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Global Retail Forum (GRF), the world’s leading global retailer network that brings international retail leaders together to accelerate networking and business building is launching its first major conference at Retail Business Technology Expo, Europe’s fastest growing retail event, running a whole series of meetings with key industry speakers during the Expo in their own dedicated 100 seat theatre. This will provide retailers with the chance to take part in a unique opportunity to network with their peers and hear from the leading lights of the retail industry.
GRF is one of the biggest Global Retail professional networks for senior retailers, and its members are from almost every country in the world. GRF connects like-minded contacts and helps exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a much broader network of retail professionals.
Retailers will be able to rub shoulders with their industry peers in this exclusive event. The panel meetings are based around specific business areas within retail and will be hosted by a key industry speaker along with a carefully selected panel of experts to provide their views on today’s hot topics as well as field attendee’s questions.
The overall Chair is Mark Eve, Chairman of GRF who will also be hosting a reception for GRF attendee’s at 4pm on both days. The GRF meetings at Retail Business Technology Expo are sponsored by SAP.
The first session on March 13th will cover Merchandising. Chaired by Richard Fitzpatrick, CEO and founder of Retailmap, with panelists including Tom Enright, Business Solutions Manager; Marks & Spencer, Mary Lawrence, International Head of Merchandising, New Look and Neil Burns, ex-Head of International, Peacocks Group, topics covered will include ‘Global price and margin management strategies, what the experts say’. “Domestic markets stagnate and every major retailer turns to international market expansion for continued growth. With this global activity comes saturation and competition. Attendees will hear how the smartest global retailers are using the science of price architecture to optimise their market position whilst maintaining profit margins to secure their long term growth strategy,” commented Fitzpatrick.
The Marketing session will look at ‘How digital marketing drives deeper consumer engagement and sales’, and will be chaired by Gordon Lee, Marketing Director of Accolade Wines, with a panel including Melissa Loddo, Digital Marketing Manager, New Look; Alex Wright, Managing Director, Friday and Darryl Owen, Head of Trading Industries, EMEA, SAP
Jayne Rafter, Publisher, Retail & Leisure International will chair the Business Management stream, where the area of ‘International growth: the right strategy for your business’ will be debated by Nigel Darwin, Managing Director International, New Look; Miles Young, General Manager, Landmark International and Marc Christian-Riebe, Founder of Location Group. Rafter commented, “we’ll be looking at Retails recession beaters, which retailers are still losing sleep with their bricks and mortar business and which are very much alive, attendees will hear what the global business leaders panel have to comment about; London, Forever 21 pays record 17 million euros; Milan, Prada pays 24 million euros for Galleria Vittorio Emanuele 11 space and New York, Jeff Sutton paid Escada 25 Million to vacate the store.”
A special session is also being hosted, ‘Jayne Rafter’s On-The-Couch’ interview with Iain Burton, Founder of Aspinal of London, which is expected to draw a great attendance. This will be followed by a focus on Supply Chain. Peter Magill, Vice President, Global Development Retail, DHL Supply Chain will be chairing the panel who will discuss ‘behind the numbers: How supply chain operations drive financial results, avoiding the pitfalls retailers make when expanding internationally’.
The 2nd day will kick off with Legal, where a team of experts including Maninder Gill, Partner, Simons Muirhead & Burton; Tom Purton, Head of Commercial, Travers Smith; David Ives, partner, Slaughter and May and Varinder Rehal, Senior Commercial Lawyer, ASDA/George will look at legal challenges that could prevent your brand from being a success overseas.
The Finance session, ‘Navigating through the economic headwinds and structural changes’, chaired by Dougald Middleton, Partner, Head of Capital and Debt Advisory, Ernst & Young, with Martin Carr, Independent Retail Advisor and Charles Lamplugh, Lead Relationship Director, Retail Sector, Large Corporate, Lloyds Bank will be followed by the IT stream. Tristan Rogers, CEO, ConcretePlatform will be leading a discussion on maintaining brand values whilst driving growth in international expansion with Richard Wolff, Head of International consulting at Javelin and Venn Luscombe-Mahonney, Head of IT, Alshaya UK.
Rogers commented, “The domestic market is in free fall, capital expenditure has been cut, yet international trade is growing fast and the Board want detailed knowledge of overseas store performance. The problem is, no-one really knows what’s going on overseas other than the monthly rolled up sales results! What can you do? Listen to the views of three experience retailers on how they brought visibility and accountability to international retail practice.”
The day will be rounded off with an eCommerce theme, where Andrew McClelland, Chief Operations & Policy Officer, IMRG will be tackling ‘best practices in developing your eCommerce offer alongside international bricks and mortar expansion strategy’ with panelists including Dan Lumb, eCommerce Director, Reiss. “With international sales growing at expediential rates for some retailers, time has come to fully commit the resources and funds to enter new emerging market online and offline. But what’s the correct strategy? What are the pitfalls of entering new territories, do you have the right local for distribution, who’s your target market, how will new stores work… “McClelland said. “IMRG will bring together a number of multichannel retailers to discuss international expansion and bring some light into the process of setting up shop in and past the European Union.”
Mark Eve, Chairman of Global Retail Forum, said, “The role of technology and business solutions are crucial enablers to successful efficiencies in a brands international growth. The GRF was founded to aid retailers in simplifying global retailing, so understanding the use of today’s technology was integral to supporting the GRF mission statement. For this reason the GRF has partnered with Retail Business Technology Expo to offer our global industry colleagues an exceptional opportunity to come together in probably one of the best cities in the world – London, to network and talk about the opportunities, issues and challenges that retailers face in today’s economic climate.”
The full GRF programme can be seen at:
http://www.retailbusinesstechnologyexpo.com/Content/Global-Retail-Forum-Programme. Entrance to the Expo and GRF meetings are free to attend but booking is required for each meeting. They are only open to senior retailers from large retail companies (500+ employees). You can register for the GRF meetings by CLICKING HERE
Retail Business Technology Expo and Cards & Payments Solutions 13-14 March 2012 at London’s Earls Court, South Hall. Follow http://www.retailbusinesstechnologyexpo.com/ for more information on visiting and exhibiting.