Re-Configuring the New State of Retail

The Blueprint for the Future

With retail – both globally and in the US – in a state of revolution, it has never been more important for the industry’s leaders to gain access to the latest insights, intelligence and innovations in order to stay ahead and better be able to respond to change. Retail Leaders Circle represents an unprecedented, invitation-only event that unites an eclectic delegation of influential leaders and industry stakeholders from the across the entire spectrum of the retail and brand industry. Thought leaders and visionaries push the conversation forward, share privileged strategies, network, and discover future opportunities in a unique and transparent format that serves as a catalyst for partnership, growth, and development.

September 12, 2017

08:00 – 08:50:

Registration and Coffee

08:50 – 09:00:

Welcome Address

Introduction and welcome from Retail Leaders Circle.

Panos Linardos, Founder, Retail Leaders Circle


The State of the Retail Industry

It’s no secret that the retail landscape has changed. Clearly, what has worked in the past is no longer relevant and industry leaders must transform in order to not only survive, but thrive. David Jaffe discussed an industry in transformation: causes, implications and go forward strategies.

Speaker:David R. Jaffe, Chairman and CEO, Ascena Retail Group Inc.


Hudson Yards: Creating a Global Neighborhood.

Speaker:Kenneth Himmel, President and CEO, Related Urban
Interviewer:Marigay McKee, CEO and Founder, MM Luxe Consulting


Mastering the Pop-Up Shop: The Key to the Store of the Future

On-demand pop-up retail presents an opportunity for brands to delight customers, generate buzz and gain insights by incorporating smart, connected retail technologies. But integrating this technology is hard. In this session we discuss the concept of plug-and-play pop-up store kits to help agencies reduce design and development time, and deliver the unique digital experiences customers expect and deliver real-time analytics to measure performance.

Moderator:Gwen Morrison, CEO, The Americas, The Store – WPP
Panelists: Ana Pelucarte , Co-Founder, Head of Strategy, Business Development, Pop-up Mob
 Steffen Schenk , Business Unit Director, Barrows Retail Marketing
 Jon Bird , Executive Director, Global Retail& Shopper Marketing, VML

10:15-10:45: Networking Break

Beyond Borders: Building a Successful Brand in the Middle East Market

Luxury in the Middle East is not an easy sell. To succeed there, a brand has to cope with a complicated, multi-country and sometimes unstable region. It has to be relevant to the young, well-travelled, digital savvy and affluent consumer. While changing fast, the local consumer is also proving very specific: craving for exclusivity, constantly in quest for recognition, showing distinctive preferences rooted in a long, yet still vivid, tradition of oriental fragrances and local outfits, Middle Eastern consumers will expect to get a memorable retail experience and compelling storytelling: no surprise in a region well-known for its legendary hospitality and its famous One Thousand and One Nights. The recent explosion of e-commerce in one of the world’s most connected regions is not the least of the challenges ahead.

Based on examples of successful brands in the Middle East, Marcus Freeman will shed the light on what is required for any luxury brand to succeed in the Middle East.

Speaker:Marcus Freeman, Group CFO, Chalhoub Group

11:15 – 11:50:

Tommy Hilfiger on the Power of Disruption

Tommy Hilfiger is one of the world’s leading designer lifestyle brands with a presence in over 100 countries across the globe. For over 30 years, Tommy Hilfiger has led the industry with groundbreaking collaborations, immersive fashion shows and cutting-edge innovation. In a discussion with Marigay McKee, founder and principal designer Tommy Hilfiger shares how disruption, embracing technology and driving innovation have kept his brand at the forefront of the industry.

Speaker:Tommy Hilfiger, Founder and Principal Designer, Tommy Hilfiger
Interviewer:Marigay McKee, CEO and Founder, MM Luxe Consulting


Retail’s Seismic Shift

Either survive and thrive through the biggest and most profound transformation in the history of retailing, by embracing the forces of change and adopting new strategies and therefore new business models, or risk being wiped out. And businesses will do so either proactively by design or reactively by default, or they will be gone.

This enormous disruption is being driven by the combined dynamics of an imbalance of supply and demand, the technology empowered new consumer cohort “weaponizing” the smartphone to gain unlimited and instantaneous access to whatever their heart desires wherever they are and whenever they want it — the consumer is the new POS. And, they are emerging as an entirely new culture with entirely new expectations.What is the industry to do?

State of Industry

Presentation:Robin Lewis, CEO, The Robin Report
Moderator:Gilbert Harrison, Chairman, Financo
Panelists: Stephen I. Sadove, Retired Chairman and CEO, Saks Fifth Avenue & Industry Consultant
 Leslie J. Ghize, Executive Vice President, Tobe, Senior Vice President,Doneger
 Robin Lewis, CEO, The Robin Report

12:30-13:30 Networking Lunch

Powering Growth Through Investments in Retail:
Strategic vs. Financial Buyers

Drilling deeper in the existing consumer and retail environment this session will focus on investments in luxury from both a financial, strategic, and global markets perspective. By bringing four industry leaders together this panel will discuss opportunities and challenges in investing in luxury, and what investors look for in companies they fund around the globe.

