Past exhibitors at Berlin trade show Bread & Butter are treating its sale to German fashion etailer Zalando this week with caution.
Zalando has signed a letter of intent to acquire the trade show arm of B&B, which filed for insolvency in December last year. It is working with the B&B team, led by the show’s founder Karl-Heinz Muller, on a new concept for 2016 to be announced later this year. Zalando is also considering involving consumers in the event next year.
Sharon Fraser, sales executive at Glamorous, which stopped exhibiting at B&B last year after six seasons, described the move as “interesting”, but added: “The problem last time was they kept saying they were going ahead and then it all fell through and we never got out deposit back. We’d like Zalando to look at settling the bill with brands but it’s not likely.
“We’d probably look at the show again now they’ve been bought out, but we are happy with Panorama so it would be a case of seeing what they do with it and who else is going to show there.”
But the chief executive of another brand that pulled out of B&B last year said: “The horse has bolted and everybody, including us, has moved on to other shows.
“B&B did such a great job over the years and it was such an important show, but the brands they lost will be difficult to get back. I don’t think Zalando adds any value to the proposition from a brand’s perspective.
“I’d love to support what they’re doing, but on the surface I can’t see it being any more interesting or directional as a result of this deal.”
He also slammed Zalando’s idea of opening B&B up to the public next year, pointing out a similar proposal put forward in 2013 met with no support from exhibitors in Berlin: “It was a bad idea then and I think it’s a bad idea now.”
Peter Paxton, key account manager at Dutch denim label G-Star Raw said: “If it’s a trade show being led by a retailer I’m not quite sure what to expect. I don’t see what benefit it offers to consumers based on the fact that nothing is available for six months.
“It might be busier and get a bit of coverage on social media but the purpose of the trade show is to do business. I’m not sure if it will get the brand’s back, each brand will have to decide if it’s right for them.”
Muller’s 4oz stores were not included in the insolvency and are not part of the Zalando deal.