GDS Gears Up

Organizers from the Dusseldorf show hope a stabilizing German economy will boost the event.

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GDS director Kirstin Deutelmoser

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Bright Spot

While retail in most European countries continues to struggle, the German economy is showing signs of life.

That’s one reason why GDS organizers are optimistic about the upcoming show, set for Sept. 11-13 in Dusseldorf.

Among the first-time exhibitors at this edition are Germany-based Tiggers, which is launching Tiggers Blue; Portugal-based Carlafe, debuting Eject Black; and Portuguese company Norberto Costa, which is bowing Vudu shoes. According to GDS director Kirstin Deutelmoser (above), Portuguese exhibitors are very active right now, showing quality shoes at good prices.

The show also is planning a new hall layout this time to focus on individual “lifestyle worlds,” including street fashion and urban.

“We’ve noticed that fashion trends in [these areas]have become more influential,” Deutelmoser said.

Still, the weak global climate has had some impact on the show. Exhibitor numbers are down slightly, with 765 brands set to participate in the show.

FN: Why are you upbeat about the German market?

KD: The German shoe retail association recently announced that for the first seven months of 2009, shoe retailers experienced [flat sales compared with] the same period in 2008. I have noticed that many shoe companies from Spain and Portugal are targeting Germany because it’s considered a stable market to be involved in right now.

FN: Which labels are performing well?

KD: We have [strong] feedback on German names such as Rieker, Camel Active and Ara. To survive in this environment, a company needs an entrepreneurial spirit as well as courage, good ideas and the ability to motivate customers to buy shoes.

FN: How has the challenging economic climate affected the show?

KD: At the beginning of the recession, there was a lot of fear, but now it seems more normal and people are getting used to the idea of an economic crisis. It is difficult to say how buyers will behave — the German buying associations expect retailers to buy less — but at the moment, signs are the same and they are registering as normal. We’re aware that expenses have been cut and this will probably mean that fewer people from a company will be traveling.

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