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Retail & Consumer

FT Future of Retail Summit

The Changing Role of the Physical Store

London |
Speakers include:
Mark Vandevelde

Mark Vandevelde

Financial Times

Seth Ellison

Seth Ellison

Levi Strauss and Co

Jamie  Murray Wells OBE

Jamie Murray Wells OBE



For UK and European retailers wanting to stay ahead of the game, the 2nd annual FT Future of Retail summit brings iconic global brands and exciting new startups into one lively space to share their thoughts on the future of the shop, and shopping. Translate their insights and analysis into bottom-line impact for your business: more customers, higher sales, increased profits. 

fallback Add to my Calendar 09/19/2017 08:00:0009/19/2017 17:30:00trueFT Future of Retail SummitFor UK and European retailers wanting to stay ahead of the game, the 2nd annual FT Future of Retail summit brings iconic global brands and exciting new startups into one lively space to share their thoughts on the future of the shop, and shopping. Translate their insights and analysis into bottom-line impact for your business: more customers, higher sales, increased profits. FT-Future-of-Retail-Summit411e3fb3880f4424a1e994d75085a337MM/DD/YYYY

2016 photos

See the 2016 photos here



Full Overview

The future of the shop: Identity crisis & metamorphosis

These days, with e-tailers offering free delivery, endless choice, very competitive pricing, and painless returns policies - all from the comfort of the living room sofa - what’s the point of going to the shops? It’s a question that, in the face of declining margins and footfall across all markets and in all retail segments - traditional retail CEOs are working very hard to address. The answer lies in interrogating the idea of the physical shop itself: “what is a shop, and what is it for?” Getting the answer to this right, and transforming the physical space accordingly, is key to survival in the bricks and mortar retail world.

There is no doubt that being a physical shop has its advantages, but in order to continue to drive growth alongside (and in partnership with) its virtual online self, the physical store is going through an accelerated metamorphosis. Shops can no longer just sit hopefully on high street. They have to turn themselves into destinations (exciting ones), into places where people with broad knowhow (not just basic product expertise) can be easily accessed. They need to get much better at taking and fulfilling orders. And the physical store itself – through sensor and other technologies - will have to get much, much smarter at figuring out what customers want.

Accomplishing a successful metamorphosis brings with it some painful challenges and difficult decisions. Speakers at the FT Retail Summit will reveal the decisions they are making, and the strategic and operational implications these decisions imply. 


Agenda - 19th Sep

  • 8:00am
    Registration and Networking
  • 9:10am
    Chair’s Opening Remarks

    Mark Vandevelde, Global Retail Correspondent, Financial Times 

  • 9:30am
    Opening Keynote Address: The Future of Retail
  • 9:45am
    Opening Panel: The Changing Role of the Shop

    What do retailers need to do now to ensure they are physically fit for the future?

    Jamie Murray Wells OBE, Industry Head, Retail, Google
    Seth Ellison, EVP and President for Europe, Levis Strauss
    Matt Farrell, Director, Trophaeum

  • 10:30am
    Disrupting Industries from Uber to UberEATS: Virtual storefronts transforming food retail

    Jambu Palaniappan, Regional General Manager, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, UberEATS

  • 10:45am
    Noises Off: Delegates discuss the morning sessions
  • 11:00am
    Networking tea and coffee break
  • 11:30am
    Talk of the Town: Redefining the Physical Store

    A fireside chat with Rachel Shectman, founder and CEO of STORY, the New York concept store that's thrown out the old bricks and mortar retail rulebook.

  • 12:00pm
    New Retail: Insights into the Chinese Consumer

    In the next 3 years, Chinese consumers will increase their level of consumption by at the very least the size of the UK economy and over the next five years will roughly equal a market 1.3 times the size of Germany or the UK. As the Chinese consumer population grows, the move into a ‘new retail’ is becoming increasingly evident. Chinese consumers no longer want to purchase items, they want a relationship and an experience with brands, and the successful brands are the ones who partner with the consumer.

    Terry von Bibra, General Manager, Europe, Alibaba 

  • 12:30pm
    Are you keeping up with the competition?

    Using global benchmark data to identify where to focus on profitable growth.

    James Hammersley, CEO, Good Growth

  • 12:45pm
    Start-up spotlight: Innovating the retail supply chain

    Catherine Mahugu, Founder, Soko
    BBC’s top 100 Women. Forbes top 30 entrepreneurs (globally)


  • 1:00pm
    Networking Lunch
  • 2:15pm
    View from the Top Interview

    The Wider Context - Responsible and responsive retail

    As efficiency-driving in-store technologies and vehicle automation begin to change the composition of the retail workforce, and as stores close and downsize, how is government and the private sector responding in order to mitigate the societal impact of these structural changes in the retail sector?

