The ninth Retail Leaders Circle MENA Summit discussed how the sector can best meet the evolving needs of the region’s consumers and develop for the future.
The tone for the event was set by opening keynote speaker Eng. Ammar Nagadi Vice Minister of Economy & Planning who laid out the Ministry’s strategic priorities for the sector. Laying out the Ministry’s plan for growth, modernisation and optimisation, the Vice Minister said, “Our aim is to lead in the sector. To help shape the future of retail by harnessing the enormous potential of merging technologies and the retail metaverse. To transform Saudi into a regional hub for e-commerce, delivering on the promise of the digital ecosystem through state-of-the-art logistics.”
Conversations on the first day focused on how the retail sector can best integrate technologies, including immersive capabilities like augmented reality into their business models. Panels also considered the role of retail in other growth areas of the economy, including tourism, entertainment and new lifestyle destinations.
The closing session saw regional retail leaders – including Patrick Chalhoub, Group President, Chalhoub Group; John Hadden, CEO, Alshaya Group; Renuka Jagtiani, Chairwoman, Landmark Group; and Mohamad Mourad, managing director and CEO, Cenomi Group – come together to discuss how the sector might collaborate internally and with governments to drive positive change.
The second day turned to the impact on retail of other sectors such as tourism and emerging lifestyle destinations. Speakers also addressed the changing dynamics and increasing capabilities of the payments markets as cash transactions fall below 50% of total retail spend. Also on the agenda was the growing Saudi fashion sector and the emergence of exciting home-grown brands.
“The Ninth Retail Leaders Circle MENA Summit has been an enormous success bringing together the sector leaders and industry pioneers and emphasising the centrality of the Saudi Arabian market to the regional retail ecosystem,” said Panos Linardos, Chairman of the Retail Leaders Circle. “The level of attendance and the quality of the conversation was extraordinary. The Retail Leaders Circle remains passionate about facilitating ongoing engagement and strategic collaboration to drive positive change in this vital sector.”
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