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  • Thomas Russell

IMM Cologne furniture show drew 115,000, say organizers

COLOGNE — This winter's IMM Cologne furniture show drew 115,000 visitors from 118 countries, which was up 15% from the most recent comparable show in 2010, organizers said.

Attendance was down about 17% from the 138,000 total last year, but the latest event did not include the LivingKitchen trade show component that is featured every two years. The next kitchen event is slated for 2013.

This year, 42% of the attendance at the Jan. 19-24 fair was from outside Germany, compared with 39% in 2011. Organizers said there was an increase in the number of buyers from elsewhere in Europe, including Russia and Italy, and also from North America and Asia.

The event featured 1,157 exhibitors from 54 countries in about 2.5 million square feet of show space.

The public is admitted to the Cologne show on certain days, and the attendance figures include those visitors.

Held in conjunction with the designer-focused LivingInteriors, IMM Cologne showcased a number of trends, including the demand for small-scale and functional furniture aimed at singles living in smaller spaces. Other trends included more compact and slender entertainment wall units, as well as furniture with natural materials.

"Cologne is the key business platform for the global furnishing industry," said Gerald Böse, CEO of show organizer Koelnmesse. "We are proud to say that we are right on course. (There were) more exhibitors with a higher degree of internationality and happy attendees who got to see lots of product innovations."

Dirk Uwe Klaas, chief executive of the Assn. of the German Furniture Industry, added that "2012 looks like a good year with lots of momentum for the international furniture industry. As far as Germany is concerned, our domestic furnishing market may well become the engine that drives consumption."

The next Cologne show takes place Jan. 14-20, 2013. For more information, visit www.koelnmessenafta.com.

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