    - reskilling the retail workforce
    - repurposing abandoned physical retail spaces for the benefit of local communities

  • 2:45pm
    Panel: Integrating Shop, online & mobile

    Integrating all platforms to produce the seamless experience the modern shopper wants is central to winning more customers, boosting sales and increasing profits. Our panelists will discuss some of the pitfalls to avoid and lessons they’ve learned along the way – so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes.

    Chaired by Sanjay Bailur, Director, Alix Partners

  • 3:15pm
    Start-up spotlight: The Future of Delivery

    Tim Robinson, CEO, Doddle

  • 3:30pm
    The Retail CEO panel

    Vanguard CEOs discuss the evolution of the physical store and look at how they are dealing with some of the other challenges - commodity prices, consumer behaviour, retail tech and Brexit - hurtling over the horizon at them.

    Peter Williams, Founder & CEO, Jack Wills
    Oliver Meakin, CEO, Maplin

  • 4:30pm
    Closing remarks and end of conference

Speakers (13)

Mark Vandevelde

Mark Vandevelde

Global Retail Correspondent
Financial Times

Mark Vandevelde is the FT's global retail correspondent. He previously worked in private equity and at Bain & Company, the consultancy, where his assignments included cold-calling the Three Mile Island nuclear power station in New Jersey to ask about the price of a gadget called a scintillation counter. After a stint in New York studying philosophy, he joined the FT as an editorial writer, and has also edited the paper’s opinion pages. 

Seth Ellison

Seth Ellison

Executive Vice President and President, Europe
Levi Strauss and Co
Jamie  Murray Wells OBE

Jamie Murray Wells OBE

Industry Head, Retail

Jamie Murray Wells OBE is Industry Head, Retail, at Google, leading a team that looks at store, web, mobile and marketing experiences of the future. They support UK retailers on best practice, and close the loop to Google product teams on feedback from the industry. Prior to Google, Mr Murray Wells founded and lead Glasses Direct for 10 years, during which it became Europe’s largest online glasses retailer. He served as an advisor for 3 years on the Shadow Chancellor's New Enterprise Council from 2007-2010, after which he co-founded entrepreneurship campaigning organisation StartUp Britain at No.10 Downing Street, which was announced in the Chancellor’s 2011 budget speech, personally launched by the Prime Minister, and is still active today. In 2009 Jamie received the Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion. He was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2015.

Peter Williams

Peter Williams

Founder and CEO
Jack Wills

Peter Williams established Jack Wills in 1999, as a single shop in the seaside town of Salcombe, Jack Wills has since expanded to become an international brand with 90 stores (and counting) across the globe, including those in the UK, US, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Middle East, and currently shipping to 130 countries worldwide via

Jack Wills is a British fashion and lifestyle brand that has always believed in creating premium clothing and accessories for people who appreciate design, quality and attention to detail. It’s known for heritage inspired classics with a contemporary twist and is proud to fly the flag for Britain around the world, whether through a collaboration with a Yorkshire mill or the Jack Wills Seasonnaires’ summer on the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Authenticity, honesty and irreverence are just three of the qualities woven into the ‘Fabric of Jack’ and this company ethos has stood fast for 18 years.

Peter Williams founded Jack Wills at the age of 23, having graduated from UCL with a degree in economics. He returned to the position of CEO in August 2015, having stepped away in 2012, and has since orchestrated a buy-out with BlueGem, owner of the iconic Liberty brand and department store in London, driving forward the reinvigoration of the Jack Wills brand.

Terry  von Bibra

Terry von Bibra

General Manager, Europe
Alibaba Group

Terry von Bibra was appointed Alibaba Group General Manager Europe in October 2016. He is also managing director of Alibaba Group Germany, a position he has held since November 2015.
He is responsible for helping businesses and consumers across key European markets access the Alibaba ecosystem and brings a wealth of experience in global omnichannel retail, e-commerce and marketing to the role.

Prior to joining Alibaba, Mr von Bibra was chief omnichannel retail officer for German department store chain Karstadt from 2013 to 2015. Between 2005 and 2013, he held multiple roles within Yahoo, including managing director of Yahoo Germany, vice-president of central Europe and marketplaces vice-president for Yahoo EMEA. He previously played a pivotal role in establishing Amazon in Europe, where he led online marketing and business development for more than five years.

He holds a bachelor's degree in Germanic languages and literature from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a fine arts degree in advertising photography from the Art Center College of Design, and an MBA/MBI from the Rotterdam School of Management.

Sanjay Bailur

Sanjay Bailur

Managing Director

Sanjay Bailur co-leads the EMEA Retail and Consumer Products practices for AlixPartners. With over 27 years of experience in helping both healthy and under-performing companies, he has helped clients to improve profitability and cash flow, both in an advisory and in an interim management role.