Moderator:William Susman, CEO, Threadstone Advisors
Panelists:Richard Jaffe, Industry Analyst
  Graziano de Boni, Former President and CEO, Americas, Philipp Plein Group
 Jill Granoff, CEO, Eurazeo Brands
 Jonathan H. Owsley, Managing Partner, Growth Funds, L Catterton

14:10 – 14:45:

Disrupting Traditional Luxury Online

As digital media and technology are now ingrained in consumers lifestyle the essence of luxury is changing from an emphasis on the physical to a focus on the experiential. This session will explore how online luxury-focused players are disrupting the industry by taking smart approaches to delivering better products and experiences for the digitally-savvy and ever-more demanding consumer, and how the platform’s curatorial approach to e-commerce can help reshape the way people buy luxury online.

Moderator:Alina Cho, Editor at Large, Ballantine Bantam Dell
Panelists:Trey Laird, Chief Executive and Chief Creative Officer,Laird and Partners
 Lauren Santo Domingo, Co-Founder,Moda Operandi
 Jennie Baik, Co-Founder and CEO,Orchard Mile


Keeping Up with Innovation for Retailers and Brands:
Art of Innovation vs. Foundation

Balancing hard-earned investment dollars across all retail initiatives (merchandise,marketing, ecommerce, mobile, technology, operations, people, etc.) is hard enough. With innovation happening faster and CIOs, CMOs and Digital executives having to keep up with the rapid pace of change, it’s important to embrace innovation – but at what rate and at what investment level? When should we chase the aspirational? When should we say “No” (or “Not yet”)? How do we balance our business plans or budgets with innovation vs. foundational investment? In this session, FitForCommerce and a key retailer will discuss challenges and experiences in keeping up with innovation while not losing focus on today’s business. After, we will break out into smaller workshops, led by FitForCommerce consultants, to dig deeper on these challenges and approaches, then wrap up the session with read outs and lessons learned.

Facilitators:Bernardine Wu, CEO, FitForCommerce
  Lisa Gavales, Former CEO , Things Remembered
  Cynthia Kounaris, Chief Strategy Officer, FitForCommerce

15:30-16:00: Networking Break

Stirring Emotions – Making The Human Connection

Emotions differentiate humans from other living things. They make us unpredictable, impulsive and endlessly interesting. When tapped in to, our emotions allow brands to connect in a more relevant way. It is a known fact that consumers are more likely to purchase when they connect emotionally to a brand. Brands and retailers need to translate this understanding of people into an enhanced brand experience which stirs emotions. Alasdair Lennox will discuss how to connect with consumers through distinctive experiences, and how these memorable moments build value for brands. He will also share a preview of Group XP’s 2017 Experience Index, which measures the value of brand experience.

Speaker:Alasdair Lennox, Executive Creative Director, FITCH


The Future of Fragrances in the Beauty Industry

Fragrances has historically been a key category in the beauty industry but now faces cataclysmic challenges in terms of: changing olfactory tastes among millennials, the rise of social media affecting brand choices, shifting distribution channels including the rise of e-commerce, and the emergence of personalization and artisan fragrances in the marketplace. The fragrance category faces key challenges to stay relevant to consumers, appeal to consumers beyond the need for seduction and find a way for generating trail in an electronic, non-brick-and-mortar environment. We will explore in this panel the current state of the category and future opportunities in terms of marketing, distribution, product development and consumer insights that reveals a path toward the future.

Moderator:Steve Mormoris, Former CMO, Coty & Industry Consultant
Panelists:Achim Daub, President, Symrise
 Camille McDonald, Former President, Bath & Body Works
 Armand de Villoutreys, President, Firmenich
 Marcus Freeman, Group CFO, Chalhoub Group

17:15 Wrap Up and Finale


Tommy Hilfiger
Founder & Principal Designer

David R. Jaffe
Chairman & CEO

Kenneth Himmel
President & CEO

Achim Daub

Marigay McKee
CEO & Founder

Armand de Villoutreys

Tony King
CEO & Creative Director

Gilbert Harrison

Alina Cho
Editor at Large

Richard Jaffe
Industry Analyst

Alasdair Lennox
Executive Creative Director

Panos Linardos


Graziano de Boni
Former President and CEO, Americas, Philipp Plein Group

Stephen I. Sadove
Retired Chairman & CEO

Steve Mormoris
Former CMO & Industry Consultant

Jill Granoff

Bernardine Wu
Founder & CEO

William Susman
Managing Director

Trey Laird

Jon Bird
Executive Director

Jonathan H. Owsley
Managing Partner, Growth Fund,

Camille McDonald
Former President

Marcus Freeman
Group CFO

Gwen Morrison
CEO The Americas


Jennie Baik
Co-Founder & CEO

Ana Pelucarte

Leslie J. Ghize
Senior Vice President

Steffen Schenk
Business Unit Director

Cynthia Kounaris
Chief Strategy Officer

Robin Lewis

Lisa Gavales
Former CEO

Download a Brochure

First Name
Last Name
Job Title