Don't expect too much at the Gift Fair

Yesterday I went to look at the Gift fair in Jeff's shed. As always, it is huge with an extensive range of goods.

Over many years, I have come to know many stall holders as they are active in newsagencies. They reported that fewer regular newsagents were coming then last year and they were ordering little. The new ones, one said to me in frustration were sightseers not buyers! I think they did it to themselves, as the minimum orders are higher this year than last year. Most stalls are now asking for an opening order COD of about $300 although some are asking for a $1,000. As retail margins are about 50%, if you buy at three or four stalls a buyer would now have almost $4,000 retail of gifts to sell. Which is a lot for giftware to sell, if you are starting out particularly as it is takes a lot of room in the shop.

Other than that it is the same trends, I reported last year.

There was even less this year than last year of new and innovative products.

Most of my clients have quality shops so they want quality branded items. Almost all the items offered at the show is cheap and looked low quality with no brand. It is the stuff that does well in a high class $2 shop.

Also surprisingly, although Christmas is coming up, little was there for it and what was there was not that good.

Yet there were some interesting products if you looked that would go well in newsagencies. For example in one stall had a great range of papers and photo albums from India and several had interesting and expensive looking dinner napkins and tissues.

However what was immediately obvious was the high standard of computers and equipment used in many stalls. Almost every stall, had a laptop computer. They were using them too as you could see from discussions with their clients who were asking detailed questions on previous orders. Also the salesmen were often walking about with sophisticated PDAs, remotely linked to these laptops. Newsagency supplier's at fairs should learn from this!