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Drapers Debate: Was Pure right to move later in the season?

With this year’s Olympics, trade show Pure has pushed its opening date back two weeks. But was this the right decision?

Ruth Faulkner

Ruth Faulkner

Ruth Faulkner –

NO: There is of course no way Pure could have stuck with its usual early August dateline, not least because all of London’s hotel rooms would have been full, making it impossible for international buyers and others from outside the capital to visit the show.

However, moving it two weeks later in the season is wrong for several reasons. Pure will now take place from August 19-21, which is just too late in the womenswear selling season.

By the time Pure comes around buyers will have had the opportunity to attend UK rivals Scoop and Moda, Pret a Porter: Who’s Next in Paris, Vision, Ciff and Gallery in Copenhagen. Several retailers will have already committed much of their budgets for spring 13, leaving them with little or nothing left to commit to brands they may see at Pure.

In particular, coming a week later than rival womenswear tradeshow Moda, which will take place at Birmingham’s NEC from August 12-14, is likely to take its toll.

Select brands have chosen to show at Moda for the very first time this season, as they think buyers will be more likely to visit a show that takes place in Birmingham rather than brave the capital.

Of course, Pure had an unenviable choice to make thanks to the Olympics. But I would expect the shift two weeks later will lead to an exceptionally quiet edition of Pure this season.


Victoria Gallagher –

YES: Most Londoners are going to find it hard enough getting to work every day without having to trek to West London for a trade show.

With an estimated 5.5 million visitors expected to hit the capital during the Games, buyers all over the country are much more likely to want to avoid London during the Olympics. Many will be actively avoiding the capital as a huge influx of tourists could bring about travel chaos with packed tubes and delayed trains. Hotel prices will also be inflated as businesses look to cash in on the increase in visitors.

As well as giving buyers the opportunity to avoid the melee of London during Games season, Pure’s later date offers time to revaluate their buys for the season ahead. By late August they will know exactly how much budget they have left for the season ahead and will be able to fill the gaps, whether it be finding further colour options, a larger choice of skirts or a few more accessories.

Added to this, we are seeing buying patterns change greatly in recent years, and trade shows need to move with the times. Buyers are increasingly working closer to season in order to make sure they are buying the hottest trends, and Pure could benefit from this new strategy. In future we could even see more trade shows moving their dates later.

Readers' comments (7)

  • Martin Ailion

    Sorry Ruth, I've got to disagree with you. Over the past ten to fifteen years we have seen the showing pattern change with Spring buying being driven ever earlier. I'm not sure retailers want to order for the following Spring when Summer is supposedly at it's height. And I, for one, can remember when showing for Spring did not start until September. I also think that many clients are quite loyal to labels they enjoy success with, so, if those labels are showing a little later, they will hold budget for them.

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  • w

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  • I totally agree with Martin . It will be refreshing to have finished the season and be in a better position to do our buying. We are often forced into making buying decisions too early and I believe most buyers will hold back budget and do most of their buying at Pure which for many years now has encapsulated the best and newest brands around.

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  • Thierry BAYLE

    I understand the difficulty to postpone the show too late in the season. The competition is a real issue.
    However I agree with the above about the loyalty some buyers will have with the brands they sell well.
    Let's review this issue with a USA viewpoint and experience: many USA buyers would place an order and not sign it. First it allows them to review the numbers in conjunction with all the other orders ( so that they can follow more strictly the Open To Buy plan and not overbuy ). It also allows them to compare the brands they have seen during the whole buying season and only confirm the orders they really want.
    I also agree, It is about buying closer to the season especially if Pure offers stock or short order brands.
    Other benefits could be brought to the buyers to offset a possible "Aug 2012" late show ( more trend info , business insight..).

    I understand that the Olympics should not take place in London in 2013! So hold on.

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  • I am looking forward to viewing Pure a little later this year. As the others have said, it has given us a better window to assess how this year has gone and make hopefully some more astute decisions for next year (bar having a crytal ball for the weather!). I don't think Moda will affect Pure, to be honest I have visited both before and won't do Moda again - just not the same vibes as Pure.

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  • Mark Ashton

    Good decision

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  • Good decision! We have already visited two other shows and in some cases the designers had insufficient time to complete their collections. As a consequence we are having to make further appointments to view the collections in their entirety.
    We are proud to have the Olympics in London and we should all get behind it, so this change of date for Pure is a one off and we look forward to a great show.

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