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Pitti Bimbo brands optimistic despite fewer UK buyers

Exhibitors at kidswear trade show Pitti Bimbo in Florence, which opened yesterday, expect to see fewer UK buyers this season, but are optimistic about business at the event.

Exhibitors said they expected UK visitor numbers at Pitti Bimbo to be down for the autumn 09 show, with one brand expecting half as many UK buyers as last season.

But buyers from Selfridges, Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Asos and several independents, including Strawberry Fields in Glasgow, have so far all been seen at the show, which runs until Saturday.

Paula Ohrenstein, UK sales agent for Guess Kids, now part of Guess Europe and no longer operating under licence, said the brand was having a busy show, but wasn’t expecting many UK buyers.

“With the Euro being so strong, some UK buyers are probably staying away this season,” she said. “People are cautious, but there’s still a market out there, provided you offer decent prices and something special,” she said.

Tony Ridewood, UK sales agent for Cacharel, added that show organiser Pitti Immagine’s decision to push Pitti Bimbo forward into the week, rather than weekend, may have put off some UK buyers.

He added: “I wouldn’t be surprised if budgets were down this season, but business is still there and I’m quite confident,” he said. “Our prices are staying the same.”

Pitti Bimbo unveiled a new section called Apartment this season, housing contemporary and designer labels including Little Marc Jacobs, Bonnie Young and Caramel Baby & Child.

Brands exhibiting in the Apartment showed their collections in specially-designed rooms, rather than traditional show stands.

Patricia Durao, production manager at London-based Caramel Baby & Child, said: “It’s good that we moved into the Apartment because, being new, it attracts more people. We’re optimistic about how much business we’ll do – we’ve seen more new customers this season compared to the last. Our prices have gone up slightly.”

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