Strikes Different Chords
The 26th Tax Free World Exhibition took place from October 18-22 in Cannes. Overall the total number of visitors was up 8% over last year’s show – 5,398 people from 2,570 companies attended the show, which featured 457 exhibiting companies.
After an initial buzz about double-digit increases in certain markets, it became evidently clear that business chatter gave way to talk about the strikes in France.
L’Oréal’s Jean-Paul Agon’s keynote address focused on the positive sales numbers being achieved around the globe, which was followed by a spirited speech by Martin Lindstrom on the genetics of the subliminal purchasing power of brands.
The relentless Sunday storm had given way to extraordinarily good weather and the positive momentum started its turn. However, within a twenty-four period the corridors while still busy with activity, had taken on a more solemn air as business talk had given way to strike talk. Information was hard to come by as word spread that roads were being blockaded to air traffic controllers who were also honoring picket lines. It then became painfully clear that some buyers from both the Asia and South American countries had decided to forego their journeys for fear of being stuck again not unlike the situation three years ago.
Ironically the strikes hurt all of the companies but most of all the smaller ones looking to write international orders as well as the small businesses in Cannes that rely on the show for a substantial share of their income.
Here are some photos that were taken during the show.
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