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Good omens for a successful year

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So far, the pet sector has got off lightly in the recession. Although even in our sector sales are down in some countries – mainly in eastern Europe – nothing has changed with regard to the general trend seen worldwide that more and more people own pets and spend an increasing amount on them. This was also demonstrated by the latest pet supplies fairs in St. Petersburg and Guangzhou, which are reported on in detail in this issue of PET worldwide. The mood at both shows was positive; most exhibitors were satisfied with the business they did there, and the number of visitors attending pleased the organisers. And the omens are good for Anido in Belgium too, which will open its doors in Kortrijk in just a few weeks’ time. The organisers are optimistic that the good exhibitor and visitor attendance figures of two years ago will even be surpassed. The positive trend at the most recent trade fairs together with the continuing expansion of the leading pet product retail chains gives rise to the hope that the pet sector will continue to grow in 2010. Let’s take a look at Switzerland: in the last year, the leading speciality chain Qualipet has spent a lot on upgrading its stores. The result is outlets that ignite the imagination of the customers with their attractive themed landscapes. The Qualipet stores in St. Gallen and Chur demonstrate emphatically that investing in shopfitting generally pays off; since the stores were revamped, the number of customers has increased markedly. Just how important a role shop-fitting plays with regard to the success of a retail chain was high-lighted by the company Jos de Vries at the Pet Conference in Wiesbaden in November. Jos de Vries works with several well-known retail groups through-out Europe and boasts extensive experience when it comes to shopfitting. The message conveyed by the company in Wiesbaden was that “the product is the star”, which is tantamount to saying: “Retailers, focus more strongly on the quality of your range in your store’s retail area! Communicate better with your customers! And present high-quality products in a different way to low-price goods.” In tough economic times in particular, when consumers are no longer prepared to part with their money quite so readily, it is important for the pet supplies trade to improve its quality standards and spruce up its retail areas to make them more attractive to the customer. Sowing the seeds now will yield the harvest later when the economy starts to flourish once…
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