Each one of these visionaries and pioneers was handpicked to challenge, inspire and encourage attendees to redefine their brand, explore opportunities, enhance customer experience both in-store and online and constantly embrace changeEllen Davis
NRF SVP of Research and Strategic Initiatives
More than two dozen industry leaders will be featured keynote speakers as close to 35,000 retailers from around the world convene in New York City beginning this weekend for the National Retail Federation’s 106th annual Retail’s BIG Show.
“The level of expertise and insider insights that industry leaders and brand executives will bring to this conference will make this year the most impactful in the show’s history,” NRF Senior Vice President for Research and Strategic Initiatives Ellen Davis said. “Each one of these visionaries and pioneers was handpicked to challenge, inspire and encourage attendees to redefine their brand, explore opportunities, enhance customer experience both in-store and online and constantly embrace change.”
The three-day conference opens on Sunday, when Macy’s Chairman and CEO Terry J. Lundgren, HSNi CEO and NRF Foundation Chair Mindy Grossman, Ashley Stewart Executive Chairman and CEO James Rhee and Walmart U.S. President and CEO Greg Foran will participate in a session titled “Building Tomorrow’s Workforce: How Retailers Are Attracting and Retaining Talent.” The session will discuss how retail employment has grown by half a million jobs since 2012 and is expected to grow by nearly another 1 million by 2022.
Also on Sunday, Deloitte LP Wholesale and Distribution Leader Rod Sides will moderate a session titled “From Data to Delight: An Insight-Driven Revolution of the In-Store Experience.” Sides will be joined by GameStop International Executive Vice President and President Mike Mauler and The Vitamin Shoppe CEO and Chief Health Enthusiast Colin Watts, who will share statistics that matter in measuring and shaping the most impactful experiences with their customers.
At lunch on Sunday, retired Navy captain and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly will address his record-breaking year in space and how he captivated the world while laying the groundwork for the future of space travel and exploration in a session titled “The Sky is Not the Limit: Lessons From a Year in Space.”
Shoes of Prey co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Jodie Fox and Indochino CEO Drew Green will close out Sunday with a session titled “Tailoring The 21st Century Customer Experience,” where they will discuss the future of customization, personalization and perfecting the customer experience.
On Monday, NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay will open the show by discussing The State of NRF and the Retail Industry. His remarks will be followed by A Fireside Chat with Sir Richard Branson, featuring the Virgin Group founder along with Kip Tindell, co-founder and chairman of The Container Store and chairman of NRF.
Later on Monday, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Carrie Ask, executive vice president and president of global retail at Levi Strauss & Co., will speak at a session titled “Driving Retail Transformation: How Data and Smart, Connected Technology Deliver Amazing Customer Experiences.” Krzanich and Ask will outline how the industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation, and how that transformation translates to exciting new experiences for retailers and consumers alike.
Wrapping up Monday, Union Square Hospitality Group Founder and CEO Danny Meyer, Gunther T. Bright, American Express Company executive vice president and general manager for merchant services-U.S., and Phil Wahba, Fortune magazine senior retailer writer, will speak in a session titled “Setting the Table with Danny Meyer – How Focusing on Hospitality Creates Deep Customer Connections.” The session will focus on the success of Meyer’s restaurant brands from fine dining destination Gramercy Tavern to burger joint Shake Shack.
On Tuesday, the show’s final day, Macy’s Lundgren will return to the stage with Federal Reserve Bank of New York CEO William Dudley in a session titled “Evolving Consumer Behavior: A View from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.” Dudley will discuss how consumer behavior has evolved over the last 10 years with a focus on how consumer spending has been financed.
Also on Tuesday, this year’s Retail's BIG Fast Track session will be hosted by XRC Labs founder and Managing Director Pano Anthos and Executive Director Leslie Cohen. The session will feature Joe Beninato, founder and CEO of Banter, Strypes CEO Alexa Fleischman, Perseus Mirrors co-founder and CEO Erik Skantze and ShopShops founder and CEO Liyia Wu. The program will explore how the speakers see the retail industry shifting beyond traditional approaches to everything from customer engagement and personalization to global markets and customer connectivity.
The last keynote session of the show, “Winning Today’s Socially Aware Customer,” will feature IKEA U.S. President Lars Petersson, 500 Startups Entrepreneur in Residence and Venture Partner Tristan Pollock and The Honest Company founder and Chief Purpose Officer Christopher Gavigan. This session will discuss building trust through brand authenticity and fostering genuine consumer relationships paired with a relentless focus on product excellence.
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.