World Retail Congress returns to Dubai in April


February 8, 2017 | By RetailME Bureau

The World Retail Congress, which marks the 11th edition this year, returns to Dubai for the second year consecutive at Madinat Jumeirah from April 4-6 2017, by bringing together global retail industry leaders.

Through its rapid commercial expansion and innovative initiatives, Dubai has become the retail industry’s global market leader, making it the ideal location to host one of the world’s most important retail events. Hosting the Congress for the second year highlights the importance the emirate has placed on retail to drive economic growth. National retail sales are predicted to reach $54.5 billion during 2017, with the launch of billion-dollar e-commerce site Noon.com, and an additional 915,000 sqft of new retail space expected to become available during the year.

This year, the three-day Congress will focus on the central theme of ‘Reimagining the Customer Experience’ and bring together 1,500 attendees who will have the chance to hear from over 150 leading retail and industry experts. They will discuss topics such as transformation and disruption within retail, what motivates the increasingly individualistic but connected, consumer and the importance of brand differentiation.

World Retail Congress 2017 will also feature new interactive sessions in response to the constant evolution of the modern retail market to identify key trends and potential areas of growth, with the introduction of the Ideas Factory.

This year’s conference has lined up many high-profile speakers: Terry Lundgren, executive chairman of Macy’s; Laura Xiong, chief branding officer of JD Mall; Manny Chirico, chairman and CEO of PVH Corp.; Fodhil Benturquia, CEO, Noon.com; and Stephan Fanderl, CEO, Karstadt. They will be joined by leading retail experts from the UAE, wider MENA region and across the globe.

“It is with great pleasure that we return to Dubai for the 11th edition of the World Retail Congress, building on the success of last year’s event. As the leading international retail destination and a recognised global trading hub, Dubai is the perfect location for the Congress, bringing together leaders of this $22 trillion global industry – from the greatest retail icons to the most innovative start-ups and disruptors. Through our diverse agenda of talks and interactive workshops from inspirational speakers, centred around ‘Reimagining the Customer Experience’, the Congress will initiate a dialogue focusing on the current challenges facing the retail industry on a local, regional and international level, supported by the very latest ideas and independent research. At the same time, the event will create high-level networking opportunities to build invaluable business connections,” says Ian McGarrigle, chairman, World Retail Congress.

The Congress is the latest of many international events that Dubai Chamber has helped bring to Dubai. The Chamber’s support for the event falls in line with its mission to promote the emirate as a global business hub and an attractive trade and investment destination.

“Dubai is an ideal host city for the World Retail Congress as it’s already a leading retail hub and the preferred market for regional and international retailers. By hosting the Congress, Dubai can more effectively communicate its vision and plans to a global audience, including key initiatives such as the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 and its ambition to become a manufacturing and wholesale hub for the region,” says Hamad Buamim, president and CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Buamim points out that the outlook for the UAE’s retail market looks promising, as a strong consumer base and rising incomes support growth within the sector, adding that the increase in household spending is expected to average 7.1% over the next three years.

He adds that retailers in Dubai are also increasingly looking for new ways to improve customer happiness and embrace innovation, and pointed out that these two themes remain core pillars of the Dubai Plan 2021.

World Retail Congress 2016 was the first Congress to be held outside of Europe and brought together 100 leading retailers and industry experts from over 65 countries, including Tommy Hilfiger, Jo Malone and Solomon Lew. Held under the theme ‘Attracting and Engaging the Modern Customer’, the 2016 Congress discussed and published extensive research on how to engage with customers effectively, and explored how companies could innovate to reinvent the customer experience.

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