Around 14,500 people visited Glee, down from 25,000 in 2005. But Thurlow said the industry still supported one big show rather than the several niche events such as Solex, Aqua, PATS and the National Plant Show, which are eroding Glee's audience.
Daniel Thurlow said: "This year has confirmed there is still an overwhelming want and need for Glee. We've heard from many exhibitors and visitors that having a single, all-encompassing September show is without doubt the preferred option for the industry."
He added: "The feedback has been excellent; indeed, the smaller footprint of the show has had a positive impact — aisles were packed and buzzing with people doing business. In fact, many exhibitors have told us that they did more business at Glee than at any other trade show in the past three years. Visitors commented that they felt less rushed, allowing them to spend quality time on stands.
"Visitor numbers were a little lower than last year, but maybe that's no surprise as it was a smaller show, there has been consolidation in the market and the trading climate has been tough. Glee is clearly still the most important show for the garden, leisure and pet industries and continues to attract the most senior buying teams."
Barry Page, chief executive of Garden Retail Awards sponsor Town & Country said: "We've had the best show we've ever had. We've taken orders right across the range and are way ahead on last year. We've seen every major buyer and, in particular, have achieved a lot of organic customer growth. We were still selling on the Tuesday at 3pm. We're enthusiastic and we're confident. It's been a revelation."
Boyd Douglas-Davies, managing director of Webbs Garden Centres and speaker at the Garden Retail top 100 garden centres event at Glee, said: "I'm a firm advocate of one show, one industry. September is the time and Glee is the show. It doesn't make sense for suppliers or buyers to make the time and effort to go to multiple shows"
Glee 2010 will run Monday 20 Septemberto Wednesday 22 September 2010. A raft of benefits and support for new and loyal exhibitors was also announced, including a value-driven pricing structure, turnkey stand packages and increased marketing support.
Retailers who attended Glee 2009 included Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Debenhams, Heals, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, TK Maxx, Focus DIY, Home Retail Group, Lakeland, Wickes, Wilkinson, Argos, BHS, Makro, B&Q, Decco, Homebase and Countrywide Stores. Garden centres and groups that visited included Notcutts, Dobbies, Garden Centre Group (Wyevale), Webbs of Wychbold, Bents, Hillier, Squire's, Haskins, Frosts, Scotsdales, Garden & Leisure, Klondyke/Strikes and Blue Diamond Group. Online retailers included Amazon.co.uk, Crocus and The Online Gardener.
In the builders merchant sector, attendees included Jewson, Travis Perkins, Wolseley, Buildbase, Stax and Ridgeons. Meanwhile, pet retail visitors to Glee Petindex included Pampurred Pets, Pets at Home, Acorn Pet Centres, Pets Corner, Maidenhead Aquatics and World of Water.
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