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Moda: Footfall and orders pick up as storms ease over Birmingham

Footfall picked up for the second day of Moda in Birmingham today as the stormy weather conditions eased and, while buyers remained cautious, orders were being written.

Despite the halls temporarily dropping into darkness following a power cut at noon, many of the buyers and 1,490 exhibitors said the mood felt positive and more confident.

Daniel Cook, key account manager for footwear and accessories brand Aigle, said: “We’ve had a great start this morning. I think whoever couldn’t make it yesterday because of the bad weather has made it up today.”

Jonathan Kenyon, sales agent for young fashion brand Bench, added: “It’s a million times better today. The weather deterred some buyers yesterday, but we’ve already written orders this morning. Today tends to be key accounts so we’re looking forward to more positive reaction to our new collection.”

Similarly, for Nick McGlynn, buyer for menswear brand Skopes, things had bounced back today: “Footfall was low yesterday but we’ve been very busy this morning. Monday is usually a day for the bigger accounts and we’ve had some big orders and we’re up on last year’s show.”

Robbie Nichols, wholesale manager at Crew Clothing, which only shows at Moda, said: “We have seen everyone we wanted to see in terms of our existing clients and we have seen five new people who now want to come into our showroom just from today. The people that are here are here to write orders.”

But he still sounded a note of caution: “Retailers have had a good couple of months because of the weather, but some are still nervous about forward ordering.”

And it wasn’t just the UK buyers filling the aisles. Denise Shepherd, global sales director at Panache, said: “We had a lot of international buyers this season with appointments from stores in France, Australia, Nigeria, Dubai. The mood is really positive and we are back to back with buyers today.”

The buyers Drapers spoke to supported this sense of a more buoyant mood. Helen Perkins, co-owner of Cameo Shoes in Louth, Lincolnshire, picked up new brands at Monday’s show. “Luna and Moda in Pelle were fantastic, we’ve written orders with both of them this morning for the first time. The new show layout is great, it’s very easy to navigate.”

Michael Hirst, owner of Step Outlet in Oldham who has been coming to Moda for more than 20 years, explained the reduced footfall from pre-recession editions and the new layout has made Moda easier to navigate and to find what they are looking for, while exhibitors have more time to spend with individual buyers and to explain their collections.

Cathy Villiers, owner of womenswear store Simply Pink Boutique in Armagh attended Moda for the first time this season. “We’re very pleased with the show. We normally go to Pure, but we thought we’d come over here instead this year. Today we’ve seen a lot of new brands and the atmosphere has been very welcoming.”

Charles Clinkard, buying at Moda for his 36-strong northern footwear chain, said: “Footwear buyers are feeling better because they have had a great clear-out of sandals due to the better weather. Of course they underbought for spring 14 and they will do the same for spring 15 because, while confidence is up,  the economy is not stable. The encouraging sign is that our consumers are a little bit more enthusiastic about buying again.”

But Stephanie Cowburn and Tim Bennett, owners of Somerset independent Maya Boutique, said the brands and the colours available, particularly on the menswear side, were “missing the wow factor” and were not as striking as they had expected, so they may now have to look abroad.

Kela Hoversjö, owner of jeanswear label Mish Mash, which was in Moda Gent, sounded a note of caution: “Everyone is saying that things are picking up, but buyers are still being very careful. Show them something a bit different and they might like it, but they tend to stick with the favourites. Price is still very important and they are reluctant to commit to anything that they see as expensive.”

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