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Sluggish Pure wilts in the heat

Quality rather than quantity was the story of buyer attendance today (Monday), the second day of Pure London at Olympia.

Some exhibitors thought visitor turnout was as much as 20% down year-on-year on Sunday - and Monday, another warm, sunny day in London, did not see a significant improvement.

“This show has been brilliantly put together, it looks fresh and modern, and there are excellent brands, but there just aren’t enough people,” said Harry Rogers, owner of Nougat, an exhibitor in the Aspire section of the Grand Hall. “It costs a lot of money to exhibit and we’d like more support from retailers. Is it because Pure clashes with Copenhagen [the Danish shows started on Sunday too], is it the nice weather, or is it just the wrong time of year? August is a holiday time. Maybe the show should move to the middle or end of August, or even into September.”

In the newly-arranged footwear section in the National Hall, John Linnit on the Birkenstock stand suggested continued tough trading had deterred some independents: “As usual, we had an extremely good day on Sunday. Monday morning has been fine, but there is no buzz about this show. The independent shops we deal with, in general, had a good January, February and March. April and May fell off a cliff, and June and July have been okay because of the better weather, but it’s still tough out there for many.”

Elsewhere in the footwear area, Neil Bennett, sales manager for Geox, was more upbeat: “There have been good quality buyers here. There is a mood of quiet optimism among those who have weathered the storm of recession and come through it with much leaner operations. The closing of so many businesses has encouraged a lot of start-ups. They have only known the recession, so they run very leanly. We have reduced our minimum packs on some fashion lines to serve their needs.”  

On the Vilagallo stand in the directional Agenda area, Shaun Sellings of leading agency Palladio Associates was happy with the turnout at the halfway mark of the three-day show. “Scoop (three weeks before Pure) was amazing for us and we have been seeing good people here, although some of the Irish seem to be missing because it’s a Bank Holiday in Ireland today. We have noticed that a lot of well-known mainstream boutiques are coming to us at Pure to buy brands like our Dutch leather line Rino & Pelle because they are trying to attract a younger customer.”

Summing up the attitude of many independent buyers, one of Palladio’s customers, Josie Smith of the unisex boutique Leaf in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, told Drapers she was at Pure looking for “clothes with a purpose”, which represented good value for money. “There is definitely a north-south divide when it comes to spending money. There is money around in the north-east, but people need a reason to add something to their wardrobe. It has to have a purpose. As a buyer I am looking for things that are good products, unique and are not being sold online.”

Pure London, which this season has about 800 collections on show, finishes tomorrow, Tuesday August 5. It is organised by i2i Events Group, which, like Drapers, is part of Top Right Group.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Woodie and Morris

    Interesting comments. We were at the show yesterday and thought it was a distinct improvement on previous years with a vastly better layout and some really nice new brands. The show is commercial and offers variety for buyers looking for brands with differing levels of RRP? It's essential, even in a tough retail climate, to get out and about and visit as many shows as you can if only to get a flavour of what's available.

    We thought it was quieter yesterday but from a buying point of view that's a bonus

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  • A number of factors come into play here, but generally speaking there are too many shows and they show far too early. In short, they are not giving with retailers (and therefore consumers) what then want.

    Somebody has to bang some heads together as the current system does not work.

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  • We entered fashion retail 2 years ago by going to PURE, we couldn't have started without PURE so look forward to visiting and usually spend 2 days there having a good look. We stayed 3 hours this time. Something is missing and we don't know what.
    The show seems far smaller than before, an entire section at the north end missing on the top and bottom floor.
    We find it very confusing whether this is a AW14 or SS15 show, it seemed a lot of exhibitors were showing for AW. We

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  • Testament to 3 years of very tough trading , and
    Websites discounting from early May

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  • When will exhibition organisers think. July and August is when we are all taking in new autumn stock and for the higher end market when we sell our big items for winter. We have to let staff take their holidays during school holidays. For smaller retailers and even ourselves a medium size store with a staff of 12 it's all about juggerling.
    We are much more receptive when we have had good deliveries and know how certain labels are working for us.
    Many of the exhibitions have not be so well attended tis season even on the continent, perhaps it's time for wholesales too take stock; by all means show early pre-collections but show main season later.
    I bought in Paris in September last year about 20% of my buy and we still had it delivered in February when we needed fresh summer pieces after the deluge of pre collections and we had a 89% sell through on these items pre sale.
    We have been in the trade for over 50 years and were the early buyers of per collections where we still spend 50% of our budget. The exhibitions are too late for pre collection but too early for the next buy.

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  • Two options for MODA going forward, though staying exclusively at the NEC is not one of them:

    1. Do MODA north at NEC and MODA South in London.

    2. Drop NEC completely for a London Venue - Preferable in my eyes.

    I've spoken to brands who have exhibited at MODA today, who haven't been complimentary about it. The footfall just isn't there and that is the big problem.

    People running MODA keep hyping it up, but they are simply in denial - MODA in Birmingham is unsustainable.

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