Much of the retail news right now is doom and gloom. But not at the first day of Retail Solutions yesterday, where there was a little love in the air.

The mood was decidedly upbeat among retailers and retail technology suppliers alike at this match-making event.

Retailers spoke fondly of suppliers and suppliers spoke even more fondly of their retail customers. So there was much confidence that there is room for improved productivity and cost-cutting within the sector where the two groups can work in partnership.

Within the first few hours I had heard about savings on fuel bills, reductions in stock holdings and improvements in customer service.

This was followed with news of an advertising revenue stream opportunity at the point of sale, a major SAP upgrade (completed successfully) and a server hardware upgrade that’s helped to cut reporting times by up to half.

The list goes on, with a new transactional web site that was delivered by one supplier which has begun to offer fully integrated e-commerce and merchandise and fulfilment systems.

But almost without exception every IT project under way is designed to provide benefits quickly. And not just the soft benefits that appear in suppliers’ press releases, but the hard financial benefits that appear on retailers’ top and bottom lines.

There is no doubt that retail technology suppliers have had to re-write their chat-up lines to reflect market conditions. But now everyone is jumping into bed with their eyes open, there is a chance that lasting relationships could develop.