"We have decided to include the most important participant of the market at the end of the chain, which is the consumer," says Karl Heinz Müller, head of Berlin trade show Bread & Butter regarding his plans for a new concept of the event. In a letter to brands, agencies, retailers and press members Müller has just announced what the evolution of BBB will look like, a development that had started already in November by changing the concept of the website towards more consumer related content (please click here for the full story).

Müller explains his step by several factors, overall the fact that the business had changed into a "consumer driven market" with "consumers being better informed than ever before due to the new media" and "the whole market being more dependent on the positive image that consumers influence".

As a parallel development the BBB boss describes the rather difficult situation of classic brick and mortar multi-brand stores. First of all because of the worldwide success of the big chains such as H&M, Topshop and Zara with their speed and strong fashion statements, but also because of the expansion of brands' mono-label stores. After many talks with (past) exhibitors Müller even sees a tendency of brands losing interest in classic wholesale business and not showing at trade shows anymore. "But as a matter of fact only the classic multi-brand retail is able to establish and strengthen a brand or label in the market as well as retailers need successful brands to make money and enable them to dare fashion experiments."

Another phenomenon according to Müller is the high speed development of the online business with multi-brand concepts as well as the brands' own online stores that reduce brick and mortar stores and their product offer to test vehicles of consumers-who will in the end very likekly purchase online.

Apart from this market situation Müller also sees the Berlin trade show environment in a rather unsatisfying state: "Meanwhile also the textile establishment has arrived in Berlin. There is the danger that Berlin turns into any old trade show location. Hardly any event has a sharp profile. [...] A ruinous competition has started in Berlin. We all know what it means when supply overtakes demand."

Summing up, Müller sees the urge to act even though he is aware his decision might not be well-received by everyone: "Our exhibitors expect an answer from Bread & Butter to these challenges that we all have to face. We know very well that this is not an easy task to manage. We expect controversies just as back in the days when we moved from Cologne to Berlin. As a pioneer you always have to come across difficulties much more than the followers. [...] It's time for a change. But in any case I want to point out clearly that we will still focus on the interests of the independent retail business."

Details on the new concept of BBB explaining in what respect consumers will be part of the event from July 2014 on will be unveiled on December 16, 2013.