Exhibitors at Who’s Next in Paris were left disappointed after visitor numbers struggled on day two.
On the steady but quiet first day of the four-day show (Friday January 23), brands were optimistic attendance would increase on Saturday; however, the lull continued into the weekend, particularly among UK buyers.
Audrey Khew, head of sales and marketing at Orla Kiely, which is stocked by UK independents including Hus in Bristol and etailer Coggles, said footfall picked up slightly as the day went on. “This morning [Saturday] was bizarre - it was dead - but it does feel busier now.”
She noted that Orla Kiely’s stand was situated towards the back of the fair, which might have contributed to the lower footfall, adding: “We do feel like a bit of an afterthought with where we are [at the show], so we were just talking about whether we’ll return.”
Similarly, Flemming Jensen, sales director of womenswear brand Ichi, described attendance during the opening hours of day two as “terrible”, but said it improved. “We had a busy period of about two hours after the morning and now it’s not too bad.”
He also noted the lack of UK buyers, but said he would continue to exhibit because the show continued to attract retailers from Japan, South Korea and Egypt. He added: “I’m still quite pleased with our position and we want the same stand for next year.”
International sales coordinator of Brazilian brand Osklen, Alice Dauber, said Saturday was one of the quietest days she had seen since the brand began showing at Who’s Next four years ago.
“Today is definitely slower than yesterday,” she added. “Up until now we’ve seen no buyers from the UK at all.”
Attendance figures for the event are expected to be released by the show’s organisers tomorrow (January 27).