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Mixed reaction to GDS dates

Despite a busier autumn 15 edition, footwear brands remain divided about Düsseldorf trade show GDS, with the new earlier dates continuing to split opinion.

Following a change to its schedule last summer, GDS now kicks off the footwear show calendar and ran this season from February 4-6. The spring 16 show will take place from July 29-31. GDS previously took place in September and March.

Graeme Jenkins, sales and marketing director for Groocock, parent company of footwear brand Padders, said although organisers have “a lot to do”, the earlier dates worked well for manufacturers.

“[GDS] isn’t perfect, but the earlier dates allow us to get orders produced on time. We don’t stand a chance of getting orders manufactured by December after a September show. The July dates might be difficult for some, but the industry is changing and retailers and brands need to adapt with it.”

Tony Evans, sales director of footwear supplier Jacobson Group, said: “The dates are a concern, but I don’t think they can win if I’m being honest. Pitti is much earlier and no one ever says it needs to be later. GDS can’t organise a show in August as none of the Europeans will turn up, so they are probably the best dates available.” 

However, Charles Clinkard, managing director of the eponymous footwear chain and UK distributor for Gabor, said the new dates were hampering footfall.

“We go to GDS because it is the best fair to attend for our core brands, but the timing is not great. I have concerns going forward that due to the high costs and lack of visitors that GDS will not remain in its new format for very long. I suspect it will become more of a regional show as the teams from the domestic and Benelux markets were very busy on the Gabor stand.”


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