A Candid Discussion on the Future of Retail

A group of people around the table in a business meeting

A Candid Discussion
on the Future of Retail

October 16, 2019 | 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
The Parker New York Hotel | NYC

For the third year, the National Retail Federation is bringing together a select group of leading Wall Street analysts, economists and industry executives for an off-the-record discussion about the evolution of retail and the future of shopping.

This elite audience of industry practitioners and observers will hear fact-based, data-driven arguments from all sides of the current debate on the state of retail, with opportunities for participation and engagement.


8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.: Welcome from NRF
9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: Panel #1
10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.: Break
10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Panel #2
11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.: Break
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Panel #3

Panel #1
Reversing Margin Compression

Retailers have been experiencing margin compression due to downward pressure on pricing power and increased expenditures to better compete as the industry transforms. Customers now expect enhanced retail experiences, tighter delivery windows and the ability to seamlessly transact across digital and physical channels – all at a competitive price point. To meet these expectations, retailers have gone through a heavy investment cycle. Are retailers nearing the point where these capital expenditures will begin delivering sufficient ROI to the bottom line, or has this become the new norm for retail margins and profitability? In this panel we will explore the investments retailers are making – or should be making – to widen profit margins across the industry. We’ll also hear examples of how retailers are navigating the challenging conditions and expanding their margins.

Moderator: Kate McShane, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs


  • Praveen Adhi, Partner, McKinsey & Company

  • Jane Nielsen, COO and CFO, Ralph Lauren

  • Rodney Sides, Vice Chairman and U.S. Retail and Distribution Leader, Deloitte LLP

Additional speakers to be announced.

Panel #2
The Balance Between Physical and Digital

The wave of store closures over the past couple years has garnered widespread attention by the media and analysts, as many believe it signifies an industry in decline. What we’re really observing is an industry in transition. The growth of ecommerce is forcing retailers to find an appropriate balance between physical and digital channels and to rationalize their store footprint. We’ll examine the role of the store in modern retail and evaluate if store openings and closings and same store sales are relevant metrics to measure success.

Moderator: Matthew Shay, President and CEO, National Retail Federation


  • Lee Belitsky, CFO, DICK’S Sporting Goods
  • Shea Jensen, SVP of Customer Experience, Nordstrom
Panel #3
NRF Policy Panel

As the nation’s largest private-sector employer, policy decisions made every day in Washington have a profound impact on retailers’ ability to do business and serve their customers. NRF will lead a discussion with policy experts on one of the most pressing issues facing the retail industry today - global trade.

Moderator: David French, SVP of Government Relations, National Retail Federation


  • Scott McCandless, Trade Policy Leader, PwC US
  • Bryan Riley, Director of Free Trade Initiative, National Taxpayers Union

Additional speakers to be announced.

*The NRF Policy Panel is on-the-record. The first two panels are off-the-record.

Interested in attending? Please RSVP using the form below. For questions, contact Karlie Frank.

Required field