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Retailers, Visitors Up for BLE 2018

UBM has declared this year’s Brand Licensing Europe (BLE), which took place at Olympia London earlier this month, as the “best ever” in the show’s 20-year history.

Retailer visitor numbers increased by 24 percent, and overall attendee numbers rose by 6 percent to a record high of 7,862. The show also saw the highest number of overseas visitors at 40 percent.

There were 264 exhibitors in Olympia’s Grand and National Halls, compared to 244 in 2017, an increase of 8 percent. This included 67 companies who were new to the show. All three areas of the event (character and entertainment, brands and lifestyle, and art, design and image licensing) experienced growth, and there was a notable uptick in brands and lifestyle exhibitor numbers, which rose by 28 percent to 73.

“This year’s BLE was extraordinary,” says Anna Knight, brand director, BLE. “We brought the show onto one level at Olympia for the first time, and every corner of it was busy from doors open to close (and beyond). There wasn’t a single lull in activity, attendance or buzz for the entire three days. Thousands of meetings were held; our seminar program and Live Kitchen demos were extremely successful; and exhibitors proclaimed it ‘their best BLE ever.’”

“Over 85 percent of next year’s floorplan is already full,” Knight continues. “The hard work has already started on developing live experiences that will meet our attendees’ high expectations following this year’s success, and we are really excited about working with our customers to further elevate BLE at its new home in East London.”

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