Saturday, March 15

NEC Outdoor Show Report - Sat 15 March: Afternoon

I was badly in need of relief from the incessant tumult of the crowds and the ever increasing noise levels, always a problem as the individual live displays vie with each other to pull in the crowds. Which is unfortunate if you happen to be a nearby stand holder paying for a spot which people can't get near, or hear you yell as you attempt to explain your business.

It was time to seek the small but essential tranquility of the Press Office. But along the way I realised that so far total show expenditure was £Nil, excluding horrendously expensive food items, a regular NEC complaint whatever the event.

But frankly what to spent it on? Most of the stands were geared to single high price items (satnav for instance) gimmicks (wind up radio/camping kit) or limited retail stock. A search for a replacement Platypus tube & bite valve swiftly proved rather pointless. And as a result of an equipment failure earlier in the day (don't ask) it was a visit to what is fast becoming my regular Outdoor Show wallet opener.

No idea what it was called (the back of Hall 2?) but as ever a huge range of reasonably priced outdoor gear. Nothing fancy or too high tech. Just good solid and largely inexpensive kit. A chance to stock up with replacement zip-off Regatta walking trousers (2 for £30 - same price as last year - yipee)

Here was one very happy but frantic retailer as he efficiently dealt with a continually forming queue of eager purchasers. Even happier it turned out, as other trade stands were directing traffic in his direction to get their hands on stock they couldn't supply.

A message to the stands for future years? Work out whether you are there to market (e.g. tourism boards) inform (Ramblers Assoc) or sell. Of all the walking stands I visited this was the only one regularly handling a fruitful level of business, besides the dependable, but small, Alpkit and Cicerone Press.

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