CIESThe Food Business held its annual conference in Atlanta last week, aimed at exposing its European membership to the Southeast‘s large retail industry, Tanja Kunz, marketing and membership director for the Paris-based organization, told GlobalFax last week.

            CIES is a global network of more than 200 major food retail and food-and-beverage-related companies worldwide, including Coca-Cola Co., Georgia-Pacific Corp., which provides packaging for the food industry, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.  The event here attracted more than 700 delegates from 37 countries. 

            Conference attendees visited Home Depot Inc.’s operations here to learn more about the company’s retail concept, said Ms. Kunz.  The delegates were particularly interested in Home Depot’s marriage of home improvement and construction products with architectural and support services, she said.  Nothing comparable exists in Europe, she noted, adding that Home Depot has yet to enter the European market.

            The delegates also visited Wal-Mart stores here and a SuperTarget, which combines the Target Corp. store concept with a food market, Ms. Kunz said.

            Speakers over the three-day period included Douglas Daft, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola; Robert Nardelli, president and CEO of Home Depot; Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores; Gerald Storch, vice chairman of Target and Lech Walesa, former president of Poland.

            The conference theme focused on leadership and how globalization is affecting the business retail industry.

            For additional information, visit or call the CIES office in Maryland at (301) 563-3383.