Dubai, UAE, March 2, 2017: The retail industry in the Middle East is at a critical crossroad that threatens the old order and demands a new approach to every touchpoint in the retail ecosystem. From the harnessing of technology across the supply chain, to reinventing brands, adopting new business models and broadening channels, companies in the retail space are having to take new approaches to survive. This is clear from the agenda for this year’s Retail Leaders Circle MENA, the annual closed room summit for the industry that takes place from 6th – 7th March at The Address Dubai Mall Hotel.
The region’s biggest retailers, developers and brand owners are confirmed to attend, with many of them participating in key discussions on the future for the industry. The full line up of speakers providing a 360-degree perspective on the future of retail include:
- Ahmed Ismail, CEO, Majid Al-Futtaim Ventures,
- Khalid Al Jasser, CEO, Arabian Centres,
- John Iossifidis, Executive Vice President & Group Head, Corporate and Investment Banking Mashreq Bank,
- Alex Sawaya, McKinsey and Company,
- Charbel Sarkis, MENA Head of Retail, Google
- Golnaz Bahmanyar, Egon Zehnder
- Steve Plimsoll, Chief Digital & Data Officer, PwC Middle East
- Patrick Chalhoub, CEO, Chalhoub Group
- Nisreen Shocair, President, Virgin Megastores MENA
- Marl Pilkington, CEO, Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group
- Damien Latham, CEO, Majid Al-Futtaim – Leisure & Entertainment
- Mike Bermingham, COO, Jumeirah Central – Dubai Holding
- Mennah Ibrahim, MEA Director, J.Walter Thomson Intelligence
- Rajesh Garg, CFO, Landmark Group
- Klaus Boeckle, Vice President, Consumer Industries EMEA, SAP
- Marcus Freeman, Group Chief Finance Officer, Chalhoub Group
- Rekha Ramesh, Chief Information Officer, Daymon Worldwide
- Bart Denolf, CEO Franchise, Sacoor Brothers
- Tarek Mansour, Leader Marketing Practise, McKinsey & Company
- Miral Youssef, General Manager Level Kids, Chalhoub Group
- Sharmila Murat, UAE Country Manager, Chalhoub Group
- Jayne Marcelle Rafter, Publishing Director, RLI
- Sabimir Sabev, Partner, PwC
- Simon McDougall, Digital Vice President, Head of McKinsey Digital Labs, EMEA
- Sally Yacoub, Chief Malls Officer, Meraas
Market industry reports on consumer sentiment in the MENA region will be presented by McKinsey & Company, providing critical insight for retailers in today’s market. The most successful retailers in the Middle East will be the ones that understand regional consumers the best, and adapt their models to generate unique, brand-defining experiences that keep customers coming back. Current bricks & mortar retailers are at risk of losing market share to online retailers if they do not begin to change their strategies and offer multiple channel experiences.
Digitization in the Middle East and its impact on retail is one of the key topics to be covered at the summit. Digitalization has begun and offers a significant advantage – a unified digital market across the Middle East. Citizens themselves are leading the Middle East’s digitisation charge. As measured by digital consumer adoption, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain are among the top countries in the world, with more than 100 percent smartphone penetration and more than 70 percent social media adoption.
In these times the Internet of Things will serve as a tool for getting to know the customer in a bricks & mortar store and enabling a personalized experience. Thanks to the latest technologies, advanced sensors and behavioural analytics will help retailers to design stores, facilitate customer navigation to required products, and adapt or tailor loyalty programs for the individual.
“An evolution is happening in retail. Customer demands and expectations are changing the game. The modern day retailer must truly understand their customer, and be ready to provide a seamless customer experience across all channels,” said Panos Linardos, Executive Director of the US-based New York Institute of Management, organizer of Retail Leaders Circle MENA. “We’ve created this platform to bring together the top leaders in retail, provide access to board level insights and grow the collective intelligence of those leading the change. This will ensure a healthy future for the industry.”