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GDS holds steady despite fall in visitors

Exhibitors at German footwear fair GDS reported a steady show despite a fall in visitor numbers.

A total of 28,500 buyers from 82 countries visited GDS and sourcing show Global Shoes in Dusseldorf between September 11 and 13.

The figure compares with 31,000 visitors to the March edition of the show, and 32,800 at the comparative September show last year.

According to the show’s organisers, GDS attendance continued to be affected by the global downturn as retailers cut back on budgets and sent smaller teams to the show.

“We are very satisfied with the way GDS and Global Shoes went,” said GDS director Kirstin Deutelmoser. “Both events presented themselves as reliable fixtures in unsettled times.”

The mood among exhibitors at the show was mixed with many saying that visitor numbers were down, but the show had been better than expected.

“GDS was significantly quieter than I had anticipated,” said the sale manager of one comfort brand. “The usual customers who support the show and who had pre-arranged appointments attended, but there was little or no new business.”

Richard Kottler, chief executive of the British Footwear Association, said that although the show felt slow it was not as poorly attended as many expected. He added: “It was a super show from a navigation point of view but they aren’t pulling enough punters at the moment.”

For a full report on what the key comfort and lifestyle footwear brands are doing for Spring 10 see this week’s Drapers magazine.

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