The World Department Store Forum (WDSF)

On a biennial basis, the WDSF gathers department stores from all over the world and their global brands, suppliers and partners. The Forum addresses the most important issues of department store retailing from both a visionary and strategic point of view. It is designed for all stakeholders of the retail industry in order to enable them to learn from one another and to achieve closer cooperation. WDSF 2019 is organised by IGDS in collaboration with J. Front Retailing and Japan Department Store Association.

Former WDSF Events

WDSF 2017 in Toronto
Retail executives from around the world, including 45 department store leaders and 120 CEOs, gathered at the Forum. Industry experts, economists, department store executives and academics shared their insights and strategies on ‘Digital and Bricks&Mortar - One Magic Experience’. Sergio Diaz from Al Tayer won the envied title of ‘World's Best Sales Associate at a Department Store 2017’. The event was organized by IGDS in collaboration with Holt Renfrew.

WDSF 2015 in Rome
The fourth WDSF was staged in Rome, organized in collaboration with GruppoCoin. 'Strengthening Emotional Bonds with Customers' was the title of the Forum, which saw a host of CEO speakers revealing their experiences of retailing in a new digital landscape and explaining how they created ‘wow factor’ experiences for their customers. Woolworths won the ‘World’s Best In-Store Campaign' award for its Christmas campaign; Eva Bunzel, from The KaDeWe Group, won the award ‘World's Best Sales Associate at a Department Store’.

WDSF 2013 in Istanbul
The Forum was attended by senior retail executives from around the world, including business leaders from department stores. 16 high-calibre CEO speakers shared their inspiring and thought-provoking insights - which were further elaborated by moderators during subsequent panels - into the most crucial factors affecting the retail industry during a time of significant technological advancement and challenging trading conditions. The two-day Forum theme was 'Taking Performance to the Next Level'.

WDSF 2011 in Shanghai
Delegates from 36 countries - including 54 CEOs from department stores from around the world - attended the second WDSF in Shanghai, co-organized by Bailian Group and IGDS. Carrying the theme of ‘China Impacts Department Stores and Suppliers’, the Forum invited 18 CEO speakers to present their company’s strategies and successful developments.

WDSF 2009 in Moscow
The first WDSF was organized in April 2009 in Moscow, in cooperation with GUM Department Store. The main theme was ‘The Importance and Impact of Flagship Stores’. The Forum, which gathered top executives from the retail industry worldwide, presented 14 seasoned department store and retail CEOs.