Retailers branded the 2008 NEC show as one of their toughest ever, as the credit crunch hit home.
Some traders said sales were down by almost 50% compared to 2007, despite a good effort by the show’s organisers to attract visitors by laying on a wide variety of stands and stars.
“People just don’t want to spend,” says Clare Keeley, a director of Girls Bike 2.
Adrian Holdsworth, owner of Grinfactor t-shirts, agreed. “Normally the t-shirts sell themselves, but we’ve had to work harder this year.”
Even J&S Accessories, which had some of the biggest bargains, found it tough. “Even with great deals, people don’t have the money,” said sales manager Chris Taylor.
It might have been hard work for retailers, but most visitors were happy with the variety of stands at the show.
Regulars Cheryl and Clint Lee from Southampton said the show was “excellent,” and Chris Ryan from Manchester said he was impressed by the quality of kit on offer.