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Best of Britannia to grow online following move to biannual shows

Manufacturing showcase Best of Britannia has revealed plans to grow its transactional website by the end of the year following its move to a twice-yearly format.

BoB organiser Antony Wallis told Drapers he wants to increase the number of brands stocked at Bestofbritannia.com, which became transactional in October last year, from the current 25 to more than 100.

It comes after the fourth BoB London event – and the first to be held in the summer – took place at a new venue the Nicholls & Clarke warehouse building and courtyard in London’s Shoreditch on June 26-28.

A sister show BoB North was held for the first time at the Historic Post Office Building in Preston on May 15-17.

The 40,000 sq ft Nicholls & Clarke space allowed the number of British fashion and design exhibitors at BoB London to increase by 30% to 175. A total of about 6,000 visitors attended, with trade visitors up 10%.

The first day, Friday, was open to trade visitors only, with the general public allowed in on Saturday and Sunday June 27 and 28.

Neil Kirkby, head of sales at Drapers Footwear Award winner Joseph Cheaney & Sons, said: “This is a great two-pronged event for us because we can talk to British brands, which previously led to us doing a collaboration with Hackett, but it also puts us in front of the consumer.”

Last year’s BoB London event was held at the Farmiloe Building in London’s Clerkenwell in October.

Wallis said he may still organise an event this October to coincide with the second annual Buy British Day initiative, which was launched by the BoB team in 2014. However, this has not been confirmed.

Kirkby said: “From a retail point of view later in the year is a busier time but, if we weren’t confident we’d get return on investment, we wouldn’t be here.”

Justin Hall, chief executive of Pantherella, said: “Being a sock brand, shows closer to Christmas usually work better for us. Hopefully, with any event they do later in the year they’ll still let the public in because we always get more trade after day one. Plus it’s a good PR and marketing event.”

Tim Walker, London agent for British footwear company Norman Walsh, which was signed up to become the first third-party brand to sell in Marks & Spencer after last October’s Best of Britannia, said: “The organisers [of the show] are instrumental in joining these brands up. A lot of people come on the stands and talk the talk, but we know we can always go to them after to help make the deals happen.”

Among the retailers at this season’s event were Asos, Mr Porter and John Lewis.

@LukeToddUK

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