Last January, Associated Independent Stores (AIS) extended a welcome to its traditional members only furniture show to retailers who weren't AIS buying group members. The new show format was a great success and will be repeated again in January 2013. In practice that means that the first two days remain exclusive to AIS members but there are a further 3 days open to all of the trade.

As before, those 3 days run concurrently with Interiors at the NEC and gives all buyers another reason to visit Birmingham during that time especially as the proximity of the AIS show at Cranmore Park, Solihull to the NEC certainly makes it very easy to take in both shows.

In 2013 the AIS show will host stands from AIS suppliers all of whom can only be seen at Cranmore Park. AIS Merchandise Director, Peter Mallinson, is keen to stress that "The Furniture Show" isn't attempting to compete with Interiors but is presenting different manufacturers in a different environment where those exhibiting and visiting will enjoy a more intimate and relaxed buying atmosphere.

Peter explained, "We're not promoting this as an alternative show to the NEC, it is simply meant to help our portfolio of suppliers maximise the number of retailers they see during that key decision making period, so it is more efficient for everybody involved to hold it at the same time."

Peter reiterated that, "In addition to the attractions of the Cranmore Park setting those exhibiting are not at the NEC, so if retailers that aren't members of AIS want to see their new designs in January, then they need to make time to visit the show."

Once again demand is such that the exhibition will take place over the whole of the extended ground floor AIS showroom areas. Returning again are major Brands such as Tetrad, Himolla, Corndell, Cintique, Nathan, Habufa, Actona and Whitemeadow and these will be accompanied by many other established names such as Carlton, Quaratta Qualita, MTE, Decoro and Wade Upholstery. Add into the mix emerging companies like O&G, Wossner and Scanthor and it's not hard to understand why Peter went on to say "what buyers will find when they visit Cranmore Park is a good mix of contemporary, transitional and traditional product ranges that can only be seen here."

However, Peter is quick to state that the products that are exclusive to AIS members will not be on display during the three general trade days and that anyone interested in gaining access to those should consider joining AIS.

With the past evidence of 2012 to go on AIS are confident that "The Furniture Show" is needed in the industry and anticipate it becoming a regular fixture in the show calendar, not only in 2013, but for many more years ahead. In fact, he is pleased to announce that the show will operate extended hours this January, such was the demand last time.

Cranmore Park can be found just off the M42 within a few minutes of Birmingham International rail and air links. Such ease of access together with plenty of close free parking makes "The Furniture Show" an ideal start or end to the day.

www.thefurniture-show.co.uk

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