Showcasing the very best in gifting and homeware, this year more than 1,300 UK and international suppliers were present at Autumn Fair, as independent retailers and buyers from UK and overseas – including Canada, Germany, France, Netherlands and Spain – looked for inspiration ahead of the next big gifting and home occasions.
With orders for Christmas a priority and retailers planning what ranges to stock in spring 2018, the season’s largest trade event presented a vast array of products from toys and gadgets through to lighting and soft furnishings. Not only that, it provided invaluable sessions designed to help retailers grow their businesses.
Highlighting the importance that the retail industry puts on Autumn Fair, over four days, buyers from Tesco, Fenwick, Wayfair, Debenhams and John Lewis paid a visit to the event, along with independents retailers like Steamer Trading, Follie Ltd, House of Cards, Inside Out and Everything Rosy Interiors.
Exhibitors reported strong visitor interaction with Ged Mace, Managing Director of The Art File, commenting: “We had our best performance at an Autumn Fair in our 20-year history. We opened new accounts including a number from overseas and spoke to a host of important buyers, which will support our next phase of business with these customers.”
The new Inside Retail Hub proved to be a popular destination throughout Autumn Fair. A series of workshops took place, with retailers able to learn about creating professional in-store displays, utilising social media channels and improving engagement with customers.
At the Trends & Inspiration Catwalk, daily fashion shows took place, presenting the latest colours, accessories and clothing lines from Autumn Fair exhibitors. Global trends forecaster WGSN also gave its first ever live presentation at the event, highlighting the trends it believes will come to the fore in spring and summer 2018.
With the inexorable rise of online shopping, bricks and mortar stores need to evolve in order to prosper. The Master The High Street Theatre – run in association with Brands of China – provided advice from some leading experts, including Jeremy Corner of Blue Eyed Sun who spoke about how to future-proof your business against the digital high street.
Spotted around the various sectors in different guises were llamas, flamingos, unicorns and mermaids – suggesting a playful and youthful direction for the latest consumer trends.
Looking ahead to next year, Louise Young, Divisional Director – Retail at Ascential, which runs Autumn Fair, commented: “This year’s Autumn Fair has seen exhibitors step up again in how they present their latest ranges. In particular, Home, Lighting and Contemporary Gift provided retailers with a feast of visual theatre in terms of styling and the many room sets now incorporated on stands.
“The show also offers retailers an imaginative range of gifts for Christmas across all price points. Taking advantage of the weak pound, retailers from the USA, Europe and more travelled to the event to view the many product ranges that are exclusive to Autumn Fair.”
Spring Fair, the sister event to Autumn Fair, will run from 4-8 February 2018, with Volume opening one day earlier. To register for the event visit www.springfair.com
Images from top to bottom: Mezu, Ged Mace of The Art File, Stone the Crows and Maskerade.