As editor of Footwear Today, I attend various footwear trade shows each season, including the London Shoe Show, held twice a year at the Copthorne Tara Hotel, in London’s Kensington. The latest March event was one of the busiest. Indeed, in my view, it was among the best attended UK footwear trade shows that I visited last season.

The venue had a great buzz about it – something I haven’t heard in a long while – clearly business was being done!  I met up with several independent footwear retailers at the event who were looking to top up their winter offer. The isles were busy and many of the agents on the stands were writing orders.

Footwear agent, Justin Morgan, organiser of the  London Shoe Show, held on 3rd and 4th March at the Tara Hotel,  in Kensington, commented: “The March LSS was undoubtedly the most successful we have had in many years. The exhibition, as always, was full from an exhibitor perspective.”

“Sunday was its normal slow start, but the rest of the day was full on with a record attendance, and orders written.  Monday replicated this, but the feeling was our visitors used the ground floor on day 1 and upstairs on day 2- it really illustrates how the event is used properly as a buying opportunity and not yet another opportunity to view collections without buying.

“The consensus is that there are now too many buying opportunities in the season, in addition to brand showrooms, regional stock rooms and even still the occasional shop call.  For the professionalism and efficiency of the industry this needs to be honed; and the LSS is now firmly established on the map as an essential part of the buying cycle.”

The London Shoe Show is a must-attend for anyone in the shoe business. It has some of Europe’s finest footwear collections, displayed over two floors, on-site car parking and the comfortable surroundings of a luxury hotel, complete with free refreshments throughout the day.

Footwear retailers, buyers and merchandisers from the footwear and fashion industry are welcome to attend, registration is not required. The Show is open between 9.30 am and 6.00 pm on the Sunday and Monday.  The next edition of the London Shoe Show will take place on 22nd and 23rd September 2019.

 What the exhibitor’s had to say:

“The London Shoe Show was well attended again and we saw a steady flow of retailers old and new. Conversations were mainly all about rents not falling , tough trading, shop closures, Brexit,  the pound , impending customs and excise duties, the new topography of the retail high street, shoe and retail evolution. We seem to have become more like business advisors, less as brand managers! Putting ‘all that small talk’ aside, the new Caprice collection has been, thankfully, well received again. It is all about profit margins! It’s about retail price points, not just a great collection. As a result of this, we have been most fortunate to have won some good accounts this season. Retailers who desperately seek brands that are easy to deal with, shoes that fit comfortably and brands operating a strict policy of not selling directly to the public. Also, out of office contactable with trouble shooting and general assistance.  The future of retail may be questionable but it’s really all about the present tense in getting retail better and thinking out of the shoe box.” Stephen Joseph, Footwear Agent, Caprice.

 “We had a good 2 days at the show, we opened a few new accounts in addition to seeing a regular cliental. The show had a positive buzz, both CARA & Yull AW19 collections were received well.” Caroline Sheppard, footwear agent.

“From coming from the Milan Show, that was a little somber, we found that London had a better mood. We had a number of new enquiries and a few really good new customers took the Brenda Zaro brand for the first time. It is showing the independant is looking for something special and that they can get a good margin which Brenda Zaro offers.  Chris Dagless, footwear agent.

Overall, we were happy with the show. All stands seemed busy, especially on the 2nd day – Monday. The new AW19 collection from Evaluna resonated really well with our clients.  Our regulars told us they sold the collection well last winter and were happy to place further orders.”

 This was Pikolinos second showing at the London Shoe event and although buyer’s were cautious ahead of the season they turned out to support the exhibition which was encouraging. Pikolinos current styling allows us to expose our collection within the LSS arena and therefore attract a different distribution channel. We will be returning back to the show in September.”  Russell Galliven, Footwear agent.