Trends & Features

SPORT & STYLE review

The ispo Group has admitted it still has some way to go in its plans for ispo SPORT & STYLE.

Around 17,500 visitors attended the event, which featured 821 exhibitors from 35 countries and a heavy emphasis on ‘sport-style’. If it was innovation you were looking for, you wouldn’t have been disappointed. The ‘Brand New’ area of the show was truly inspiring and featured some excellent and thought-provoking innovations.

However, according to the final report of the show almost all exhibitors welcomed the new concept, but consider some improvements necessary, especially with respect to the arrangement of product groups and the trade fair categories.

Opinion was unanimous that a SPORT & STYLE trade fair is indispensable for the industry, but traditional sports retailers are still not fully at ease with the new concept and would like a greater range of hardware on show.

Says Tobias Grober, manager of the ispo Group: “We have mastered an important next step with the first ispo SPORT & STYLE. I think we have reached 65 per cent, next year we want to be at 85 per cent and then take 100 per cent advantage of the great potential which the concept of ispo SPORT & STYLE has.

“To achieve this, we are going to continue to work closely with the market and integrate constructive suggestions in our concept.”

Manfred Wutzlhofer, CEO of Messe Munchen GmbH, the show’s organiser, was both as honest and positive as Grober: “The response to the trade fair has strengthened our resolve to take a new path in the area of lifestyle with ispo SPORT & STYLE.

“ispo SPORT & STYLE is the only trade fair that provides an appropriate professional platform for this. In close collaboration with the industry and our partners, we have to work further on refining the trade fair profile. We have planned the next two years to accomplish this. We are very pleased that we are getting encouragement and support from all sides in this endeavour.”

For the second time since forming their new partnership, STAG (pictured) attended ispo with a group of its retail members. The buying group hosted a UK retail lounge at the event, which attracted considerable interest both from the media and brands wanting to find out more about the UK market.

Feedback from STAG was that the show was “a vital part of the evolving sports market” and “an inspirational addition to any sports buying initiative.”

Says managing director, Ward Robertson: “We feel that ispo has achieved its goal to present an inspirational show, fusing fashion and style with traditional sport. For the UK trade, it is an essential platform for progressive retail thinking. There are ideas to create value, turnover and profit for every business in this industry.”

“As a traditional sports retailer, I found the show both interesting and relevant,” says Tom Phillips, director of ToP Sports and a STAG member. I have seen a number of products from our current suppliers that are not presently available in the UK and I will be discussing the possibility of these being made available when I return.”

Another STAG member, Mark Blackburn, managing director of Frontier, said: “I have not visited ispo for 10 years and the new show reflects the concepts and sports desirability behind aspirational product design. ispo today is open to interpretation, a source of creative inspirational for any retailer.”

ispo will be present at this November’s STAG Buying Show. A retail tour will follow the event, with members of the ispo team visiting a range of retail outlets and brands.

ispo winter 08 takes place at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre on January 27-30.

Picture: copyright

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