02   3897_2013_BSS2013 crowds2The British Shooting Show’s move to Stoneleigh saw an apparent increase in footfall and business to go along with its increase in exhibition space.

Show organisers described the 2013 show, which took place on 9-10 February, as the “most successful yet” and said rebooking for 2014 was taking place faster than it did after the 2012 show.

The move from Newark to the 200,000 sq/ft indoor space at the National Agricultural Centre in Stoneleigh was marked not only by an increase in exhibitors but also by an increase in individual stand sizes, with the main halls’ high ceilings allowing for taller, more spacious stands that played host to a number of press events throughout the weekend.

These included Richard Faulds and Amber Hill being in attendance to launch the new Guerini RF Ellipse Evo at the Anglo Italian Arms stand, while Beretta’s 692, Browning’s Maral straight-pull rifle and the Schmidt & Bender Stratos range also getting their UK public debuts.

While organisers’ declared attendance figure of 27,000 would not make the British Shooting Show the most-attended gun show or fair in the UK, the show has always emphasised quality over quantity, attracting customers who are there specifically to spend money rather than just to have a day out.

Accordingly, traders interviewed by Gun Trade News said business had been brisk at the show, particularly on the first day. One retailer said it had made “a month’s profit” over the weekend.
The show was also keen to counter criticisms of the parking and access facilities at Stoneleigh. An organiser statement said: “The organisers had predicted a 10 per cent increase in visitor numbers for 2013 but actually had to deal with a 25 per cent increase. The volume of traffic, both on the roads and within the showground, caused some considerable disruption and delays on the Saturday.

“The organisers worked with the police and the on-site parking contractors throughout Saturday and made some significant modifications to the original plans. These were successfully implemented on Sunday, with traffic flowing almost seamlessly.”

Show founder John Bertrand said: “The show has grown not just through our efforts, but through the repeat and loyal support of thousands of like-minded enthusiasts. Even at Newark there were initial teething problems, and the growing numbers of visitors each year required continual adjustment to even the best laid plans.

“We are confident we have resolved the problems that were encountered on the first day of this year’s show. Bearing in mind our track record of always listening and reacting positively, we hope those who were inconvenienced will ‘take a leap of faith’ and continue to support the show.”

The Shooting Show started in 2009 and spent its first four years in a partly indoor, marquee-based set-up at the Newark Showground. Its move to Stoneleigh was announced at the 2012 show, and while many traders reacted well, the move led to some uncertainty over the public support the 2013 show would receive.

Despite its apparent “teething problems” the 2013 British Shooting Show will have put that uncertainty to rest and further established itself as one of the most important dates in the show calendar. The show looks set to grow further for its sixth year, with dates already confirmed as 15-16 February 2014.

For more reactions to the British Shooting Show, see this month’s How’s Business column


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