Blog: Can Barcelona lift retail mood?

Joe Ayling | 7 May 2009

It's day two of the World Retail Congress in Barcelona, and just-style is hoping for a lighter mood to discussions today (7 May).

Yesterday economic leaders addressed how long the recession will last and how some companies, like Harvey Nichols, are dealing with it.

The morning session saw a Frenchman - Etam's Richard Simonin - quote Churchill and an Englishman - Lord Alan Watson - quote Napoleon. Lord Watson used Napoleon's "never interrupt a man while he's making a mistake" comment to describe the competitive nature of retail, while before Simonin's speech he gave the following three impossibilities in life:

1: Clmbing a cliff facing forwards
2: Kissing a woman leaning backwards
3: Speaking after brilliant speakers

Now, the speakers he followed were indeed impressive, but the overall mood of discussion was quite flat, no doubt unaided by the lower numbers at this year's congress (800 compared to 1,100 last year).

There was talk of 'green shoots' appearing, and an early 2010 recovery led by the US and China, but people are growing tired of hearing an agenda dominated by bank misgivings.

Having said that, there is much hope that this morning's Retail Futures Challenge can lift the mood here, with leading talent presenting their vision for the future.

As an aside, delegates arrive for today's sessions in a euphoric Barcelona buoyed by its football team reaching the Champions League final in dramatic style last night.

just-style sampled the atmosphere first hand in a local bar, and their celebrations continued with flares, fireworks and fans on the streets afterwards (see picture below). This city really is football-mad, and even a British-based Spaniard hailing from Madrid adorns underground posters posing for department store El Cortes Ingles (See Fernando Torres advert below).

Keep up with the World Retail Congress 09, and just-style's travel notes through more news, analysis and Tweets during the next two days.

By Joe Ayling, news editor.


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