PARIS — Messe Frankfurt is fine-tuning its strategy for its Paris fairs.

The trade show organizer is adding new features, including a new area for its Texworld Paris fair in September and a broadened offer to cover all the needs of the smart textile market for its Avantex show.

The shows are to take place in a difficult retail climate in France. Apparel sales from January to May 2016 were down 1.6 percent, compared to the first five months of 2015, according to the French Fashion Institute. “We had forecast a rise of 0.7 percent in apparel sales for the full year [after a 0.1 percent dip in 2015]. We don’t revise downward the forecast for the time being because the end of the 2016 will compare with very bad months in 2015 due to Paris terror attacks of November 2015,” said Gildas Minvielle, director of the Economic Observatory of the French Fashion Institute. On a more positive note, Minvielle noted that exports of apparel were up 2 percent in the first quarter of 2016, and up 6.5 percent towards the U.S. in the period.

Despite the dull conjuncture, Texworld Paris and Apparel Sourcing are both logging an increase in the number of exhibitors for their September edition. “We have a 5 percent increase in the number of exhibitors for Texworld [to 950 exhibitors], compared to September last year,” Messe Frankfurt France president Michael Scherpe said.

For Apparel Sourcing, the surge stands at 37.5 percent to reach 550 exhibitors. Meanwhile Avantex, its trade fair dedicated to high-tech fabrics and research, will count around two dozens, which is in line with its two previous editions.

Starting with its February edition, slated for Feb. 6 to 9, 2017, Avantex aims to cover all the needs of the smart textile market, which means incorporating the four following sectors: raw materials; finished products; services and technologies for the fabrication process, and services and technologies for retail and communications. “Tomorrow, Google could be an Avantex exhibitor,” said Scherpe, who called the fair “the show of the future.”

In line with the positioning, the fair has teamed up with Dornbirn-MFC, the Austria-based platform for the fiber industry, in which the key themes that will be discussed at its Dornbirn-MFC annual congress in October will be incorporated into Avantex’s programme of conferences and round tables in February.

Meanwhile, Texworld Paris is set to inaugurate a new area for its upcoming edition, to be held at Le Bourget Exhibition Center, north of Paris, from Sept. 12 to 15. Called Elite, the area staged by designer Olivier Lapidus, son of Ted Lapidus, will feature 22 top-quality exhibitors from Turkey, Taiwan, Pakistan, India, Netherlands, Lebanon and Japan. They include Vrijesh Natural Fiber and Fabrics, a linen and hemp specialist from India, and Isil Tekstil, a producer of sophisticated knit from Turkey.

Other new features at Texworld include a show of the winners of the 2016 International Young Designers’ Festival in Dinan, namely José Luis Gutierrez in women’s wear and Clément Dollet in men’s wear; as well as a show of the master students at Esmod, sponsored by Texworld exhibitors who provided fabrics.

The three fairs typically attract around 15,000 visitors, including 88 percent coming from abroad.