Who’s Next-Première Classe was satisfactory for business
The days of miracle trade shows are over. Everyone was aware before the start of the latest edition of the Who’s Next–Première Classe trade show that it was not a matter of beating the attendance record, but of maintaining a steady volume of business in a tense environment: these are tough times for France, and Paris has lost appeal internationally. After the doors closed on 5th September, rather than focus on attendance figures, it is best to seek out the positive signs emerging from the show’s four days of presentations. And despite everything, there were some.
Of course, the exhibitors' opinion was not unanimous. Across the various halls and segments, the outcomes have not been the same. The Studio and Private sections, focusing on ready-to-wear apparel, recorded for example a less steady number of visitors than others, but altogether the business volume generated during the show was apparently satisfactory. The show's first three days were very busy, with a marked peak on Sunday.
"We are rather satisfied," was the opinion at Lauren Vidal on the last day. "We will of course have to do a final calculation of the orders we collected, but frankly the trend is quite positive, both for the French market and for exports."
"It was not exceptional, but honestly the show was not too bad," was the opinion at Spanish brand Villagallo. "We managed to meet a fair number of new French clients, with possibly a slump in Asian presence, which actually seemed weaker."
This opinion was shared by the majority of exhibitors, but it was something to be expected, given the security issues causing the number of Asian visitors to the French capital to shrink. "My impression is that the international presence continues to decline, stated Carole Deleuse-Gojon at Suncoo. We have done good business with French clients, but I find that the export presence is now limited to neighbouring countries such as Italy, Spain, Belgium or Switzerland." The assessment is not at all surprising, given the shift to September dates, clearly more suitable for the French market.
A positive business climate then, marred only by a slight decrease in visitor numbers. "It was a nice surprise," stated the show's director Etienne Cochet. "There has been a decrease both in French and foreign visitors, but a limited one," he said. "Orders have been collected, some big contracts signed, the major accounts have showed up, of course fewer of them and for a shorter time, but they were definitely here. Above all, we want to inject new energy. The set up worked well, the same for the venue, what we are looking for is the mood of our show’s more positive years."
There was indeed an improvement in terms of atmosphere. The show's slightly reduced size appeared to suit the majority of visitors and exhibitors well, as they all found the venue more pleasant and also more lively.
Encouraging feed-back, allowing Etienne Cochet to declare that the direction chosen for this edition was the right one: "As far as I can see, the quality of this edition was better than that of September 2015." It remains to be seen whether the mood and business volume will still be on track in January 2017.
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