By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: A gathering of 240 delegates from both retailer groups and suppliers attended the BSR group’s first national conference in New Zealand over the weekend with the company’s first board of directors to be elected tonight.

The event kicked off with the final round of the Rugby Tri-Nations and the Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park Stadium in Auckland, but the rain sodden match and the Australian team’s loss in the Rugby did not dampen the spirits of the BSR camp.

According to delegates contacted by today, impassioned speeches from the BSR representatives, including Ian Brown, focused on the group operating debt free with operating costs of less than 1.5% and the fact that a dividend has already been returned to shareholders. Another speech reportedly mentioned the imagery of a phoenix rising from the ashes to describe the group’s future.

In addition to supplier presentations today, the conference will conclude with the appointing of the group’s first board of five directors as well as the group’s awards night.