His expertise covers the spectrum from strategic problem solving through to operational implementation, working with multichannel retailers to drive EBITDA and cash flow using a wide range of levers including revenue growth (pricing, range optimisation, channel optimisation) as well as cost reduction (SG&A, buying, supply chain) and working capital improvements. He has deep experience in working with large global corporates as well as private equity portfolio companies, particularly in developing value creation plans and full potential programmes. He is a frequent speaker on the key issues facing the retail industry.

He holds a BSc(Econ) honours degree in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the London School of Economics and an MBA from the London Business School.

Rachel Shechtman

Rachel Shechtman

Founder & CEO

Rachel Shechtman has always believed in the power of objects to tell human stories. Stories that connect, inspire and engage. As the founder of NYC concept store STORY, she has created a venue where these stories come to life inside a 2000-square foot space that takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store. It’s retail as theatre - a living magazine where the objects pique our sense of wonder.

Ms Shectman’s journey to create STORY was informed by a 10-year career as a consultant, founding Cube Ventures as an independent firm that introduced brands like TOMS, Bliss Spas, Kraft Foods, JC Penny, and the CFDA to the power of non-traditional, merchandise-driven storytelling. However, with four generations of retail entrepreneurship in her DNA, she had always flirted with the idea of owning her own store.

In December 2011, she took the leap and opened STORY – a challenge to reinvent and rethink the traditional brick and mortar business model. As she saw it, retail had more to say and brands had the opportunity to reach customers and new ways beyond traditional adverting – but it would require doing everything differently. So STORY invented its own model, “Retail Media” to embrace these observations and opportunities. In place of articles, STORY would curate merchandise and events around a specific conversation as its editorial narrative. And partner brands would serve as sponsors for the experience, benefitting from the exposure and opportunity to experiment, create content and generate awareness in a new format.

Today the ever-changing store has told over 37 unique branded stories, updating its themes to include Color, Well Being, and an annual Home for the Holidays installation. In five years it has successfully partnered with companies including Intel, American Express, Target, Microsoft, and Cigna – each benefitting from Rachel’s special sauce of content, community, and commerce.

STORY’s approach to retail has become a new North Star for the industry and the business has been widely lauded by press including features in the New York Times, Ad Age, and WWD. Rachel has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Fortune’s 40 Under 40 List, Crains’ 40 Under 40 list, Ad Age’s Most Creative People, and was awarded the FGI Rising Star Award for Retail.

As the business evolves, Ms Schectman’s passion for giving people a space to share their stories remains steadfast. She has become a champion of the creative entrepreneur, whether stocking STORY’s shelves in items from local Makers or inviting a chef to host a cooking class. Rachel serves as a trusted advisor to a number of start-ups including SmartyPants, Birchbox and MikMak and she was recently named to the Board of Directors of the National Retail Federation – its youngest member.

Matt Farrell

Matt Farrell


Matt Farrell is Director at Trophaeum, a retail-focussed Landlord in Central London. He overseas the retail portfolios of Albemarle Street and St John’s Wood High Street, a position he has held since August 2015. Mr Farrell is responsible for the Albemarle Street strategy as an emerging retail location, and re-establishing St John’s Wood High Street as a vibrant lifestyle destination whilst retaining the area’s inherent charm. His knowledge and expertise is vital in bringing in key brands to ensure a strong mix of occupiers at each destination.
He studied Real Estate at University in Glasgow went on to work at Invista Real Estate. Subsequent to that, he acquired a wealth of experience during five years at Grosvenor, working on their Mayfair retail assets including the regeneration of Mount Street.

Tim Robinson

Tim Robinson


Tim Robinson founded Doddle in March 2014 while still serving as the Managing Director, Sussex, for Network Rail. Since then, Doddle has opened more than 80 parcel stores for consumers to collect and return their online shopping, gaining the company a NPS of 82. Prior to joining Network Rail, Mr Robinson spent 10 years in executive roles spanning the UK rail freight sector for Global Infrastructure Solutions, the English, Welsh and Scottish Railway and GB Railfreight.

Oliver Meakin

Oliver Meakin

Maplin Electronics

Oliver Meakin has been CEO of Maplin Electronics since June 2015, having joined as Commercial Director in July 2012. Prior to that, Oliver ran Miller & Carter Steakhouse restaurant chain for Mitchell’s & Butlers as Brand Operations Director, also launching a Pan-Asian casual dining brand called TUK CHO (from December 2010 to July 2012). And before that, he was Strategy, Business Development & Business Systems Director at Somerfield supermarkets (from May 2006 – May 2009).

Oliver started his career at Bain & Company, management consultants, focusing on Retail & Consumer clients and supporting Private Equity companies with Commercial Due Diligence and post-merger integration. He was at Bain from September 1998 – May 2006.

