DIY exhibition visitor numbers fall but organisers remain positive about event

Fewer than 2,500 visitors braved the elements last week to attend the DIY & Garden Show and Totally Tools at Earls Court 2, London, but organisers remain upbeat.

Visitor numbers were down on 2007 but organiser Brintex reported that a record number of key buyers made it to the event.

Exhibition director James Murray said: "We are not disappointed. We've pulled in a high-quality audience and good business has been done and will be done following the show. Exhibitions continue to be a time-efficient way to generate leads - visitors this year included buyers from across the industry including hardware independents, major multiples and major grocery stores."

Exhibitors were featured on ITV's This Morning with presenter David Domoney, including new product the "Waspinator" - a canvas bag patterned in dark grey and light grey markings to mimic a wasps' nest and repel real wasps.

The New Product Zone featured 160 products from 72 companies. In the awards, sponsored by Faversham House, ASPi's bird-table camera won Best New Garden Product. The miniature weatherproof colour camera can be mounted on a bird table, providing close up images to the monitor or TV.

An environmentally friendly line of garden furniture treatments, Blackfriars' Equilibrium Range was voted Best New Decorating Product. The treatments are made with natural oils to protect wood.

Tool Connection's Laser 12V Pressure Washer won gold for Best New Power Tool, while Faithfull Tools' Fence Post Shaper received gold for Best New Hand Tool.

The Garden Industry Manufacturers' Association used the show to launch its bespoke insurance plan, Allsolutions, from Rixon Matthews & Appleyard.

The HTA was promoting its electronic trading tool, Horticultural Electronic Business Exchange. The program aims to make trade between garden centres and suppliers easier by reducing the time and cost of ordering and invoicing.

Murray said: "We have a great-looking show and Brintex has bought into this sector for the long term. This is the only UK show that offers direct access to hardware retailers and we will deliver quality buyers for our exhibitors."

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