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Record attendance at Pure London as optimism reigns

Pure London notched up record visitor numbers on its first day and saw a 23% year-on-year increase in people attending the three-day trade show.

The womenswear show, which took place at London’s Olympia on February 14-16, was the biggest ever with 951 brands exhibiting, including more than 300 brands that were new to the exhibition. It also saw the debut of spin-off event Label, a men’s and women’s branded young fashion show.

Exhibitors told Drapers that they were encouraged for autumn 10 after buyers’ general optimism was reflected in an increase in orders placed.

David Lea, head of sales for young fashion brand Fullcircle, said: “We have taken £50,000 of forward orders and have 15 additional leads. After being absent from Pure for two years we have been pleasantly surprised by how well attended it has been. There are a lot of the right accounts for us by people like Asos, House of Fraser and indie Trapeze in Cheltenham.”

Rachel Johnson, label manager at mainstream womenswear brand Jackpot, shared Lea’s sentiment. She said: “We have picked up new business - about 20 new accounts - and have had a really good show.”

However, Stephen Toff, managing director of contemporary womens-wear brand Nougat, was disappointed with visitor numbers. He said: “Trade shows generally fall short of what they used to be in terms of generating business, but saying that, if we don’t show it is difficult to gauge the business lost.”

Buyers also agreed the overall mood at Pure London was positive.

Annette Woolliams, owner of two-store indie Yasmine in South Yorkshire, said her budget was slightly down on last season. “I am being cautious but I am still here looking for new brands,” she said.

Suresh Sharma, owner of women’s occasionwear store Kodo, in Harlow, Essex, said she had increased her budget.

Indies including American Pie and Choice in London, Richmond Classics in Bournemouth and Sunday Best in Rawtenstall in Lancashire were all present. Department stores in attendance included Bentalls, Debenhams, Fenwick, Harrods and Spanish retailer El Corte Inglés.

Pure London said 15% of visitors were from overseas.

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