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ATLANTA - CIES - The Food Business Forum is seeking to positively change the image of retail throughout the world, congregants at the international association's World Food Business Summit in Atlanta were told last week. CIES expects its move will help retailers attract and retain employees, and aid in their expansion plans.
While retailers in the United States largely have a positive image, that isn't the case in much of the rest of the world. In many countries, retailers are seen as killing off employment in local shops, and are blamed as being the carriers of food borne illness. "In too many places around the world, working for a food retailer is a job of last resort," said Pierre-Olivier Beckers, CEO of Belgian-based Delhaize Group, and the new chairman of Paris-based CIES.
CIES will issue a combination of papers, white papers and electronic documents explaining the history of retail, its role in the economy and how it reduces inflation. "Retailers can utilize these materials at college recruitment seminars, and when meeting with government officials to open new stores," Beckers said. "We have to fight now and explain what retail is doing."
CIES, which represents 250 retailers and an equal number of suppliers from 45 countries, is first concentrating on its members that provide food. "People realize that once they are in it, retail is a fun job," Beckers said.