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Upbeat mood as Cologne hardware show opens

Published: 5 March 2012
There was a real buzz in the halls as Eisenwarenemesse, the biannual Cologne hardware show, opened its doors yesterday (March 4).
Upbeat mood as Cologne hardware show opens
Although the show is far smaller than in the heyday of the 1990s, it still occupies no fewer than 11 halls of the vast Kolnmesse complex, and as always, the show statistics are staggering, with a total of 2,657 exhibiting companies from 50 countries. China has the strongest representation with no fewer than 882 exhibitors, followed by Taiwan (409) and Germany itself (387).

Toolbank Export, the UK tool wholesaler’s new venture, made its show debut and reported strong buyer interest.

First showing for Black & Decker's all-new range of garden hand tools – not an electric cable in sight!

The mood among exhibitors and visitors feels buoyant, backed by strong recovery in German economic conditions. According to FWI, the German tool industry association, its members increased total sales in 2011 by 11.3%, employment in the industry rose by 5%, and nearly 40% of member companies describe current market conditions as favourable. BHB, the German DIY retailers' association, is more cautious, reporting total sales growth of just over 1% in 2011, but the Central Association of the Hardware Trade is forecasting growth of 4.5% once all 2011 data is analysed.

Apex Tools: a new name formed by the merger of the former tool divisions of Cooper and Danaher

British exhibitors reported brisk business - not least Toolbank, making its Cologne debut as an exhibitor under its new Toolbank Export division, and majoring on its Faithfull and Olympia house brands. Little more than an hour after the show opened on Sunday, Toolbank had seen buyers from more than half a dozen markets outside the UK.

Last-minute show prototype on the Apex Tools stand: an adjustable wrench with a spring-loaded jaw which enables it to ratchet on the nut

Black & Decker's Dutch distributor is showing the company's all-new range of garden tools: long-handled digging tools, shears, secateurs, loppers, rakes, trowels, axes, saws, sprays and sprinklers and so on - and not an electric motor in sight. Some of the range appears to be available with Stanley branding too - as does a range of wheelbarrows.

Festive Lights was one of several exhibitors proudly displaying the DIY Week Award they won in Manchester last November – in this case for the Dri-Box electrical connections box

It's a first full-scale showing for Apex Tools, the new company formed by the merger last year of the tool divisions of Cooper and Danaher. The Apex range embraces more than 30 brands, including the former Cooper names like Crescent, Porter, Lufkin and Weller, as well as Danaher brands like Allen, GearWrench and Jacobs. Among the products on show is a last-minute prototype of a ratchet-action adjustable wrench, one jaw of which is spring loaded to enable it to release even when locked onto the nut.

Doubtless meant as a bit of fun, but other British exhibitors weren’t amused by this juxtaposition of the Union flag and a dinosaur…

The show runs until March 7.


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