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Thin footfall takes edge off positive Moda

Buyers were in a good mood, but there were not enough of them. That was the overall verdict on Moda, which closed yesterday (Tuesday) at the NEC in Birmingham after its three-day run.

The mainstream event, which pulled in retailers from across the UK, reflected the experience of the previous week’s events in London, Pure and Scoop, which both suffered from below-par attendance. Like Scoop, Moda is part of the ITE Group.

With 1,850 collections across its womenswear, menswear, footwear, lingerie and accessories sections, Moda saw buyers in positive, even confident mood, regarding spring 16. Their attitude was buoyed by a good start to autumn 15; several suppliers told Drapers that they had already had autumn repeats.

On the Brax womenswear stand, sales director Anne-Lydia Halewood said: “Our business is good and our stockists are positive but it has been very quiet at the show. Maybe it is indicative of a shrinking market.”

German womenswear brand Bianca added seven accounts despite the erratic flow of visitors. “Sunday was good, Monday was quiet, partly because a road accident disrupted people’s journeys, and Tuesday has been only steady. As autumn has started well, there’s a good vibe for spring 16 with our customers. I just wish more of them were here,” said sales director Karen Brookes.

Menswear agent William Heaton, showing German outerwear brand Redpoint and three other ranges in Moda Gent, said: “I have already been on the road for four weeks and the mood among independent retailers is positive; no one’s moaning. I have seen buyers here from Penzance to the north of Scotland, with the traffic split 40:40:20 over the three days.”

Irish buyers were noticeably absent due to the weak euro. “I have spent two full weeks in Ireland and the buyers are having a problem buying collections in sterling because of the exchange rate,” Heaton reported.

Belfast-based tailoring supplier Douglas & Grahame, which does a lot of business in the Republic of Ireland, is among those that has amended its euro price list. “Our stockists are approaching the season with caution but for many of them all the figures look better than they did last year,” said joint managing director Donald Finlay. “Given that we sell a lot over the border in the RoI, we have had to take a commercial view on the challenging exchange rate and amend our price list so we are adjusting our margin. Our customers in the RoI are taking comfort that we offer a euro price rather than a sterling price.”

Despite the relatively disappointing attendance, some exhibitors were more than satisfied. “This has been our best Moda for five years,” enthused Richard Reinhold, owner of women’s knitwear specialist Emreco. “There is a positive mood and we have opened about a dozen new accounts, which is what coming to a show is all about. I can’t remember a Tuesday being as busy as this one was.”

In Moda Gent, Rohan Bassi, director of value fashion supplier Duke Clothing Co, also added to his stockist list: “We are 30 years old this year and have been at all 22 editions of Moda. Although footfall is definitely down, we have seen quality buyers who have given higher orders. We have opened nine new accounts; more retailers are coming to us for our better margins.”

Next season Moda’s organiser intends to reorganise the floorplan so that the womenswear and menswear sections are adjacent, with a proposed area of unisex lifestyle brands bridging the two zones.

Readers' comments (8)

  • All shows were consistent, so where have all the buyers gone?
    is it a sign of the times. It was quality over quantity. Well done to Moda and all their team.

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  • You have to give buyers a reason to go and just buying isn't enough. What happened to all the free booze and birds?

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  • I've bought at all the UK shows this season and thought the standard of all of them was pretty good , for me a quiet show is a good show as I can get a lot more ground covered , as for lack of footfall you might want to look online these days and see how much business has been sucked out of the high street
    By that , also take a look at outlet centres and tk maxx. We have six of the latter in our small county , always busy , that's why our shows will never be as they were in the past

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  • For many, shows aren't important and the trade press hate to hear that even though they know its true. If you are clued up and know what's happening and do not need to take any new brands on, then why do you need to go?

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  • Trade shows are our industry platform, if suppliers and buyers alike can not be bothered to invest a day or two out of their schedules for the next six months of their business lives neither deserve to be in business. we must support each other, once its gone its gone, too late to cry then.
    What's needed is more professionalism and the right attitude to push on. Being clued up on trends is fine and dandy, but on the other hand staying still, stagnant is not good, support each other, taking a look at your industry twice a year is doing your job.
    Rant over..

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  • Shows are very important ,where else can you see so many Brands and no pressure to buy. There is no shortage of great suppliers but a great shortage of great retailers!
    Whoever 4.32pm is he better wake up and smell the coffee feel, very sorry for him/her with that negative attitude!

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  • darren hoggett

    What is clear at the very least is that Trade Shows aren't as important as they were. Every retailer has to look at them on an individual basis and decide whether they are for them on not for a variety of reasons.

    Shows aren't great places for doing business in our view, its more what leads from them. Jacket Required is good for a social visit, catch up and a rec. Very much a product of its times with its no nonsense, austere lay out. That's why it works (There should be a Jacket North as well btw)

    Every retailer should look at their business and the industry on a daily basis not twice a year, and you don't have to visit a Trade Show for that (though that is purely a subjective view).

    Trade shows were very much a showcase for what was going on twice a year - Usually under one roof. You kind of had to go. They certainly had their place then, but that was the past. Brands and egos got in the way so the shows became fragmented. Now technology has changed the trade and how we buy beyond recognition and the 'traditional trade show' has been left behind to some degree.

    One of our major brand partners will be trialling a system where the whole collection is bought online. No shows, no bullshit. Whether we like that way of doing things or not, that's the future. What will the need for shows be then?

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  • Pure adding menswear to the mix for next season could help to further fragment moda's business for next season ?

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