Under the auspices of the International Management Institute, founded in Geneva in 1927 and thanks, in part, to the impetus of Lincoln Filene of the Boston-based William Filene's Sons department store company, the Retail Research Group of Department Stores was born in Europe in the course of 1928 and its office established in Paris. In 1931, the name was changed to the present International Association of Department Stores.
From the beginning, the Association was seen as an organisation which enabled top managers to meet other top managers and discuss problems of common interest. The aim was to develop a more scientific approach to large scale retailing.
Second CEO Meeting in Paris 1929
The activity of the Association revolved, during this period, around the meetings, store visits, and statistical exchanges intended to compare the performance of member firms and provide management with the basis for decisions. This activity continues today and constitutes a unique store of data and analysis.