Wednesday, 26 January 2011 00:11 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka’s premier fashion and lifestyle brand ODEL has been conferred membership of the Intercontinental Group of Department Stores (IGDS), the largest association of department stores in the world.

This prestigious membership puts ODEL, the only IGDS member from Sri Lanka, in the company of some of the leading and most prominent department stores in the world including Selfridges, Saks 5th Avenue, Printemps, Parkson, Beco, FEDS, Shopper’s Stop, M&S and Woolworths.

By obtaining IGDS membership ODEL has the potential to further enhance its operations, by utilising the services provided by the organisation to its members, the company said. IGDS acts as a platform for interaction between CEOs, senior managers and specialists of member organisations, organises conferences and seminars on pressing issues; explores and supports synergies between members and collects and disseminates information on the latest industry practices.

“We are very pleased with this membership as the screening process is stringent and members are handpicked due to the strict requirements that have to be met,” Otara Gunewardene, ODEL founder and CEO said.

“The IGDS membership positions ODEL as a leading department store with a strong brand and retail presence in the region, and puts Sri Lanka on the global shopping map.”

IGDS President and CEO of Shopwise/Rustan, Philippines Bienvenido Tantoco and IGDS Executive Director Werner Studer in a joint statement said: “The Board is very proud to welcome Odel in our group and we are convinced that the membership will be of mutual benefit and prosperity in the years to come.”

“Odel has convinced the IGDS Executive Board who is approving membership by its clear business plan, unique positioning and solid execution and implementation. IGDS is proud to accompany Odel on its future growth path. In return, IGDS members are going to benefit from the country specific know-how and information provided by Odel Limited in particular when it comes to sourcing from Sri Lanka or exchanging private label programmes.”

IGDS was founded in June 1946 in Lugano (Switzerland) by eight European Department Stores. The key drivers to create IGDS were the need to share expertise and to combine purchasing power.

The organisation comprises of one of the most unique and vibrant retail networks in the industry: 33 members from 31 countries, with total sales of over US$ 60 billion. Membership is exclusively reserved to leading Department Stores worldwide and limited, normally, to one member per country/region. The admission of a new member is subject to the acceptance of a majority of existing members.