IGDS was formed in 1946. Its purpose has been to connect and inform department stores from around the world continuously. Since then the industry has seen enormous change and weathered many crises.  None more so than 2020’s Covid 19 pandemic.

As these challenges and complexities have intensified, our members and stakeholders have shared ever more information to help each other make the right decisions. In this context, our diverse global network of great leaders and executives is of substantial value and immense help.

Today, 43 department store companies from 36 countries across all continents form the Intercontinental Group of Department Stores.

By accepting preferably only one department store per country, we have created an incomparable atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. This environment allows our members to share lessons learned in their respective markets and fields of action. Mutual learning processes such as these are at the core of our service and help our members keep up with developments and trends in today’s fast-moving and digitally-connected world.

Focused events and seminars, tailored to the needs of our members, as well as our Global High Potential programme, KPI Dashboards and IGDS weekly newsletter greatly support our members’ pursuit of innovation and need to be well-informed.

At IGDS, working and collaborating with important partners representing brands, suppliers, vendors and service companies have proved vital. Therefore, we have made them an integrated part of our activities and have also started to build with them, a mutually beneficial eco-system of contacts, meetings, presentations and invitations. These close initiatives are highly appreciated by our members.

Our annual department store Congress brings together over 300 leaders of our industry and its stakeholders. This further cements relationships and drives future thinking for members.

Never in our nearly 75 years of existence has the need for shared learning been stronger than in 2020. Many of our stores are shut. Supply chains are stressed and our people and customers are living with deep uncertainty. IGDS is set to play a pivotal role in leading the industry tirade what no doubt be a changed world as we learn to live with this virus. 

Together, we can better look forward to tackling the many challenges we are going to face. The next years will be as exciting and enriching as the past decades, driven no doubt by the great creativity and innovation that department stores have for so long espoused.

Simon Susman
IGDS President and Honorary President of Woolworths

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