Are you looking forward to the show? How much work has gone into the set up?
We always look forward to the show as it’s a unique opportunity for ourselves, STAG members and suppliers to spend some quality, productive and fun time together. We feel these types of events are very much under-valued generally. From February it’s a constant work load for us to arrange as we manage every aspect of the event, from supplier bookings to floor plans, to member bookings, to accommodation, to entertainment, to seminars and even as far as restaurant bookings!
How many exhibitors will there be this year? who is new to the show?
There will be 50 of our suppliers located over three halls. New suppliers to STAG exhibiting this year are Brooks, Mitre, Skins, Vibram, AMG Group, Coast, Enertor, Dexshell and Yamatune. We are also very pleased to welcome back Purelime and Polar.
Will there be any seminars this year? And if so what will they be on?
We have seminars on the vital importance of stock level management and the art of recording sales trends to maximise revenue and profit. Phil Barnard, Chairman of Crossover Technologies, will be hosting the seminars on Sunday morning and afternoon as well as Monday morning.
Do you see a change in attitude to buying shows in a digital age? Are they still important for brands to meet the retailers and vice-versa?
This market is still all about new and innovative products. Buyers have to see new ranges, whether it be in stock rooms, in store or at buying shows, this is absolutely crucial in our opinion.
Suppliers’ B2B sites are playing an ever-increasing important part in the daily lives of independent retailers with many opting for this process for their re-orders and top-ups.
How important are the networking advantages of attending the show?
Networking is so often overlooked, this is why we have everyone altogether under one roof for the business and leisure hours. We find that there is as much business done during the evenings as there is during the show opening times!
Are you seeing more specialisation from bricks-and-mortar stores?
The importance of specialist sports stores has become even more prevalent in recent years. The service, the knowledge, the brand offering and depth of range that independent businesses offer is simply not available elsewhere.
How much is the ongoing uncertainty over brexit affecting the market?
I would say that, as of yet, we haven’t seen a huge impact of Brexit with the possible exception of supplier manufacturing costs rising that will have a knock-on effect down the line.
Brexit or no Brexit people will continue to play sport, enjoy the outdoors in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. For these people specialist independents are a necessity.
What would you say are the most important things for visitors and brands to take away from this year’s show?
A positive and enthusiastic attitude for independent retail in the UK and Ireland. The media portrays so much negativity, let’s focus on our amazing independent retailers and brands.
What, as a business, will you be hoping to see in 2019?
Brands that supply technical product for the purpose of playing and taking part in sport continuing to support the UK and the ROI specialist independent sports market. This will ensure that brands’ products are worn by the people that they were designed for from inception.
The STAG UK Winter Buying Show will be held at the De Vere Cotswolds Water Park Hotel, Lake 6, South Cerney, GL7 5TL, from November 18-19, 2018. On the Sunday the show will be open from 9am-6pm and on Monday from 9am-4pm.
For more details please visit www. stagbuyinggroup.com/showsevents/ uk-stag-show-2018