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Former Natuzzi exec now directing Brussels Furniture Fair

Jan Mantens replacing Els Van Pelt
BRUSSELS — Former Natuzzi executive Jan Mantens has been named director of the Brussels Furniture Fair, according to European trade publication Furniture News. Mantens is replacing Els Van Pelt, who is retiring after 15 years with the fair.

After starting in the furniture industry in 1992, Mantens joined Natuzzi in 2003 in Europe. He was named area manager for North and Central Europe in 2011, and left the company in December 2012.

Mantens said he sees potential for the Brussels fair’s long-term growth. The 2014 edition is set for Nov. 2-5.

“Compared to a lot of other countries, the Belgian furniture industry is still big,” he said. “It is my task as director of the Brussels Furniture Fair to create business for them by attracting more and more visitors. Not only from the existing most important export countries of Holland and France, but also the UK and Ireland and Germany, with further potential towards Scandinavia,” he told Furniture News.

He said the 2013 fair had 2.88% fewer visitors than last year, but “we are nevertheless very satisfied with this edition. We noticed a decrease in smaller shops in Belgium (-3.6%) and Holland (-2.1%) but a growth in international visit by big decision makers from Germany (+3.1%) and UK and Ireland (+12.1%). The only negative factor in our results is the reduced number of French visitors, mainly in the bedding section (-4.1%). However, their reactions were very positive about the variety of the offer in modern living, which is different from what is shown at local fairs.”

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