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Close to Season show launched by Pure  

Womenswear show creates spin-off event to reflect changing buying habits

Leading womenswear trade show Pure London will debut a specialist event to showcase in-season, short-order and so-called ‘top-up’ collections.

The show, called Pure Close to Season, will take place on October 23-24 at London Olympia. The first edition will focus on quick-response and in-stock product for autumn 11 as well as showcasing updates to spring 12 ranges to enable buyers to top up their orders.

The decision to create the event was prompted by the shift in retailer buying strategies which has seen indies, department stores and multiples moving away from the traditional forward-order model and buying top-up product closer to the season. This shift has been accelerated by the recession, which has made retailers less inclined to take big risks on trends and second-guess consumer sentiment six months ahead of the season. Short-order buying also enables retailers to react to unseasonal weather as well as late-emerging celebrity-driven trends.

Pure London, which is owned by Drapers publisher Emap, conducted a survey of 400 retailers – including more than 200 indies – which found that 44% of buyers’ budgets now goes on short-order, top-up and close-to-season product.

“It makes sense for buyers to look to buy some of their product in this way,” said Steve Newbold, managing director of Pure London. “The high street has been doing this for a decade, and doing it rather well, and that is indies’ natural competition.

“Consumers want to go into a store and see something new, and commercially brands have to think about new ranges and new drops throughout the season.

“This show is designed to complement Pure London. It is about giving buyers another option and making it easier to source close-to-season and short-order product under one roof.”

According to Pure London’s research, top-up and injection buying from existing forward-order brands has increased 27% in the past three years, in terms of the amount of money spent. Retailers are also spending 30% more on short-order product from short-order brands compared with three years ago.

Sara Eresen, co-owner of contemporary womenswear indie Harvest in Chelsea, west London, said: “It is necessary to be able to compete with the high street. If you were totally tied to forward order and nothing else, you would be a bit stuck.”

Anna Morris, partner at mainstream womenswear indie Yasmine in Bawtry, South Yorkshire, added: “[Injection buying] allows us to top up on styles and on items that have sold well for us.”

Brands have also seen changes to their collections and delivery patterns over the past three years. An average of 50% of revenue came from sales of forward-order ranges versus 56% of revenue three years ago.  

Pure London declined to disclose which brands were expected to exhibit but confirmed the show would include trend seminars and catwalks supported by Drapers and WGSN.

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