The spring edition of GDS, the big international trade show in Düsseldorf that took place from last Friday to Sunday, went down in a satisfactory way. According to Messe Düsseldorf, the show’s organizer, 31,000 trade visitors went through the turnstiles on a daily basis, or 6 percent less than one year ago. Considering the difficult situation in the market, the score was not bad. Global Shoes, the sourcing show held along with the GDS, counted 6,200 visitors.

Altogether, slightly more than 50 percent of the visitors came from Germany. Among the 91 foreign countries, the Benelux countries, the U.K., Austria, Italy and France were the best-represented. The share of foreign attendees at Global Shoes was 60 percent. Its visitors came from 52 countries, mainly from Germany, the Benelux countries, Greece, Poland, Spain and France.

The mood among exhibitors, buying groups and retailers was relatively good, though, probably because no one went to Düsseldorf with exaggerated expectations in light of the global crisis and the difficulties in the shoe market. Trade professionals explained that shoes were always needed, so consumers cut back spending less on footwear than on many other items.

It was felt at the show, however, that retailers are not ready to take any risk: The booths that offered traditional brown and black shoes were especially crowded. Sources within the buying groups were piqued that money was lost because retailers were not really going into colorful and fashionable goods. In any case, it was obvious at the GDS that the shops tended to go with strong, big brands rather than new and creative small suppliers. The process of concentration seems to be accelerating.