This might have resulted in fewer catchy phrases being bandied about, but it didn’t make the congress any less interesting.
In any case, thanks to the sheer weight of numbers now attending, the Forum has become too much of an industry event for it ever to be considered insignificant in any respect. And it set new records: 616 delegates from 42 countries, including more than 150 registrations from retail organisations.
To judge by the results of the poll conducted, most of the attendees were well satisfied. An overwhelming 62 per cent of the delegates rated the event as “very good” to “excellent” with a further 29 per cent giving it a “good” mark.
It must be noted, however, that a good third of the participants came from Germany (even if not all German retailers revealed their identity as such). Germans also featured rather prominently on the list of speakers.
Nevertheless, although this was the “European” congress, which the Fediyma and Edra associations organise jointly and which alternates with the “global” event, an impressively large contingent even of retail managers attended from the USA and such far-flung corners as South America, Africa and Australia.
All this meant that the congress offered the usual outstanding opportunity for internal industry networking. This was aided not only by the reasonably long intervals between sessions, but also by the fact that the organisers have made a habit of scouting out spectacular locations for the evening function.
This year it was Real Madrid’s Bernabéu Stadium, where the delegates actually dined on the hallowed turf and the word “emotional” was uttered on more than one occasion. At any rate, even senior managers (if they are grown men, and they are still in the majority at this level) express emotion in a venue such as this, especially if they are allowed to get their hands on the Champions League trophy and be photographed with it.
If any criticism can be levelled at the programme organisation, then perhaps two points spring to mind: on the one hand, there was too little of Spain in Madrid and yet, given its real importance, perhaps a little too…