This weekend was one of a few when retailers are likely to get a break from staring at figures. As weekend shoppers rush the tills, a massive number of retailers are at EuroShop.

At the event in Düsseldorf, they will be sizing up the latest widgets and gadgets and getting an eyeful of things that will make their stores look that bit better.

It is tribute to the pulling power of this retailing über-show that, while most people acknowledge that trading conditions are not as benign as they were last year, this triennial bunfight remains on the must-visit list. Not entirely surprising when you consider the alternatives.

Yes, it is possible to see something of the kind every year in the US, but on a much smaller scale and with a very North American feel to the displays. Equally, you might be tempted to see much of what is on show in Düsseldorf back in Blighty. But, given that retail and its dependent suppliers are truly global, this does not look like an attractive or viable proposition.

So, it’s back to the Wurst and Alt Bier, the formality of well-pressed suits and the practice of addressing everybody by their family, rather than Christian, names. But is it all worth it?

About 100,000 visitors seem to think so and UK retailers are here in force, walking the halls and getting in touch with suppliers that they may never have met face-to-face.

There is a good chance that they’ll leave little the wiser about what is appropriate for a chain of department stores in the West Midlands or which new cabinet freezer to buy for the frozen food area of Tesco, but that’s not really the point.

The sheer scale is bound to confuse and it’s easy to emerge from the massive halls feeling a little punch-drunk. However, you will probably also feel, in an almost intangible way, inspired and refreshed.

For the brave souls who choose to sacrifice a weekend at home for two days spent in this affluent corner of northwest Germany, this is more than sufficient to justify the considerable expense involved. There really is nothing to compare with EuroShop anywhere in the world and, if retail is your business, then there are few real excuses for not making the trip. It continues for another two days, but you’re likely to find it’s a little too late to get on a plane.

Topics