Visitor numbers at Bread & Butter fell for the first time in the show’s history during last week’s edition in Barcelona, but UK attendance was up against the previous year.
Overall visitors dropped by 2.5% to 89,168, reflecting the difficult trading climate. However, UK visitors rose by 12.8% to 7,516, with independents and multiples determined to scope out new brands and trends to boost sales next spring. The overall drop-off was because of fewer visitors from Spain, Germany and Italy.
Drapers spotted a solid contingent of UK independents at the show. Carl Peddie, joint owner of Diffusion in Wolverhampton, said: “We’ve not had a bad season, but most of our money has come from Diesel, G-Star, and Lyle & Scott. So we came to B&B to plant seeds for next year’s winning brands.”
Ian Webster, sales director at footwear brand Rocket Dog, said he had been pleased with attendance and that in addition to the usual indie suspects and multiple buyers, he had seen about 10 UK independents at the show for the first time.
Daniel Morris, managing director of Boxfresh, said: “I was impressed with the number of UK people, especially because of the analysts’ reports of doom and gloom. There were lots of independents and the show was as busy as it’s ever been.”
Show organiser Karl-Heinz Müller is to cull almost 100 exhibitors for the January edition to focus on brands with a strong international presence and to give significant brands more floor space within the halls. The Barcelona show will have 800 exhibitors in January against 892 this season, which was already a reduction from the 954 exhibitors in January 2007.
Müller denied the brand cull was a reaction to the economic crisis. He also insisted this had no impact on attendance.
l Ten Barcelona, a new showroom-based premium branded event that debuted alongside Bread & Butter, said it had recorded attendance in line with expectations. Bloomingdale’s, Topman, Asos and indie mini chains Aspecto and Xile were among the visitors.
BMB Group sales director Kevin Stone, who showed Baracuta at the event, said: “It’s about quality. We’ve written orders and opened accounts in Paris and the US.”