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.