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The great and good of the retail world this week descended on the Spanish city of Barcelona for the World Retail Congress 2008. The leading lights of the sector spent three days discussing the key issues affecting the sector, from private label to private equity and the global economy to the economics of the emerging markets. It was of little surprise that, with such a cast, three of our most-read stories this week came from the conference.

Quote, Unquote: World Retail Congress – Day One
The global economy, the US market, private equity and private lable were all hotly debated on day one of the World Retail Congress. “We are in a period of revulsion and financial collapse – which we are only part-way through,” Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times told delegates.

Quote Unquote: World Retail Congress – Day Two
The second day at the World Retail Congress in Barcelona saw a lot of focus on the world’s emerging retail markets. The conference heard debates on the potential – and challenges – of operating in markets including the so-called “big four” – Brazil, Russia, India and China.

INDIA: Carrefour to “delay” entry into India
Carrefour CEO Jose Luis Duran told the Congress that the French retail giant is looking to “delay as much as possible” its decision on entering India. The company has been talking to at least three potential partners over a cash-and-carry venture in India, where government regulations limit foreign investment into the country’s fast-growing retail sector.

Away from retail, there were a couple of new launches that grabbed your interest and further acquisition speculation in the industry, this time around Nestlé.

UK: Heinz launches “sophisticated” sauce
Food giant Heinz has launched a premium tomato sauce in a bid to cater for consumers with “more sophisticated taste buds”.

US: Kraft launches convenient bagel
US food giant Kraft Foods is making an addition to its product range with Bagel-fuls, designed for consumers on-the-go. The bagel with Philadelphia cream cheese already spread on it was launched today (9 April) in New York with comic and “The View” co-host Joy Behar.

SWITZERLAND: Nestlé eyes acquisitions to continue health push
Nestlé has said it will continue to look for further acquisitions in a bid to strengthen its drive into health and wellbeing, following its sale of shares in US eyecare firm Alcon.