Featured sessions

  1. How does a passion for education and workplace skills make good commercial sense? Since its earliest days the Co-op has taken a strong interest in learning and training. Today its Academy Trust Schools and Apprenticeship programme are proving how to create a pipeline of co-operative business talent that understands the importance of both value and values. Co-op Deputy CEO, Pippa Wicks, will be sharing what makes a good business education in the 21st century.
  2. Starting as a Saturday boy, Steve Rowe rose through the ranks to become chief executive of one of the high street’s most established retail names. He took the top role with one overriding objective - to fully transform the M&S brand into a digital first retailer. In conversation with Retail Week executive editor George MacDonald, he will discuss the radical changes he’s making and how he is approaching the challenge, tackling previously considered “tough decisions” as he future-proofs the business to which he owes his career.

  3. In times of such change and when business face so many challenges, strong leadership is essential to ensuring successful, profitable and sustainable business. Even the most successful businesses of today cannot be guaranteed a secure place in the market of tomorrow and it therefore falls upon the leader to make the tough decisions necessary to safe-guard the future success of their business. In this session, we’ll hear from Angela Spindler – CEO of the 140-year-old brand JD Williams, part of N Brown Group - to learn of the tough decisions she’s made and continues to face to ensure it remains relevant in a fast changing world.
  4. New consumer values are radically changing the rules of retail and forcing a rethink on the role of a store. A new set of brand behaviours is required to rebuild trust, reconnect with consumers and re-engage with communities. In an increasingly digitally driven world, how new service strategies will emerge as secret weapons for success. And as society drives towards more global brands, how going local will be the key to being fit for the future. 

  5. At Jack Wills - a growing, founder run business – the team recognise that today’s work will form the backbone of the business as it continues to scale and will ultimately decide its success in the long-term. For a business to be future fit, it must first be digitally fit – so what does it take to transform a business with traditional retail roots into one which is digitally led? In this session we’ll hear from Mark Wright, who is leading the transformation at Jack Wills, to find out where they’re at on their journey and what lessons they’ve learned along the way.
  6. International growth is the mantra for many modern retailers, but how should companies be structured to support this? At footwear and accessories brand Dune, international growth is accelerating and in this session we’ll learn of the structural changes the business has made to ensure its success in new markets. Which decisions have led to success? And what lessons have been learned along the way? 
  7. Following the news that some of the world’s largest FMCG companies have signed up to a new shopping service to start selling their brands direct to consumers, in this session we’ll hear from the man behind the new platform which will allow them to do so.

    Peter Fedchenkov - Founder of INS Ecosystem and CEO & Founder of Instamart – will be speaking on The Flagship Stage to shed light on INS Ecosystem – a new, decentralised grocery shopping platform built on blockchain technology, promising to save consumers up to 30% on everyday shopping – with insight into what it will mean for retailers, brands and consumers.

  8. Let’s face it, retail isn’t the sexiest industry to work for and retailers have a big job to do to compete for hot digital talent with the disruptors and tech giants of this world. However, there are some who are winning this war. So what have they done to attract talented digital minds? Do cool products count for everything? What makes their company culture so appealing? And what have they done to accelerate the digital skills of existing talent? What can other retailers do to see the same success?  
  9. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to power the next industrial revolution, by reinventing business and reshaping the global economy. Retail will not be immune to the impact of AI. In particular, machine learning, robotics and internet of things have the potential to dramatically alter business models and reshape how all companies, not just retailers, interact with their customers. Existing applications such as chatbots, virtual assistants, image recognition and smart shelves, are already improving productivity and efficiency, as well as enhancing the customer experience. AI will redesign processes and restyle the workforce and jobs of the future.  We will be bringing together the leaders in this area to explore where AI can take us as a society and how quickly this might happen in retail and beyond. You will get a glimpse into the future of how this technology will transform the way we live, shop, work and play.
  10. How are pure-play operators offering a superb customer experience? Understanding the investment required for implementing technology which offers a great on-line shopping experience and ensuring a great ROI. And using data to get to know customers and offer a personalised service. 
  11. Experiential is a trend which continues to gain momentum in the industry but, how precisely do you calculate the value of an experiential initiative? In this session we’ll hear from organisations with experiential at the heart of their business to find out how they calculate its value. They will share case studies of some of their most successful experiential initiatives, with facts and figures to demonstrate the impact they had on business.
  12. In this session, a panel of digital experts will discuss the differences between how they work in comparison to their non-digital colleagues – including culture, working methodologies and terminology. In particular, they will focus on the benefits, challenges and misconceptions of Agile working. They will also provide insight into what digital talent may look for in an employer and place of work.
  13. Data is the new second language that should be learnt to push the limits of the current state of retail. The data economy has created new, unprecedented openness that must be echoed by retailers to remain competitive. More explicitly, data is becoming a key measure of whether a company will remain relevant through the digital revolution. ManoMano is a marketplace founded on and centred around data and in this session we will find out why they place so much importance on data, with insight into the results they’ve achieved because of it.
  14. See now, buy now. Consumer demand in trend-driven segments is increasingly challenging to meet. Why does Lesara believe that a speedy supply chain alone or an extensive S&OP planning is not the answer? Who is David Odonkor? And how would a mathematician argue with Karl Lagerfeld?

  15. The world is changing and with it are customer’s needs and demands. In order to survive, the businesses of tomorrow will need to be adaptive, innovative and offer much more than a stand out product. So what can today’s leaders do to prepare? In our opening keynote we will hear from Jeremy Darroch, CEO of Sky, to gain exclusive insight into the evolution of Sky over his 10 years at the top and how Sky’s constant renewal is driven by putting customers at the heart of every decision. 
    Some of the questions we will consider are: What role does company culture and innovation play in improving customer centricity? How important is it to build a diverse workforce? Why is delivering on purpose as well as profit more important than ever?
  16. It is more important than ever to understand the profound technology-enabled switch in power from businesses to consumers. Pure Gym’s CEO, Humphrey Cobbold, will describe what he has learned riding the white-knuckled growth rollercoaster, first as a retail CEO at Wiggle and more recently at the UK’s largest gym operator – now approaching 200 sites. Both these businesses have been highly disruptive in their markets but that does not mean the ride has been smooth or easy. Humphrey will discuss the importance of remaining in touch with consumers, and the need to craft strategies that are both courageous and adaptable. It is not easy – but nobody said it would be!

  17. FMCG and retail have one common goal – to ensure a happy customer. So are current relationships between the two structured in a way which best serves the customer? If not, how can these relationships be changed? In this session we’ll hear from both retailers and FMCGs, to find out how they think this important intersection between industries could be enhanced.

  18. Following up on Retail Week’s analysis piece on where staff love to work, this session will host a panel of retails highest rated employers, so hear how they’ve supercharged their strategies for recruiting and retaining talent. How have they created inclusive and positive working environments? And what do they offer their employees?

  19. John Rogers will share his opinions on how the role of stores and online shopping is changing in the UK and what the future may hold over the next five years.  How are customers’ shopping habits changing? How are retailers responding to these challenges and what is the role that technology will play in shaping our retail future?  What sort of leadership is appropriate to ensure that the challenges facing the retail industry can be met successfully?

  20. With the role of the store changing, retailers are now placing larger emphasis on store design and service offerings to drive footfall. So where better to look to for inspiration than the restaurant industry?