Düsseldorf shoe fairs GDS and Global Shoes ended with a positive result. Approximately 24,500 trade visitors attended the trade fair to view the newest trends for the 2011/12 f/w season. In total, 1,220 exhibitors from 40 countries presented the latest shoe and bag styles.

“82% of visitors are satisfied with the new sequence of days thereby subscribing to our new concept,” said Kirstin Deutelmoser, Director of GDS and Global Shoes. The shoe fair was held for the first time from Wednesday to Friday (March 16-18). Deutelmoser explains: „More decision makers than in the past have attended the trade fairs. Furthermore, I have received very positive feedback on the number of international visitors. Many retailers returned that did not visit us for an extended period.” Many exhibitors agreed with the fact that the audience included more decision makers. Heiner Terbuyken, Gabor Footwear GmbH: “We are very pleased. The new schedule allowed an increase of 42% regarding the number of visitors for Camel. Our brand Snipe registered also an increase of 50%.” He was also satisfied with the number of international visitors.

As expected, fewer owners of small shoe stores and sales assistants visited GDS since these traditionally came to visit the fair on Sunday. The overall attendance dropped by 15%. Comments about this amongst exhibitors varied. For some, the first day was busier than the second, other explained that the booth was almost empty on Wednesday. Willy Umland, Converse, was not very happy with the new concept. Owners of small shops are only coming on the weekend. On GDS, they make their final orders.” The Skechers booth is normally crowded with people, this time, it was especially quiet though. Nevertheless, all major players were present. In general, all exhibitors were satisfied. The strong winter season was very good for the retailers. The stocks are empty and all are in a good mood.

Trendwise, the most interesting topics were warm flat boots with fur, ankle boots, wedges and outdoor boots with laces. Diesel and Sixty presented their lifestyle collection for the first time at a big booth in hall 3. The huge stands were a highlight and were very well frequented. Dirk Fuchs, Diesel: “Our clients approved of the new stand concept where we presented the whole collection.” Even Robert Puschmann of Miss Sixty, Killah, Energie, was happy with the new location. All important retailers were there.

Moreover, many exhibitors complained about the late date of the fair. Klaus Ziemba, Timezone: “At GDS we have made already 80% of our orders. The fair is very late. Many exhibitors already presented at Bread & Butter in Berlin. Two week earlier would be nice.”

Some side events were held during GDS. Kangaroos hosted the “KangaROOS by Jimi Blue” debut where Jimi Blue Ochsenknecht, actor and singer, was showing his newest collection of apparel, bags and shoes for the first time within GDS. The award “Shoe Woman of the Year” was handed out for the first time, to TV host Frauke Ludowig. Winner of the German Shoe Award 2011 was the company Berkemann from Zeulenroda. Last but not least, the HDS Junior Award went to design students Karoline Angné, Karin Davis, Sophie Hetzel and Valerie Porr from Kaiserlautern University of Applied Sciences, Campus Pirmasens.

The next GDS/Global Shoes trade fair will run September 7-9, 2011.