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Theatres are inspiring

Trio of unique Autumn Fair venues educate, elevate and encourage retailers


THREE unique theatres will be on site at Autumn Fair starting this weekend to educate visitors, elevate their knowledge and encourage retail innovation.

With import and export skills a central driver for growth for many retailers, an all-new and dedicated Sourcing Theatre will provide a truly international picture of the retail industry, while there’s also the Inspiring Retail Theatre and the Retail Skills Theatre.
Across every day of the show, which runs from Sunday to Wednesday, September 1-4, each theatre will deliver the most up-to-date trend information, retail inspiration and practical advice to help drive sales, with standout industry speakers a key feature.
This year’s show in its new location on the Atrium side of Birmingham’s NEC will also offer a greater focus on the viewpoints of retailers, with insider perspectives from the boots-on-the-ground set to feature more heavily in the speaker line-up for 2019.
As the season's biggest marketplace for home, greetings and gift retail, Autumn Fair organisers ITE Group have re-edited the show to reflect the way the market has changed, along with what people are buying and how they shop, to revitalise the show experience and reset the stage for more new opportunities, leads and connections.
The new home and the introduction of two main boulevards are aimed at creating a seamless shopping experience that’ll encourage more crossover buying from visitors and generate more new leads for exhibitors.
Sector names have been simplified – Beauty & Wellbeing, Accents & Décor, Everyday, Fashion, Gift, Greetings, Living, Play & Tech, Retail Solutions,
and new product categories introduced Sourcing, and The Summerhouse –
and new product categories introduced with all gifting in one spectacular Gift sector to freshen up the product offering and opening up more ways to inspire and delight all, along with the trio of theatres.
Julie Driscoll, Autumn Fair MD, said: “The retail sector will continue to change at a rapid pace well into 2020. In many ways retail has been one of the last industries to have to face up to digital disruption and it’s coming at a time when the sector also faces challenges around the sustainability of its manufacturing processes and packaging.
“We may be coming accustomed to change, but with change comes new skills and expertise we have to master. This is why it’s more important than ever for retailers to listen to each other, and experts on the sector, at a forum such as Autumn Fair – drawing on shared knowledge and expertise to ensure that we have the know-how to overcome and adapt.
“This means looking beyond our own borders too. That’s why for 2019 we’re introducing the Sourcing Theatre, to help retailers move into the growing revenue source that is private label, or offer something a little different, to bring the best of the world to our doorsteps. Speakers here will be well-versed in what it takes to find the best products from further afield and expand business horizons.
“The speaker programme for 2019 across all three theatres is on track to be one of our biggest and best yet.”

The Inspiring Retail Theatre
Autumn Fair’s main stage is set to challenge visitors’ assumptions about the retail sector, how best to serve consumers and how to create a responsible and sustainable retail business.
Embracing a retail sector in transition, the theatre will give a platform to speakers who analyse the mind-set of the contemporary consumer in 2019. It will tackle the biggest challenges faced by retailers, and embolden retail buyers as they absorb trends that will define their brand’s success in the coming years.
Highlights include retail expert and broadcaster Mary Portas, and retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, plus trailblazing organisations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and IBM will also be hosted on this stage alongside influential specialists, heads of buying and retail leaders.

Sourcing Theatre
A new addition for this year, located in hall 10, the dedicated offering will help visitors to understand and visualise the most important global retail trends, with forecasts up to autumn-winter 2020/2021 being presented.
For multi buyers, the addition of the Sourcing Theatre will provide a robust overview of how best to extend their supply chain to encompass the best products international markets can offer.
Bringing the world’s expertise to the UK, the stage will allow visitors to fact-find and gather sourcing tips from an international expert pool that they might otherwise not have been able to tap in to.
Brands sharing their insight on this stage include Mamas & Papas, Kingfisher, Charlotte Tilbury, and Lush.

Retail Skills Theatre
Offering practical advice for fledgling online businesses and ambitious indies, the theatre programme has been curated to help visitors improve skillsets and provide advice on everything from SEO and social media strategy, to digital transformation and export management. The showcase is dedicated to equipping retailers with the information and skills to help their businesses grow and thrive.

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