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26 FOOT FEB10 blackpool:Footwear_Jan10_p30 02/02/2010 13:02 Page 26
A whiff of sea air helps put the trade

w – B
l S
.18 J

me of find for SS ’10
t would seem from the first responses to the recent Blackpool
Show, staged at the Imperial Hotel in the North Shore of the
famous seaside town that we footwear types definitely do like to
be beside the seaside, even in the middle of January. Visitors
and exhibitors alike were pleased with the new format and the new
From the moment the doors of the Imperial opened on the
Saturday right through to close of play on Monday evening, there
was a very positive buzz running through the whole event with
exhibitors reporting healthy order books and retailers showing
confidence in the new ranges on show. So much so that plans are
afoot to hold it twice a year with a summer show pencilled in to
take place pre Moda.
Conrad Dempsey co-organiser and Director of Jay Bill said “We
took a calculated risk in altering the format of the show, but
everyone seems very pleased with the changes and more
importantly the results. From choosing to use a single venue and
increasing the level of promotion with a ‘pull out preview’ in
Footwear Today - planned and co-ordinated by our marketing team
- to the willingness from all exhibitors to give the idea a go, has
combined to make for a really good start to the year.” This
sentiment was widely felt; and all the exhibitors we spoke to
showing here were left in a positive frame of mind for the run up to
The event itself had a very personal feel about it, helped by the
choice of venue and the free bar. The red brick Victorian grandeur
of The Imperial Hotel made for an excellent setting and once inside
layout made it easy to find all the exhibitors. It was not the vast,
overwhelming, sea of exhibition stands you get at the bigger more
formal shows - which provide a comprehensive industry snapshot
and allow a great deal of design ground to be covered by buyers in
a short period of time, but can, as a result, feel rather impersonal -
it was instead a place where business could be done with serious
players in the industry, but in a less intense atmosphere.
Blackpool has re-established a niche within the exhibition
calendar by focussing on not just the product on sale, but also the
building of good business relationships. In addition its timing allows
exhibitors to preview ranges ahead of the main shows to gauge
likely reactions to their new designs. John Proctor from Wide fit
specialists E. Sutton & Son said: “Blackpool has been an important
experience was far more sociable and convenient than previous
date in our show calendar for quite a few years. The changes for
this season have made a positive difference to our pre Moda orders
Emma Hargreaves of LJ&R Footwear concludes: The Blackpool
and have given us great confidence that our new designs are on the
show is well and truly back! What a fantastic venue the Imperial
right track for a positive showing at Moda”.
proved to be, increasing the attendance on last year by ten fold. I
Ian Haworth of Haworth Footwear in Rossendale commented: “It
think Blackpool is definitely a show buyers must attend; it’s the first
was a very good show and was well worth attending. I’m sure that
chance to preview styles and trends for Spring/Summer. What a
when word gets around, we will have even more visitors at the
summer show.”
So, as we appear to be finally coming out the other end of this
Mr. Harman from Beta Shoes described the show as a “success”
recession, there appears to be a rising tide of optimism and
thanked all customers who spent time travelling to Blackpool: “We
confidence returning to the industry, certainly judging by the
have displayed a stunning Spring Summer 2010 range and can
feedback from this show. And, with talk of two Blackpool shows a
confidently claim that the Blackpool show was a success,” he said.
year, it looks like an event that had taken a back seat in recent years
Andrew Morris of Jacobson Group commented: “An upbeat, fresh
is on its way to the (sea) front once more.
vibe was evident at the Blackpool show, which can definitely be
attributed to the fact that all suppliers were under one roof at the
Imperial Hotel. It was also apparent that footfall was much
improved and many customers remarked that the Blackpool show


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