Retail Leaders Discuss Industry Trends

Feature Article | April 16, 2013 by Tom Redd

Foto: Fotolia

Foto: Fotolia

The Global Retailing Conference (GRC) is an annual event that is considered one of the top 10 retail events by retail industry communications channels and a “must attend” for many vendors, including SAP Retail. This year over 300 people attended the event, which is sponsored by the University of Arizona.

What makes this event so different? First, the GRC is not a typical vendor-packed conference with everyone trying to sell something. The event has rules regarding “no selling,” and these are strictly enforced. Vendors that ignore these rules are not permitted to return.

Next, the GRC is a learning and sharing platform centered on the retail industry. Executives share their knowledge with both peers and students. At any time during the show, you might find yourself sitting next to and chatting with a CEO responsible for a retail company with 175,000 associates.

Highlights from this year’s Global Retail Conference

Jim Sinegal, co-founder of Costco, talked about pricing, assortments, and the value of a dedicated associate team.

Terry Lundgren, CEO & Chairman of Macy’s, discussed the company’s growth, his recent visit to China, and the expansion of Bloomingdale’s in the Middle East.

Ira Kalish, a top economist at Deloitte and well-known around the world for his economic insights into the retail industry, discussed what the current state of the global economy means for retailers.

Matt Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation, pre-announced the “This is Retail” campaign. The campaign is designed to highlight the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers and how retailers strengthen communities at home and abroad.

Walmart touched on what they are learning from Big Data. One insight they brought up was the link between today’s uncertain financial situation and their sales of diaper rash crème. It seems that parents are changing their kids’ diapers less frequently to cut costs. Thus, the need for more diaper crème!

There were many more informative and inspiring presentations given by leaders in the retail industry; it would be impossible to describe them all in here. Check out Mohamed Amer’s Storify site for a complete overview of the event. And stay tuned to the GRC Web site for upcoming videos of the presentations.

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