trading in general.
The International Group of Department Stores will once again host its annual meeting on the Monday of the show.
The Season’s Club has been moved to a larger area upstairs in the Gallery Suite, where it will form a networking hub alongside a large Exhibitor’s Lounge, Press Room and the International Meet the Buyer programme.
Last but not least, don’t forget to pick up a free apple will be handed out in the Halls 5 – 9 link through and Hall 4 – 8 link through.

Images from top to bottom: Beximon, Libra, Personalised Memento Company, Revolve, BBC Worldwide, Carte Blanche Group, Talking Tables, Pyramd International, Winged Heart.