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.