Food - restaurants and farm shops- is a big theme with catering 5% in 2008 in a slow market and down 1.5% overall.
The conference is titled "Poised to ride out the recession" and GCA chairman Martin Davies says:
"I strongly believe that we sit in the right sector to weather a plunge in customer confidence. We all know how our good customers love to indulgence themselves and give themselves treats as a kind of happy pill in difficult times.
"So where better to spend their income than in our expanded restaurants, new food halls, improved gift areas and our super plant departments."