Womenswear trade show Pure London failed to claw back last year’s dip in visitor numbers, as attendees expressed mixed feelings over the revised dateline.
Pure London organisers told Drapers that year-on-year attendance remained static across all three days of the show, which was pushed back a fortnight to avoid clashing with the Olympics.
Although footfall was flat on last year, 2011’s show had itself taken a hit as a result of the summer riots, with attendance down 3% on 2010. However, a spokeswoman said organisers were “really pleased” with this year’s attendance.
Head of marketing David Copeland added: “We’ve experienced two consecutive years of major events in London: in 2011 the London riots and this year the Olympics. We were able to plan well in advance for the Olympics in terms of our dateline but still, as a direct result of these events, overall visitor numbers on Pure have been static year on year.”
However, although visitor numbers stayed flat, those returning to the show for more than one day rose 16% on last year. More than 1,000 brands exhibited, a quarter for the first time, and there were two new sections: Pure Body, for lingerie and swimwear; and Pure Junior kidswear.
Key buyers at the show included Asos, New Look, Net-A-Porter and Fenwick, as well as independent boutiques. Attendees gave varied feedback, with some telling Drapers it seemed busy but saying the later schedule had affected orders.
One young fashion indie told Drapers: “Most people have already done their buying by late August, so you’ve not got any budget left by this time of year.”
Exhibitors such as womenswear brands Fount Apparel and Louche said while existing customers were generally “topping up”, the show had provided a platform for generating new business.
Fount Apparel sales and marketing executive Andrew McDowell said: “The push back in the schedule probably has affected the number of buyers and their budgets, but for us just making those relationships is the crucial thing.”
Louche sales executive Nicolette Bos said the show “should be earlier next year - it’s no good coming after all the others”.
Pure London organisers confirmed it would return to its usual dateline next year, taking place on August 4 to 6.