New features for smaller Glee

Glee downsizes to two halls but more advance exhibitor bookings fuel hopes for increased footfall.

Glee visitor numbers fell in 2011 - image: HW
Glee visitor numbers fell in 2011 - image: HW

Tours led by industry consultants offering advice on best buys and merchandising ideas will feature at this September's Glee show, which will occupy just two halls at Birmingham's NEC.

Glee confirmed that this year's event, which will take place from 17-19 September, has dropped in size from last year's three halls.

But event director Nick Davison said that, with bookings up compared to the same stage last year, the show "had the capacity to be bigger" and could potentially have more exhibitors.

The decision to introduce guided tours was made in response to feedback from smaller retailers. "The tours will offer a unique opportunity for smaller retailers to gather advice from experienced industry consultants on what to look for, how to walk the show and also top tips on finding the next big thing," Davison said.

The show, which has launched new branding, will again run its Planteria to give attendees the opportunity to meet growers and see their latest plants on displays.

This year will also feature a Trend Tunnel, with case studies and product displays providing tips on design and merchandising techniques.

Although Glee visitor numbers fell to 11,148 in September 2011 from 13,050 in 2010, Davison said the show would be able to accommodate an increase in footfall this year even though it would be spread over fewer halls.

Dennis Espley, chairman of Squires Garden Centres said it was a surprise that Glee was being scaled down to two halls because it is a very useful event.

"You get to see goods and package in the flesh and are able to compare products there and then," he said.

Industry view

"Even in just two halls, it would be difficult to do all I need to do at Glee in one day.

"As long as there's a good cross-section of manufacturers and retailers, it's important for independent operators - the big multiples have usually decided ahead of Glee. Also, retailers meet there who may not otherwise meet."

Peter Seabrook, gardening writer.

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