Blog: Are you a glass half-full or glass half-empty kind of person?
Dean Best | 9 April 2008
The speakers on day one of the World Retail Congress in Barcelona seem split between the two camps.
The vibrant oranges and yellows of the Congress that adorn this auditorium in Spain's second city initially hint at a sense of optimism - although that is swept aside by a pessimistic assessment of the global economy by Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times.
"We are in a period of revulsion and financial collapse - which we are only part-way through," Wolf said, as he walked his audience through the impact of the global credit crunch, the downturn in the US and soaring commodity prices.
Carrefour CEO Jose Luis Duran was next up and attempted to talk of the "opportunities" that are available for growth for the world's retailers. Nonetheless, even he was forced to admit that there are "significant challenges" faced by the industry.
For Duran, though, focusing on building a robust brand, policies around sustainability and product innvoation are among the strategies that will be key to navigating through the stormy waters of a global economic downturn.
Nevertheless, Duran admitted that there are clouds on the horizon of even the most promising of emerging markets, namely China, which is suffering from food price inflation at almost 25%.
Wolf warned that the world's emerging markets, which will continue to provide lucrative growth opportunities in this time of economic turbulence, will see their growth rates slow - although with Russia and China showing signs of over-heating maybe that isn't so bad.
Building blocks of cardboard boxes flank either side of the main foyer, pointing delegates to seminar rooms and the main auditorium. An approporiate analogy in these times of economic headwinds. Will business be blown over or, will some, through some careful construction, build businesses to withstand the strongest gusts?
Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...
Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
- Interview: Sir Kensington's on sale to Unilever
- Analysis: Post discusses rationale for Weetabix
- Who will buy Danone's Stonyfield business?
- Interview: "Disruptive" snack brand Hippeas
- Column: Why snacking is the new meal
- Unilever buys US condiments maker Sir Kensington's
- Ice cream helps Unilever sales, food flat
- Nestle organic growth slows but beats expectations
- Dairy dampens Danone in Q1
- Icelandic to sell Saucy Fish Co. owner Seachill