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Messe Frankfurt hosts Collectione 2007 for high-volume buyers

'Frankfurt 4 All Seasons' plans announced for 2008


Products for sale at Collectione demonstrated what the European Floral and Lifestyle Association selected as the top trends for 2008. The looks, inspired by the rural lifestyle, range from austere to over-the-top, with the natural influences showing up in materials, colors and motifs.








Collectione Preview Spring + Summer, a marketing venue for high-volume buyers of gifts, accessories and home goods, kicked off the European consumer goods trade fair cycle last month Held in Frankfurt, Germany, this event is the first opportunity for buyers to place large orders for spring and summer 2008 — and get an idea of where products are trending for next year.

"The exhibitors asked for this, an event timed around an earlier date for big buyers who require more advance production and catalog preparation time," said Ina Stoltze, Messe Frankfurt's director of marketing communications for consumer goods fairs. Messe Frankfurt, which has been an international trading destination for more than 800 years, hosts 40 trade shows a year in Frankfurt, three of which cater specifically to the home furnishings industry.

Like Ambiente and Tendence Lifestyle, Collectione is open to visitors and buyers from around the world. Collectione, however, targets high-volume buyers who come to place bulk orders for their 2008 home accessories, outdoor furniture, garden decor, gift, botanicals, textile and lighting collections. Exhibitors represent manufacturers who can satisfy the production and marketing needs of larger-scale retail channels.

"Although Collectione started out three years ago with 500 exhibitors," Stoltze said, "many didn't quite understand the concept. Today's event represents a smaller but much more specialized selection of exhibitors."

Walter Faber, chairman of Terrex Handels-AG, Hamburg, a vendor of home accessories, gifts and permaneny botanicals, referred to this year's Collectione show as a "small fair where big decisions are made."

Collectione 2007 attracted 207 exhibitors from 25 countries and 6,000 visitors from 64 countries. Forty-three percent of Collectione 2007's visitors were from outside Germany; the top five European nations represented were the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, France and Belgium. Six U.S. trading companies also sent buyers.

Nicolette Naumann, vice president of Messe Frankfurt's Collectione, Tendence and Ambiente fairs, said this year's event ended on a positive note. "An even higher degree of satisfaction among exhibitors and consistently stable numbers of visitors confirm the success of this highly specialized consumer goods show for trade buyers and its concept, which is unrivaled worldwide."

Exhibitor Ferry Mulder, general manager of Cor Mulder GmbH, a German importer/exporter of home accessories, florals and holiday decorations, was pleased with this year's fair and reported good orders.

Though it's been 50 years since Mario Jorge Oliveira Lopes' parents started his family's home decor and permanent botanicals business, Collectione 2007 was Lopes' first exhibition outside Portugal and Spain. "I've been involved in the business for 25 years and am now beginning to pursue different opportunities outside the country," he said.

Several exhibitors mentioned that the end of August and first week of September have offered a good opportunity to shop three of Europe's biggest shows that take place back-to-back: Cologne's Spoga, Maison et Objet in Paris and Frankfurt's Tendence Lifestyle.

Tendence Lifestyle is next up on Messe Frankfurt's 2007 trade show calendar, set for Aug. 24–28. Tendence draws about 3,000 exhibitors and is the earliest venue for buyers to reorder and purchase products for the second half of the current year, including the upcoming fall/winter/holiday season. Unlike Collectione, Tendence includes a high-end design component, is more indicative of the current consumer market and emphasizes immediate delivery.

What remains to be seen is how a reorganization of Messe Frankfurt's 2008 trade fair calendar will affect attendance at the German home goods consumer events. Tendence will join Collectione and two additional shows next summer as Frankfurt 4 All Seasons.

"Next year, from July 4–8, Collectione Preview Spring + Summer will take place in parallel with Tendence Autumn + Winter, The Design Annual and Taste It! gourmet event," Naumann said. "Collectively branded as 'Frankfurt 4 All Seasons,' the new trade show will cover all market segments, all sales and distribution formats, and will feature an array of designer and mainstream products for all four seasons." Frankfurt 4 All Seasons will occupy the entire exhibition grounds of Messe Frankfurt, which includes more than 2 million square feet of hall space.

Naumann believes exhibitors and buyers will benefit from Tendence Lifestyle's move from the Spoga/Maison et Objet/Tendence fall trade lineup. "Retailers must order their product ranges earlier and earlier today to be able to offer the goods in their shops at the right time," she said. "The early date at the beginning of July is ideal in this respect and also provides exhibitors with more lead time when it comes to production and delivery."

Exhibitor Walter Faber feels Messe Frankfurt's 2008 schedule change is a positive development. "The timing is better with two more weeks in which to obtain samples and hardly any vacation clashes in the south of Europe," he said. "Holding four important events at the same time will be a major occasion for the international sector."

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