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Winter Gift booms

Winter Gift booms

The South Island’s biggest annual retail event was once again a highlight for visitors and exhibitors alike. The Winter Gift Fair at the CBS Arena in Christchurch attracted more than 1700 retailers and 100 exhibiting industry suppliers.

Richard Thomson of Dunedin-based Acquisitions says the Winter Gift Fair is important to the company. “It gives us new product in the middle of the year and, more importantly, if that new product works well for us there is time to do something about a decent re-order for Christmas volume. Because we buy across a wide range of product the fair is a size where we can do the job properly and that gives it an advantage over the larger Auckland Fairs for us.

“The New Zealand Gift Fairs are a fantastic way to see a great deal in a short time and to put stories together. Retailers should make an effort to visit the Winter Gift Fair, especially in support of it and Christchurch, as both have suffered since the quakes. Not only is there business value in attending, but you’re helping support the entire industry.”

Palmerston North retailer Trisha Cameron, of Streets Ahead, has been to every Fair for 19 years.

“With a store of around 5,000sq ft and fast turnover we require a huge volume of stock and are always looking for new product. The Fairs allow us to seek out new and varied items in the one location, saving a huge amount of time. It saves me time by viewing many suppliers in one place. The Fairs have also allowed me to establish lasting relationships – and friendships – with my suppliers which has proven beneficial over the years.

“It’s important to actually see products rather than photographs of them and the Fairs allow us to do that. I want to see what our customers will see and it allows me the time to assess how the stock will be displayed in store and how different suppliers’ products will work together. The Fairs are a key element of my business, allowing me to source new product ranges as well as placing orders for existing stock in an efficient and timely manner.

“If you’re not at the Fairs you’re not serious about offering the best and latest products to your customers,” says Trisha.

Retail Manager for one of New Zealand’s icons and an attraction in itself, Colin McFetridge of Wellington’s Te Papa, says it’s always worthwhile making the time to visit the Winter Gift Fair. “Meeting with established store suppliers to see any new product, and/or suppliers that may add value to our merchandise range is valuable. Having many suppliers available at the same venue, the Gift Fair provides us with the opportunity to best use our time and work efficiently across a wide range of product.

“My advice is to visit a Gift Fair. Putting the time in to strengthening good working supplier relationships will grow revenues by focusing on product, margins and new opportunities.”

Gift Fair organiser XPO Exhibitions is delighted with the feedback on the Winter Gift Fair. “The NZ Gift & Homeware Fair has been running successfully in Christchurch for 30 years and continues to be a critical event for both exhibitors and retailers to showcase and view new season products sourced from the recently visited European, Asian and domestic markets. It’s a show that we remain 100% committed to and will continue to work hard to build and develop in order to deliver both exhibitors and visitors a valued experience,” says XPO Director Brent Spillane.

“Our audited survey proves that this is a vital heartbeat in the industry’s lifeblood, with both retailers and exhibitors from all New Zealand attending. The retail buyers there have a combined estimated purchasing power of more than $60 million dollars, with product interests that span the categories from baby products to duty free.

“Most visitors went to find new suppliers and new products, and would not have been disappointed, as evidenced by almost half placing orders during the Fair and many more ordering afterwards but as a direct result of what they saw and experienced.

“Winter Gift Fair 2013 was a resounding success,” says Brent, “and the team working on it are to be congratulated. We’re already busy working on making 2014’s even bigger and better.”


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