The move to early August follows extensive consultation within the outdoor industry, including surveys of exhibitors, retail buyers and other visitors, said a statement from the OIA.
The 2002 exhibition dates will be Sunday 4th to Tuesday 6th August and the show will remain in its popular venue, the Harrogate International Centre. There had been talk of a move to Birmingham's NEC although 'COLA' has deep roots in Harrogate.
"The timing of the show has been much debated in recent years however the
response to our latest consultation revealed a significant shift in opinion
in favour of earlier dates," said OIA chairman Andy Airey of outdoor retailer George
"Exhibitors and visitors alike will appreciate that the numbers attending the show in September have been on a declining trend in recent years. This has naturally impacted on the show's profitability and the association's ability to generate the funds to support its wider work.
"Notwithstanding that the 2001 show was widely regarded as the best in many years, a rounded assessment led the OIA council to conclude, unanimously, that without this change a continued contraction in terms of exhibitors, visitors and viability was inevitable."
OIA director Roger Southcott said: "Major brands have said that they will support the earlier show which will enable Go Outdoors to better represent and showcase the breadth of product available in the British Isles. With the fullest possible range of brands we are confident the show will become even more attractive to retailers, particularly the smaller, independent business which will be better able to preview the range of products available prior to making purchase decisions. The earlier dates will place Go Outdoors 2002 at the start of the outdoor clothing and equipment buying cycle making the
show even more relevant not only to the UK trade but also to exhibitors, buyers and media from overseas."