The number of visitors at the Silmo fair fell by about 20 percent as compared to last year. Total attendance was down to about 32,000 trade operators at the Sept. 17-20 show, and like last year, about 51 percent of them came from outside France. Many exhibitors praised the quality of the audience, however, indicating that the show had gone better than expected for them.

The organizers speculated that the poor global economic situation and sensationalist reports about swine flu should be blamed for people staying away from the show. In fact, most retailers were said to be ordering cautiously for the next spring/summer season in the absence of any clear indication about the future state of the demand, particularly in view of rising unemployment in the bigger European markets.

While some exhibitors would have preferred to have more time to prepare the prototypes of their new collections, the earlier dates of Silmo and a conflict of dates with the trade show in Beijing were apparently not a major issue. Visitors complained on the other hand about the absence of many important players, particularly in the equipment sector, which is probably suffering the most from the current economic uncertainty and the shortage of credit.

While accepting Silmo's new dates, some exhibitors didn't feel quite comfortable with a decision, announced during the show, to move the fair to a different location outside the city next year, indicating that they were attached to the closeness of the downtown area. They recalled the problems that were linked to Mido's transfer to more modern premises outside Milan a few years ago.

On Sept. 23-26 next year, Silmo will not be held at Porte de Versailles exhibition center for the first time in 40 years, but in the more modern fairgrounds at Villepinte, close to Charles de Gaulle airport and to a station of the TGV high-speed railways. The site is also well connected with the city of Paris through the RER regional express rail network.

Silmo's management has reserved a modern new hall at the same dates for several years, guaranteeing continuity in spite of competition from larger shows such as the biannual Paris Automotive Show. Exhibitors and visitors at Silmo may also benefit from the presence on the same dates and on the same premises of Première Vision, an important fabrics fair where future general fashion trends are set and illustrated.

The main reason for the move is the fact that the halls that have been housing Silmo until now are going to be destroyed in the near future to make place for new houses, offices and a shopping center.