Retail markets across Europe join hands

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October 25, 2007

Retail market management authorities and trader organisations across Europe recently met together in Paris to discuss a way forward for the retail market sector. Members of the Retail Section of the World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM), the participants discussed issues related to increasing the profile of retail markets within European member states, the objectives and focus areas for future lobbying efforts with the European Commission, as well as links and projects of common interest to members. Agreement was reached to support initiatives that effectively promote the role and importance of retail markets, especially as they relate to the areas of regeneration and economy, food and health, culture and tourism, community cohesion, and environment. In addition to gathering experiences, data and information on how the sector is currently operating and performing, the WUWM retail section is also reviewing future possibilities and opportunities to support training and qualifications. Participants agreed that a first WUWM Retail Conference will be held in London in the summer of 2008, with the programme focussed on the community benefits of retail markets, hygienic good practice, and retail market operations within the modern retail sector. Commitment was also given to support an approach to the European Commission in late 2007. The meeting was chaired by Jean-Paul Auguste, President of Group Geraud which is the largest operator of local authority markets in Europe, and the largest French private operator of retail markets, produce markets, cattle markets and fairs. Participants included market operators and national market association representatives from France, Germany, UK, France, Spain and the Netherlands, as well as trader associations in The Netherlands, Britain and Ireland. The event was hosted by SEMMARIS, the management body of the Rungis International Market and supported by the French Markets Federation (FFMIN). Technical visits were made to the large covered market of Bourg la Reine in the southern Paris periphery where delegates received a warm reception from Mayor Chevreau, and to the open-air Marché du Cours de Vincennes near Place de la Nation. The WUWM Retail Section was established in 2006 with the aims to ensure an effective information/knowledge exchange platform exists globally for retail markets, to offer a strategy and comprehensive knowledge of the global retail market sector, to support members in the operation and promotion of their markets, to lobby public/private decision-making bodies and legislators, and to promote best practice within the sector.