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Buyers flock to markets abroad

Higher attendance the common denominator for three international shows

Redefi ningRedefi ning the chaise was a common theme throughout the European markets.
WHILE THE INTERNATIONAL CASUAL FURNITURE and Accessories Market commanded the attention of casual retailers at home, markets abroad reported increased activity from years prior.
     The spoga+gafa fair, held Sept. 4-6 in Cologne, Germany, was aptly themed "Time to Grow" as the show returned to its annual event cycle and reported a dramatic spike in attendance from the last edition in 2009.
     MAISON&OBJET, held Sept. 9-13 in Paris, also saw increased traffic, and particularly so on the international front, as the show reported robust attendance growth from its overseas, non-European visitors.
     The International Garden & Leisure Exhibition, held Sept. 19-21 in the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, UK, debuted a host of garden and leisure products, recognizing the best of the best in its annual Glee New Product Awards.

     Providing an international business platform to showcase the latest trends and newest products in the garden market, the spoga+gafa trade fair attracted 36,300 trade visitors from 106 countries, an increase of more than 40% compared to the previous event in 2009.
     A total of 1,774 suppliers from 57 countries exhibited their product ranges as the total number of products displayed at the trade fair increased by more than 50% compared to 2009. Additionally, 59% of the visitors came from abroad, while the corresponding figure for exhibitors was 81%.
     "Time to Grow - that was the appropriate motto for this outstanding trade fair," said Koelnmesse Vice President Metin Ergül. "In the first year following the strategic decision to put spoga+gafa back on the annual event cycle, the wealth of innovations and top-class presentations of many leading brands from all segments helped make it possible for the trade fair to display its high quality. The fact that highranking international decisionmakers from the full spectrum of trade channels visited spoga+gafa underscored that the fair is the leading international trade fair forum for the garden and leisure market."
     "The excellent participation figures, particularly from the new premium garden furniture segment, clearly show that we have established a strong foundation with garden unique," said Ergül.

     The MAISON&OBJET show recorded an increase in overall visitor attendance from the previous year, up 2.7% and supported by an 8.2% increase in the number of international visitors.
     While the share of French visitors fell slightly (down 1%), designers and distributors from all over the globe flocked to Paris, with a new show of strength by buyers and designers from overseas, non-European markets, led by the Americans (up 19%) and Japanese (up 16%). There was also significant growth in the number of visitors from Eastern Europe (up 56%), the Middle East (up 39%), South America (up 19%) and Asia (up 18%). Members of the European Union were also out in force, with stable visitor numbers (up 1%), despite a decrease in Italian visitors (down 10%).
     The international audience now represents 43% of the trade show's visitors, positioning the event as a key reference point in the global home fashion market. This position is confirmed by increased international media coverage and a 42% increase in accreditations issued to foreign journalists.

     The Glee New Product Awards, an annual competition that is part of the International Garden & Leisure Exhibition, saw more than 220 product entries spanning 11 categories.
     A team of independent expert judges drawn from the garden, pet and leisure industries reviewed the products, rating each entry against a range of exacting commercial, practical and environmental criteria. Considerations included innovation; design and originality; how well consumer needs are met; and any unique features or technologies setting the product apart from competitors. Entries were also judged for quality, fitness for purpose, environmental impact, value for money and a range of packaging factors.
     All of this year's Glee New Product entries from both the garden and pet sector were showcased together in a dedicated awards display area.
     Nick Davison, Glee event director, praised exhibitors for the quality of this year's innovations. "Once again the Glee New Product Awards have attracted entries of the highest quality that are a testament to the original thinking that thrives in the garden, leisure and pet care industries. Our hearty congratulations go to the winners, and our thanks to the judges for their time and expertise."

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