Bira (the British Independent Retailers Association) has revealed more details of its upcoming annual National Conference.
‘The end of the High Street or a new beginning?’ is the theme of this year’s event, which will tackle issues affecting independent retail.
The Conference will be held at the Four Pillars Hotel in Cotswold Water Park during the afternoon of May 16, following bira’s AGM in the morning. It will feature presentations from and discussions with some of retail’s top experts.
Speakers include retail commentator Kate Hardcastle from Insight with Passion, who will talk on the subject of ‘High Street vs Online – can they both thrive?”; consultant Warren Knight from Gloople, who will discuss ‘ Demystifying offline to online’; Deryanne Tadd, owner of The Dressing Room, a multi-award winning ladies fashion boutique based in St. Albans, who will debate ‘Creating demand for your retail brand; and Oxford Institute of Retail Management academic director Jonathan Reynolds who will ask ‘How did we get where we are today?’
There will also be a panel session on ‘The Great British High Street’ between Action for Market Towns chief executive Chris Wade, independent womenswear and menswear retailer Paul Turner-Mitchell of Rochdale’s 25 Ten Boutique, and bira’s deputy CEO and communications director Mick Weedon.
The Annual Retailer Address will be given by bira member Greg Davies of department store group Bradbeers, who will reflect on his time in business and share his challenges and successes.
Delegates will also hear from award-winning retailers Vin Vara, director of London hardware and DIY store The Tool Shop, and Martha Ferguson, owner of London kitchenware store Papylon, who will be giving their take on how to survive and thrive in independent retail.
Following on from bira’s National Conference is its annual Gala Awards Dinner, that celebrates the achievements of independent retailers in the past 12 months.
During the evening, which will be hosted by broadcaster, writer, presenter and former MP Gyles Brandreth, the bira direct Supplier of the Year Awards will be presented, along with The Community Awards and the Young Retailer of the Year Awards, which recognise retailers under the age of 35 who show spirit, ideas and determination within the retail industry.
* Mick Weedon, bira’s deputy CEO and communications director will be a speaker at The Housewares Conference & Innovation Awards on April 16.