Retail will recover . . . when?

In the wake of the World Retail Conference this week in Barcelona, and a day after chain stores announced smaller declines in April and first quarter sales, it's fair to ask when retail will recover.

At the conference, retailers sought to dampen hopes of a quick recovery from recession. It wasn't just because of the economy, although many retailers warned about a slow recovery, but also because of the industry's tendency to over-expand, changing consumer habits and growing online competition.