Thursday 17 June
10am - 11am


The Future Of Retail


The past year has had a dramatic impact on the retail landscape. We bring together a highly experienced panel who will discuss the challenges that lie ahead. This engaging panel will explore the future of retail considering online vs bricks and mortar, how small retailers can compete in a competitive space, provenance and addressing the consumer experience.

Speakers:
Nicole Vanderbilt
Kate Hills
George McNeil
Andrew Jennings

Chair:
Joan Johnston

Chair

    Joan Johnston
    Founder, Ava Innes / Fashion, Craft & Textile Sector Specialist, XpoNorth

    Joan Johnston has over 20 years’ experience working with global luxury brands in senior creative and commercial roles. From creative design and board director, to business owner and university programme leader, Joan’s wealth of knowledge and expertise encompasses concept development through the design process, to high end client-centred promotion online and service delivery. Most recently Joan has developed an innovative sustainable bedding range using the by-product of the cashmere industry, launched under premium brand Ava Innes.

    Joan is the Fashion, Craft and Textile Specialist for XpoNorth.

Speakers

    Nicole Vanderbilt
    UK Managing Director, Bookshop.org

    UK Managing Director, Bookshop.org

    Nicole Vanderbilt, UK Managing Director for Bookshop.org, has over 25 years of experience in the consumer internet industry, most recently as VP, International at Etsy where she helped almost one million small, creative businesses sell over $1.5bn online annually via Etsy's platform.

    George McNeil
    Managing Director Retail, Johnstons of Elgin

    George is 47 years old and was born and raised in Glasgow, where he started his retail career at the age of 15, working as a weekend member of staff selling tents and the like from Millets of Union Street Glasgow. After working for Millets in excess of 16 years, in a number of different positions, latterly as an Area Manager based from Northampton, George moved to Puma where he ran their UK retail arm for the first year followed by a European Operations role for his second year

    George was then head hunted for the Managing Directors role of the retail division of Johnstons of Elgin where he has been for the past 14 years. Johnstons of Elgin is a textile manufacturing business that is growing their retail arm through the development of their own Johnstons of Elgin brand. This career has led George to call himself a retailer through and through. He has a Master Degree in Business and Administration (MBA) with Strathclyde University.

    He is married to Laura and has been for the past 20 years and they have one child, their son Joshua, aged ten years. Outside of work, George’s time is mainly taken up with spending quality time with family most weekends. Being born and bred in Glasgow he does love his football and is a director with local Highland League football team Huntly FC.



    Andrew Jennings
    Senior Global Retail Executive

    A highly accomplished Senior Global Retail Executive with more than 45 years of achievement leading some of the world’s most respected speciality and departmental stores. These include Harrods and House of Fraser in the UK, Brown Thomas in Ireland, Holt Renfrew in Canada, Saks Fifth Avenue in the USA, Woolworths in South Africa and the Karstadt Group in Germany. He is now based in London working with international retailers and private equity organisations as a Global Retailer, Board Member and Agent of change including Ted Baker (International), Alpha Wealth (SA) and Lion Capital with their PittaRosso shoe business in Italy. Andrew recently joined the Board of Boschendal Wine Estate in South Africa as Chairman. Andrew is actively involved with The Prince’s Trust in the UK as Chair of the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Group which has benefitted from the sales of his highly successful debut book - Almost Is Not Good Enough - how to win or lose in retail

    Kate Hills
    Founder, Make it British

    Kate Hills is on a one-woman mission to save UK manufacturing!With a background in working for several large brands and retailers in design and buying roles, she gave up her corporate career to set up Make it British as a way of supporting UK manufacturers and those companies that wanted to make in the UK.Make it British acts as a platform to promote UK-made brands and manufacturers and aims to raise awareness of all of the fantastic manufacturing that still takes place in Britain.

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