Footwear Players Upbeat at Bread & Butter Show

BARCELONA — The most recent edition of Bread & Butter, held here July 2-4, played host to a number of footwear newcomers. And most exhibitors at the show said they were upbeat about the global mix of retailers.

“I’ve taken orders from as far as Croatia, Japan and Hong Kong, and Nordstrom was one of the first customers here,” said Mel Martinez, sales director for Runner Bean, a casual footwear brand that launched for spring ’09.

Among the other debuts was See by Chloé, while Minnetonka Moccasin and Hudson exhibited here for the first time.

“It’s been buzzing,” said Hudson accounts manager Les Dawson of the show. “We’ve seen a lot of mostly clothing independents, including Oak, which has stores in Brooklyn, N.Y., which we wouldn’t necessarily see at major shoe fairs.”

Buyers from fast-growing British e-tailer ASOS.com were looking for new brands to add to their lineup. “Bread & Butter is a great show to get insight into spring ’09 trends,” said Nichola Carroll, ASOS’ junior buyer for branded footwear. “New brands I plan to introduce for spring ’09 [include] Reebok, Fred Perry and Snowjoggers, which have introduced a great new spring ’09 range of pumps in bright colors.”

London-based distributor 1927, which partners with several footwear licensees including Kors by Michael Kors, Juicy Couture Footwear and See by Chloé, also had a busy show. “Buyers are writing orders here, and we’ve seen more German and Italian buyers this time than we have in the past,” said commercial director Claudia Sodano.

All told, Bread & Butter organizer Karl Heinz Muller said he was upbeat about the show, despite the shaky global economy.

“In some countries there are [economic] difficulties, but we have not noticed any impact regarding our visitors or exhibitors. None of these brands are telling me their tales of woe,” said Heinz Muller.

Nevertheless, overall show attendance was down 2.5 percent, to 89,168. However, U.S. and Canadian attendance showed a 2.8 percent rise, to 2,473.

Meanwhile, the desire for a quieter environment away from Bread & Butter’s loud, energetic show floor prompted a small breakaway event called 10 Barcelona, which hosted 12 brands. Held at a central Barcelona showroom, it was spearheaded by New Balance and PF Flyers (who also had booths at Bread & Butter) and organized by U.S marketing company Criterium Events.

“This is an ancillary event that has no association with Bread & Butter,” explained Joe Maruca of Criterium, who said he had no designs on becoming a trade show. “We just wanted another environment with brands that are like-minded and who have similar customers.”

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