James Hammersley

James Hammersley

Good Growth

James founded Good Growth and is co-author of the book ‘Leading Digital Strategy’.  James is responsible for ensuring all clients grow their businesses through working with Good Growth.  James has expertise across Digital Strategy, CRM and CRO and has had the privilege of working with some of the largest and most successful UK and global brands.  He holds a finance and management first degree and went to the University of Cambridge to complete a postgraduate course in management.  

Jambu Palaniappan

Jambu Palaniappan

Regional General Manager, Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Jambu Palaniappan is the Regional General Manager for UberEATS in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He oversees market strategy, expansion and operations for UberEATS and is currently focused on launching the business in new cities across the region.

Previously Jambu was the Regional General Manager for Uber in the Middle East, Africa and Central Eastern Europe. In this role, Jambu oversaw the rides business in over 25 countries in the region. He joined Uber in the summer of 2012 and has been a key part of Uber's growth into almost 350 cities across 60+ countries worldwide. Jambu grew up in Silicon Valley and studied Public Policy and Economics at Vanderbilt University, before going on to work in corporate development in the tech industry.

Catherine Mahugu

Catherine Mahugu


Catherine Mahugu is a seasoned techpreneur, change-maker, sustainable luxury enthusiast, youth empowerment champion and a strong advocate of gender equality and equity.

She is the founder of Soko (, an ethical fashion brand that expands access to economic opportunity for artisans in emerging economies.

At Soko, she has effectively overseen the end-to-end operational execution and delivery of products to over 450 international retailers, several large brands such as Nordstrom, Fossil, QVC, TJMaxx, Edun, Esprit, Anthropologie and global e-commerce consumers. Notable press that has featured Soko products include Vogue and Glamour magazine. Celebrities such as Lupita Nyongo, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey and Emma Watson have been styled with Soko's jewellery. By driving and supporting technology innovation at Soko, she has contributed to transforming the traditional global supply chain.

She was featured in Forbes Magazine as one of the top 30 under 30 in 2015 and 2016. She has also been featured on CNN, CNBC and other mainstream media.


Who attends?

Attendance at the FT Future of Retail Summit is exclusively for senior UK and European retail executives, including:

  • Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)
  • Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), Heads of Marketing
  • Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), Heads of Finance
  • Chief Digital Officers, Heads of Digital, Heads of Online, Heads of eCommerce, Heads of Omni-Channel, Heads of Multichannel
  • Chief Customer Officers, Heads of Customer Experience, Heads of Loyalty
  • Chief Operating Officers (COOs), Heads of Operations
  • Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Heads of Information Systems, Chief Technology Officers (CTO), Technology Directors
  • Heads of Procurement, Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs), Heads of Supply Chain
  • Heads of Retail Operations, Heads of In-Store Experience, Heads of Retail
  • Heads of Human Resources (HR), Heads of Personnel

Benefits of Attending

Don’t be wrong-footed by what you think is in store. Discover what is in store for the physical shop of the future. 

Join our very high level audience of retail CEOs and their leadership teams from across the UK and Europe, and in just one day you will:-

  • Hear exciting retail start-ups and iconic global brands share their thoughts on the future of the physical shop
  • Translate speaker insights and analysis into bottom-line impact for your business
  • Mix with some of the brightest minds in retail. Return to work feeling confident that your next move will be the right one. They did it. So can you
  • Learn new things, meet new people, discover new approaches, have new conversations, and begin to move your business in new and more profitable directions 
  • Grow your list of influential business contacts from across the retail ecosystem


Ticket Type                                                           Fee

Early Bird Rate(until 31 July 2017)                    £495 + VAT

Standard Rate                                                      £795 + VAT



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The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Providing essential news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community, the FT has a combined paid print and digital circulation of 840,000. Mobile is an increasingly important channel for the FT, driving more than half of total traffic.

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Move Now Luxury Brokers & Advisors deliver custom made transaction services for luxury retail real estate on three continents.
Wir realisieren selbst für komplexeste Anforderungen bei Transaktionen von Miet- und Kaufverträgen in Retail-Luxuslagen passgenaue Ergebnisse auf drei Kontinenten.
Nous proposons un service personnalisé pour les transactions immobilières commerciales de luxe sur trois continents.
Forniamo servizi personalizzati per transazioni immobiliari per il luxury retail in tre continenti. 
Мы предоставляем персональные услуги по сделкам с элитной недвижимостью на трех континентах. 

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In today’s fast paced global market timing is everything. That means more change with more urgency. To meet these challenges we offer clients small teams of highly qualified experts with profound sector insight and operational experience. Our clients include senior management and boards of leading companies, private equity and other investment firms, law firms and others who appreciate the candor, dedication and focus of our teams. We are committed to protecting, growing and transforming businesses where and when they need it most.