The ARC Retail Conference, which takes place in London on Wednesday September 19th from 1.30pm to 5.15pm, will be addressing the importance of information flow in retail today.
Speakers include senior executives from Woolworth's, Waterstone's, Entertainment UK (a major CD & DVD supplier), and the British Retail Consortium (which is supporting the event prior to its annual dinner the same evening).
In a series of seminars and roundtables, ARC Retail has put together an agenda covering topics such as range and assortment planning, supply chain and multi-channel demand management.
Mike Quintana, Head of Business Development at Entertainment UK (EUK), presents a case study that demonstrates how, by applying analytical and statistical capabilities in the process of planning, forecasting and stock management, it has been able to increase sales, reduce stock and thereby reduce costs in the highly volatile marketplace for CD's and DVD's. By using demand forecasting and promotion planning software through TXT e-solutions, EUK has managed to reduce returns from retailers like Woolworth's, Sainsbury's and Amazon by around 8 per cent.
Oliver Ponsonby, Space Planning Manager at Waterstone's, presents a methodology he has applied to enable the retailer to ensure that their in-store offer is appropriately geared to the customer, while also representative of the Waterstone's brand across its estate. Sophisticated stock management systems ensure that each bookshop has its own unique range profile. Ponsonby will look into the complex relationship between space allocation and demand in retail. He argues that the complexity stems from the fact that it is not only the quantity of the space, but the quality (store location, shelf height, adjacency to other products, and so on), that influences demand.
Another session is dedicated to multi-channel retailing and the need for integrated IT systems that enable retailers to sell products and services from any channel in a consistent and cohesive manner. This single view of demand can help to improve the supply chain as a whole and enable faster and more profitable merchandising promotional decisions. The seminar identifies many of the common problems facing retailers who are competing in a multi-channel environment and explores the impact on consumer shopping patterns and buying behaviour. It promises to give advice on how to get greater value from multi-channel business intelligence. The seminar is led by James Roper, Chief Executive of IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), the industry body for electronic retailing via the internet, mobile, interactive TV and kiosks.
Dr Phil Streatfield, Commercial Supply Chain and I.T. Director of Woolworths PLC, considers the tangible and intangible benefits to retailers of becoming an intelligent business. He argues how access to information can empower employees to investigate, explore and improve business performance, as well as enable them to work more closely together. He also gives an insight into how IT systems can be integrated into a business more cost effectively, by sharing relevant information across applications and processes.
Overall, the conference considers a common theme around the value of usable and reliable information to retail. It explores how, by using the latest in business intelligence and reporting solutions, it is the accessibility of relevant information that enables integration and improved information flow. As well as presenting several case studies that highlight the need for information, roundtable discussions after each seminar will be facilitated by Patrick Ballin, former Global Head of Supply Chain and Logistics Development at The Body Shop.
The conference will be closed by Dr Kevin Hawkins, OBE, Director General of the British Retail Consortium (BRC). He considers the content of the day and makes observations from the BRC's independent perspective. Since he has also just announced his retirement at the end of 2007, this may be one of the last opportunities to hear him speak.
The conference is being held in Mayfair, London, at the five-star May Fair Hotel.
For more details, or to register, please visit http://www.retailconference.co.uk, or call 0845 1309031.