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GA News: January 2014

January 2014: All the latest news from The Giftware Association

Survey reveals business optimism and satisfaction with The GA
More than 73 per cent of suppliers and 60 per cent of retailers who took part in The GA's pan-industry survey in 2013 have said that they expect business to improve. The survey was carried out by The GA to enable it to better represent the views of those within the gift and home industry and provide the most appropriate assistance. Almost 74 per cent of those questioned said they would recommend The GA to a colleague, while more than 76 per cent were totally satisfied with the association's services. Supplier members rated trade fair discounts and warnings about fraudulent companies or scams among The GA's key services, while retailer members valued special offers on products from supplier members; savings on reduced credit card processing rates and free trade magazines. Legislation updates and industry information were important to both. An increased perception of the new GA website illustrated that it was having a positive effect on users. Respondents variously described The GA as "a comfort blanket" and "a great organisation to be a part of", while others said "it has improved over the last five years", was "very supportive of my business" and a "very well run and professional body that works hard to stay relevant and current to the industry it represents".

More than twice as many entries for Gift of the Year 2014
The association reported that entries to The GA's Gift of the Year 2014 were more than double the previous year. Popular categories include Kids, Under £10, Kitchen & Dining, Home Accessories, Made in the UK and Home Fragrance. GA Chief Executive Isabel Martinson says that their strength may be a trends' indicator, citing fashion jewellery and fashion accessories as examples where this has happened in previous years. "There's definitely been a resurgence of interest in products made in the UK," comments Isabel. "British retailers will always search out quality. But they also want products to be accessible, which is why home-based manufacturers - with shorter lead times than those from the Far East - are winning customers. Also, rising costs in China, coupled with higher freight charges, can also give them an edge." She believes that the growing popularity of the competition is due to a realisation by suppliers that winning Gift of the Year - or being highly commended - can boost sales and enhance their credibility. The awards will be presented at the NEC, Birmingham, at the close of Spring Fair on Sunday 2nd February. The headline sponsor is show organiser i2i Events.

Spring Fair voucher scheme set to be biggest to date
The GA's member-to-member voucher initiative - where suppliers offer their retailer counterparts special deals at trade shows - is set to be the biggest ever at Spring Fair. A number of companies - including Tilnar Art and Blue Eyed Sun - have already taken advantage of the association's new package. This rewards them with discounts if they participate in two shows or all three - Spring Fair, Home & Gift and Autumn Fair - where the scheme is operating. A new feature for those taking part is an online showroom on The GA website, similar to its Inspire section. Here, suppliers will be able to upload a product image or range, together with descriptive editorial. The scheme is supported by GA-tailored emails to retailers - who receive their voucher sheets by post - as well as advertising, a social media campaign and news coverage in trade magazines. Suppliers taking part include Ancestors, Blue Eyed Sun, British Fossils, Cavendish French, CSC Imports, Half Moon Bay, HHJ Trading, Lifemax, Maingate, Mandarin Arts, Nick Smyth Trading, Opal Trading, Peartree Heybridge, Perfect Pillow, Ping Ping Jewellery, Sebnini, Tilnar Art and Really Good with 'Soul'.

GA signs 83 new members: quest to bring buyers and sellers closerThe GA signed 83 new members in 2013 as it began what Isabel Martinson describes as "a big push to bring suppliers and retailers closer to each other". This mission statement is close to the heart of GA chairman-elect Michael Papé, who is keen for the association to be seen as a facilitator of trade between the two after it successfully introduced virtual showrooms on its website. Isabel says: "It was no accident that Michael asked experienced independent retail consultant Henri Davis to be his Vice Chairman. It was a conscious decision as Michael, who is a supplier, wanted The GA to have a rounded offering that was representative of its members." Isabel says that in 2014 the association will launch a campaign that will see The GA reach out to "the people who do such a great job in our shops and stores" as it strives to create a database that will be "irresistible" to its supplier members.

Further information
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