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The event is being promoted by the four major national associations with the support of regional trade bodies, but it is open to all professional dealers who are anxious to come to terms with the changing nature of the market.

This year’s programme will focus on ways for dealers to raise their public profile and do better business at a time when – as the BADA survey reported on this page shows – market conditions continue to be tough. Delegates will hear the latest analysis of the market and learn from the experience of colleagues who have been conspicuously successful in different fields.

The day will begin with two independent views of the market. The first will place art and antiques in the wider context of the retail sector, examining future prospects in the light of current trends. The second will take a down-to-earth look at the actual experiences of shoppers buying antiques. Delegates can expect a few home truths about times when dealers have failed to meet the expectations of the 21st century consumer.

During the afternoon, the emphasis will be on practical ways to compete more effectively, drawing on the experience of a number of dealers as well as a panel of specialists with expertise in PR, consumer credit, journalism, marketing and internet trading.

The day will end with a reassessment of the potential of a national marketing campaign for art and antiques.

The Art of Dealing takes place at the Earls Court Conference Centre on Monday, May 16. Complete details of the programme and a registration form appear in this week’s ATG on page 70.

Judging from enquiries following the preliminary announcement of the conference, this is likely to be a very popular event and early registration is advised.