Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 29, 2021 – The Retail Leaders Circle, powered by The New York Institute of Management, announces the key partners of its 7th MENA Summit which will link leading industry figures and stakeholders on 29, 30, and 31 March 2021, under the theme “The Great Retail Reset: Disruption, Resilience, and the Power of Collaboration“.

Some of the most influential leaders across retail and commerce including Visa, Facebook, Chalhoub Group, and Tik Tok will share their insights and expertise at the Virtual Summit that kicks off on Monday, 29 March at 1:30 PM Dubai Time.

“In a time when retail is in the midst of an unprecedented moment of change, Retail Leaders Circle is playing a critical role in helping lead the retail industry through its recent period of upheaval. Stream One of the 2021 RLC MENA Summit brings virtually together another unrivaled line-up of prominent leaders with a shared commitment to shape the industry agenda,” commented Panos Linardos, Chairman of Retail Leaders Circle. “Our engaged partners reflect our ambitions to further build on Retail Leaders Circle heritage as the most significant regional industry meeting of the year, and help us create a new blueprint for a sustainable and brighter future following the Pandemic.”

The world’s leader in digital payments, Visa, joins the 2021 Virtual Summit as the Headline Partner. Commenting on the partnership, Madhur Mehra, Visa’s Head of Merchant Sales and Acquiring – MENA, said: “Visa is thrilled to be headline partner of the RLC MENA Summit for a second consecutive year. The events since the last summit in 2020 have been disruptive, causing long-term changes in consumer and merchant behavior. While these events have been challenging to navigate for everyone, they also opened up new and exciting opportunities for the retail sector. We have seen a drop in the in-store activity but also a significant acceleration in the shift towards digital commerce – especially eCommerce and contactless payments. Consumers are decisively seeking and expecting seamless and secure purchase and payment experiences. One industry-accepted takeaway for retailers is the continued action to enhance their digital consumer engagement through targeted reach, frictionless selection, payment, delivery, and rewards. The RLC is a valuable platform for the retail merchant community, government partners, and key partners to collaborate. We at Visa are delighted to work together, share our recent insights, and look forward to leveraging the exciting growth opportunities.”

Social media platform and technology giant Facebook is this year’s Retail Transformation Partner. The Virtual Summit will also include the luxury powerhouse, Chalhoub Group, and the fastest growing social media platform, TikTok, as the platinum partners of the event. Bin Dawood Holding is the Silver Partner.

Aref Yehia, Client Partner for Omnichannel Retail, TikTok, said “The more direct the relationship is between a user and the brand’s content that they want, the more engaged they are.”

Key consultancies, McKinsey & Company and PwC, have committed to partnering with the event as Knowledge Partners to share crucial insights to support the re-birth and recovery of the retail sector.

Commenting on consumer sentiment, Abdellah Iftahy, Partner, McKinsey & Company, said In our latest McKinsey Global Institute report, The consumer demand recovery and lasting effects of COVID-19, we look at how the post-pandemic recovery in consumer demand is likely to evolve, and which pandemic-induced behavioral changes are likely to ‘stick’. To determine what behavior might change and what might remain the same, we created a stickiness test that takes into account not only consumer preferences but also the role of industry and government in shaping consumer choices. Using the stickiness test, the report finds that e-grocery shopping, virtual healthcare visits, and home nesting are likely to stick while remote learning, declining leisure air travel, and decreasing live entertainment would likely revert closer to pre-pandemic patterns but with modifications such as selective use of digital tools in primary and secondary education.’

One of the key speakers of Virtual Summit, John Hadden Chief Executive Officer, Alshaya Group said, “Led by the consumer, and accelerated by the current pandemic, the shift to a digital-first economy represents fundamental change and opportunity for MENA’s retail sector. I look forward to taking part in the Retail Leaders Circle to join the conversation about transformation in the region and discuss the shift in Organisational Culture and Leadership that this transformation demands.”

The Retail Leaders Circle MENA Virtual Summit 2021willheadline more than 60 prominent speakers under one digital roof to address the critical issues and megatrends impacting retail today. Participants will have the opportunity to gain valuable information on the future of retail in the region, learn from key industry stakeholders about the pandemic’s impact on shopping malls, explore the role e-commerce, omnichannel, and data play in their strategy and how they deal with today’s consumer who is more demanding than ever

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