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UK buyers remain absent from Berlin

High travel costs and strong domestic shows were cited as the reason for a slow UK turnout by otherwise positive exhibitors on day two (January 20) of the Berlin shows.

Show and order day two

Show & Order

Day two at Show & Order

Venues of the German capital’s five big shows — Panorama, Premium, Seek, Bright and Show & Order — were full of largely domestic buyers once again, as noted by brands on day one.

UK and Irish buyers continued to be few and far between in the crowds. Many expect retailers were opting to stay at home for UK shows or visit showrooms in a bid to keep down costs.

Martin Tramper, managing director of contemporary womenswear brand Stills, which was at Premium, said: “It’s been a very busy show since day one. It’s mostly been German buyers at the show but Chinese retailers seem to be increasing the number of people they are sending to Berlin.

“There’s not been that many from the UK, although I have seen one independent. We don’t expect to see UK buyers until Scoop [January 31 - February 2].”

Georg Weckendorf, export director of Betty & Co, the womenswear brand launched by Betty Barclay last year, said: “This is our second time at Panorama. It’s extremely busy but very domestic in terms of visitors.

“I don’t understand why more UK people aren’t here, particularly from department stores. Maybe it’s because of travel costs they choose to only do the shows at home. We’ll definitely keep doing this because it’s one of the most important platforms for our brand.”

Many brands agreed they were not surprised by the largely domestic audience, adding that it is now expected for UK buyers to remain at home, while more international accounts can be found at Pitti Uomo in Florence.

Fran Lavelle, head of international sales at Lazy Oaf, showing at Seek, said: “The show has been brilliant for us. We’ve had new retailers from Israel, Switzerland and Austria on the stand. Seek is very important for us for the domestic market and new international accounts. We see our UK buyers in the UK showroom.”

At Show & Order, Mena Ryan, founder of short order womenswear brand Onjenu London, was pleased with the footfall across the three days: “The show has been steady with lots of customers coming back to the stand, but I would say that all the buyers are domestic.

“There are no buyers here from the UK, but we wouldn’t expect there to be. There are lots of shows out there but this is the only show we do and we come here to tap into the German market. Germany is a very big country and there are lots of buyers coming from the other major domestic cities beyond Berlin.”

Elsewhere at Panorama, the first day of the show was busier for mainstream menswear brand Benvenuto, according to marketing manager Sabine Leithäuser. “I think the first day was slightly busier than today as I think people might be going to the other shows, but overall so far we’ve been busy. We come to Panorama to meet a mixture of new accounts and look for distributors. We’ve mainly seen German buyers, as well as people from Austria and the Netherlands. I would say that Panorama is a very important fair for the German market, but we go to Pitti Uomo to see international buyers.”

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