Mainstream and comfort footwear suppliers enjoyed an upbeat start to the Moda Footwear show in Birmingham.
Despite fears of a poor turnout following prickly autumn trading, independent and multiple buyers turned out in force.
"Footfall was definitely up on the past two seasons," said Camel Active area sales manager Max Walters. "It's encouraging to see so many of our existing customers, and there have been plenty of new ones too."
Ewan Campbell, managing director of comfort brands Rieker, Dorndorf and Remonte, agreed. "It's been manic," he said. "Yesterday was very strong, with lots of multiple and indie buyers."
Several exhibitors had extended their in-season offer, with many reporting that buyers were spending on spring 07 merchandise. Emma Bailey, agent for contemporary women's footwear brand Via Uno, said: "Forward orders are tough, and our spring pieces seem to be of more interest here. A lot of retailers still have autumn stock, so there's a nervous mood."
David Brown, owner of Footloose in Sheffield, was one such buyer, claiming that a tough autumn had forced him to increase his in-season budget. He said: "Boots were difficult last autumn, and the season overall was not as dynamic as expected. As a result I've hung on to a lot of budget to work closer to the trends this spring. This has been our first year as a footwear retailer and I didn't expect it to be so tough."
The next edition of Moda Footwear is on August 12-14 at Birmingham NEC.