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Footfall up at Bread & Butter but trends are stale for some   

Visitor numbers at Bread & Butter rose for its autumn 12 edition, as international and UK buyers sought out fresh brands despite some noting a lack of new trends.

The show organisers reported a 3.5% rise in visitors compared with the January 2011 edition, with visitor numbers from the UK and Republic of Ireland “high and stable”.

Charlie Henery, international sales manager at womenswear brand Motel Rocks, said he noted a strong presence from Germany, France, Spain and Greece.

Mark Ashton, managing director of Concept Fashion Agency, said womenswear brand Ichi, which it represents, saw a 74% increase in footfall to its stand, with buyers from Littlewoods, Asos, House of Fraser, USC and John Lewis.

However, some buyers told Drapers they were worried by the lack of newness among the ranges.

Darren Conway, buying director at southeast mini-chain Choice, said the collections looked similar to past seasons as brands played it safe: “A lot of people didn’t have the right look at the right price.”

Many buyers are looking for lower prices and better margins, he added, citing young fashion brand Superdry as a label giving buyers lower prices but not compromising on quality – a tactic he felt others should adopt.

Mark Bage, co-owner of York premium indie Sarah Coggles, said he had decided to visit for the first time in five seasons but that the show wasn’t directional enough for him.

He said: “Premium indies tend to do better when they specialise, and the bigger the show the less specialised it tends to be. We focus on hard-to-find, high-end, directional brands and that isn’t what B&B is about.”

David Weeks, buying director at Scottish mini-chain Xile, was impressed by the fabric combinations and outerwear at Prps and Barbour and picked up new short-order menswear brand Friend or Faux and menswear brand Anerkjendt at the show.

“High margins were exactly what I was looking for and that’s what I found,” he said.

Mark Hickling, sales agent at agency Marc Alexander, showcased brands including Circle of Gentlemen at both B&B and Premium in Berlin. “It’s still expensive [to exhibit], but it’s not as expensive as Pitti, so hopefully the window will open up,” he said.

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