Ispo attendance still strong but flat
ISPO is no longer posting jumps in attendance numbers. But the key event for sportswear in Europe already has a full house and is still reaching the 80,000 mark. And the latest edition, which took place January 26 to 29 in Munich, is no exception to the rule. The fair attracted more than 80,000 people, slightly less than the 81,000 visitors at the 2013 edition.
Two-thirds of attendees were foreigners, with large groups from Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France and Britain. Organizers also noted a rise in visitors from the U.S. and Russia.
"The hall concepts are clearly defined. For us, the show played out more than satisfactory. We noticed it is increasingly a multi-segment fair. Like in multi-brand stores, each brand is represented," said Stefan Wahlen, managing director of Patagonia Europe.
But with 2,565 exhibitors occupying all 16 exhibition halls on the Munich fair grounds, the show can only grow at the margins. "This is a very positive edition. I have the impression there are more people than a year ago. But to be honest, this time we decided not to filter who came into the booth," said Eric Pansier, vice-president of marketing for The North Face.
"ISPO is going very well. This is the fair for the big accounts and major independents," said Pierre-Jean Touchard, head of Salewa's French unit (Salewa, Dynafit, etc.). "There are more retailers who we weren't seeing anymore these past few years. They are looking for brands, also more exotic ones. There is a real desire to differentiate because retail business are super concentrated in ski resorts," he said.
That need to get noticed is all the more strong as independent retailers do not want to use price as an incentive, explained Werner Haizman, head of the European Confederation of Sports Retailers (Fedas), during a pre-trade-show conference. However, despite 2014 being a strong year for sports with events like the Olympics in Sochi among others, the mild winter weather could complicate the situation.
In 2013, retailers were not able to reach the goal of stable sales. Last year sports shops in Europe saw their business decline by 4% to 36 billion euros. The largest market Germany dropped 2% to 7.2 billion euros.
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