Blog: World Retail Congress 2008 starts

Joe Ayling | 9 April 2008

This morning (9 April) I've traded the UK's April snow showers for a warmer climate on the seafront at this week's World Retail Congress in Barcelona.

1,100 retail experts and enthusiasts have gathered at the event, which is being held at the CCIB Forum.

The congress is still in its infancy, having being launched last year as a talking point on retail globalisation.

However, the three-day event has attracted some top names, with Arcadia boss Sir Phillip Green and J Crew CEO Millard Drexler addressing this afternoon's audience.

Trends for discussion at this year's business streams include multi-channel retailing and sustainability, but by far the over-riding theme is the global credit crunch.

Already today we've been told that the economic bubble that has burst in the developed world, due to excess spending and credit expansion, is unlikely to recover before 2010.

In addition, the decoupling of these effects is inpossible, and fast-growing emerging markets like India and China could feel some short term squeeze too.

However, speaking earlier on, Liz Claiborne chairman emeritus Paul Charron succinctly  points out: "We are blessed and cursed to live in interesting times."

just-style will keep you updated with other key developments from Barcelona as the week goes by.

By Joe Ayling, news editor


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