BLE welcomes record number of retail visitors

9,649 licensing professionals attended last week’s Brand Licensing Europe 2023 show, which took place at ExCeL London from 4-6 October.

The attendance figure was up 19% over 2022, with 1,166 retailers from 57 countries in attendance, the highest in the show’s history, and an increase of 31% on last year.

There were also record attendees from FIGS – France, Italy, Germany and Spain – with a 28% increase in numbers year-on-year.

Buyers from Uniqlo, Zara, Amazon, Benetton, The Entertainer, ASOS, C&A, H&M, Calzedonia, Carrefour, Fat Face, Galeries Lafayette, Harrods, Aldi, Decathlon, Diechmann, Next, El Corte Ingles, Forbidden Planet, Frasers Group, Primark, Poundland, Accessorize, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Card Factory, Hamley’s, Claire’s Accessories, HMV, Iceland, John Lewis & Partners, Legends, Lidl, Lipsy, Asda, Selfridges and many more were in attendance.

“This year’s retail presence has been incredible, with really strong attendance from fashion and toy retailers. We’ve also seen an increase in gift and novelty retailers as well as value retailers like Poundland, Matalan, Pepco and Primark. It’s brilliant seeing the retail strategy we introduced in 2021 really paying off to the benefit of the entire industry,” said head of retail Laura Freedman-Dagg.

In 2024, BLE and Licensing Expo will share a theme for the first time – Brands in Play.

“To celebrate the concept of play, we are dedicating 2024 to Brands in Play, a theme that will run as an undercurrent across BLE and Licensing Expo to spotlight the incredible innovations in play, the power it holds in every stage of life and the creativity it allows when building brands,” said Anna Clarke, svp licensing, Informa Markets.

“Immersive entertainment, storytelling and fan engagement are changing, and the concept of play is changing with it. Today, brands are creating multi-generational, omnichannel play patterns that permeate video games, tabletop, board and card games, location-based entertainment, immersive theatre, sports and esports, toys and kidult culture. Brands are also playing in new spaces, building ground-breaking new extensions and bringing the brand licensing business to life in increasingly creative ways.”

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