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‘The Silverback’ gives Footwear Today their take on this year’s Moda Footwear show, as well as the state of the shoe trade...

“ I

have just come back from The Moda Fair which I have been visiting in some form for over 45

years, and can honestly say the way things are going within the trade it could well be the last. Having spent three full days working from open to close, I came away sad, annoyed and very frustrated. All I have been hearing since the start of the year, from nearly every retailer or agent that I speak to, is how terrible trade is. Well, I am not surprised - no wonder your trade is poor if you don’t visit the shows and see what is going on! What hope have you of keeping your business fresh and inviting to the consumer? What was very noticeable was that the professional retailers, who do make the effort, seemed happy with trade. For example, the mother and daughter from Newcastle who I saw working flat out for all three days. Three folk from Manchester with two excellent shops; the big guy and his wife from Cumbria – there was a retailer from the Midlands with ten shops looking for new brands.

I felt sorry for all the suppliers and agents who

invest thousands and thousands of pounds on excellent, high-quality stands. Some stands had competitions running to entertain their customers, and nearly every stand offered hot or cold drinks. What more do they have to do to get you just to come and look? Nobody is forcing you to buy, all they want is 20 minutes of your time to show you how their brand is developing. For you, the retailer, it is a perfect opportunity to evaluate each collection and select your collection for the forth coming season.

I also have issues with all those suppliers who

don’t feel it is worth exhibiting. When I first started in the shoe industry there were five or six UK-based trade fairs, and every manufacturer supported at least four of them, showing just how great the shoe/fashion industry is.


I know every supplier will be reading this and asking, “If the retailers don’t visit what is the point exhibiting?” - and I quite agree. It is a ‘Chicken or the Egg’ situation.


Retailers. Don’t book your skiing trip for the second weekend in February. Book a hotel near the NEC now, come along to the show and make sure you visit every stand – not just the ones you already deal with. Set yourself a target of finding three new suppliers which will fit into your business. Visit any stand that takes the time to contact you before the show to see what they have to offer. Take some pride in your business.

Colourful scenes at Moda

Moda. Send everyone who registers a detailed map of where every stand is so they can plan their visit before the day. Perhaps think about changing the date so it fits in with the shoe industry.

Suppliers. Those of you who haven’t exhibited please come back and support this fantastic industry otherwise you may well regret it. Those who do support, have a full collection to exhibit and make sure you contact customers before the show to make appointments.

Team GB won just 1 gold medal at Atlanta 20

years ago. By uniting, working together and getting support from others they have won 19 so far and counting in 2016. Maybe with some effort we could do the same for the footwear industry.”

The Silverback What do you think? On the catwalk at Pure London

Email to join the discussion and share your comments and suggestions.

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