STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 1
SUNDAY, JANUARY 14, 2018
11/12/17 4:54 PM
Building a Bright Tomorrow
ll of us at the National Retail
Federation would like to welcome
you to NRF 2018: Retail's Big
Show. We've made continued investments and improvements to make this
year's event the most impressive to date.
With over 35,000 attendees from more
than 3,500 companies and 95 countries, you're joining a group as diverse,
dynamic and determined as the retail
By all accounts, it has been another
remarkable year for retail. With consumer
optimism at all-time highs, rising wages
and economic growth, consumers are
responding favorably to the myriad ways
retailers are providing exceptional products and memorable experiences.
It is true that the industry's ongoing
transformation has generated challenges
in the past year. But it is also true that
when you consider the overall retail
landscape, you see an industry that is
evolving, growing and succeeding.
Companies and visionaries are developing, testing and refining strategies
that blend leading-edge technologies with
timeless lessons in customer experience.
NRF President and CEO Matthew R. Shay
They're reshaping retail experiences to
match shifting expectations, delight cus-
tomers and boost sales. They're building
the retail industry of the future - a future
that remains bright.
The transformation of retail is good
for companies, their employees and their
customers for three key reasons.
Whether ecommerce or bricksand-mortar, it's all retail: Ecommerce
and in-store are often cast as opposites.
But, in fact, they are both integral parts
of the same retail industry - and they
complement each other. In fact, our data
shows that people who shop both online
and in stores spend more. Retail has always been - and always will be - about
connecting with customers, and today's
retailers are using all available channels
and tools to achieve this goal.
That's why eight of the 10 largest
ecommerce sites are operated by what
people think of as traditional retailers -
and why pure-play online retailers like
Amazon and Everlane are opening physical stores. The result is a more dynamic,
vital and channel-agnostic retail world.
Retailers are constantly learning,
refining and improving: We're seeing
the future of retail develop right in front
Retail has always been
- and always will be -
about connecting with
customers, and today's
retailers are using all
available channels and
tools to achieve this goal.
of us, right now. Retailers are devising
and testing dynamic new strategies across
channels and teams. They're finding the
novel combinations that work for their
companies and customer bases, increasingly at the intersection of online and
in-store. It's these dynamic approaches
that resonate with their customers and
delivered the strong growth we saw in
2017. And as retailers compete and learn,
they're delivering better experiences for
consumers, better career prospects for
employees and stronger performance for
The big picture for retail is positive
See "Tomorrow" on page 24
Retail's Future Starts Here
The Student Program at NRF 2018: times, but when you follow your heart
Retail's Big Show wraps up three days of and your values, it really does lead you to
education, inspiration and networking to- the best place."
day, when selected students interview with
Friday also featured a fireside chat
with Warby Parker
Some 800 stuco-founder and codents, 90 educaCEO Neil BlumenThe Student Program
tors, 100 executive
thal, who spoke
gives students the
mentors and more
with STORY CEO
opportunity to learn
than 25 recruiting
about retail's diverse
companies particiabout disrupting
pated in this year's
the eyeglass induscareer paths, build
event, which gives
try and turning a
relationships and make
students the opbusiness idea into
connections with the
portunity to learn
reality. "A brand
best in the industry.
about retail's diis a point of view,
verse career paths,
not just aesthetibuild relationships
cally, but a value
and make connections with the best in the system," Blumenthal said. "Our thought
is, we're going to have a powerful brand
The event started Friday with a wel- that impacts culture and society, that
come from Neiman Marcus President and builds relationships with customers who
CEO and NRF Foundation Board Chair are buying our product."
Karen Katz, followed by an opening
Saturday's opening keynote featured
keynote from Michelle Gass. Gass, chief Sam's Club CEO John Furner, who began
merchandising and customer officer at his retail career as an hourly associate at
Kohl's, shared insights for succeeding in Walmart and worked his way up to the
the changing retail environment. "Trust executive suite.
your journey," Gass said. "There have
Later that day, NRF Foundation Board
been hard times, and there's been scary Member Bill Brand hosted Daymond John,
Participants in the Student Program at NRF 2018: Retail's Big Show had the chance to
connect with industry luminaries.
CEO of The Shark Group and co-star on
ABC's "Shark Tank," for a conversation
about John's new book, Rise and Grind,
and business tips for the years to come.
"The most important aspect of how you're
going to make it somewhere is by goal-setting," John said. "Goals are going to be set
regardless, and unless you're in charge of
them ... you're not going to achieve them."
Student programming concludes
tonight with the NRF Foundation Gala,
where retail leaders will gather to encourage, uplift and support the industry's rising
stars, including the winner of the Next
Generation Scholarship. One student will
receive a $25,000 scholarship; four finalists will each receive $10,000. Winners of
the 2018 Student Challenge Competition
will also be announced.
The Gala honors NRF's The Visionary
2018, Walmart President and CEO Doug
McMillon, along with The List of People
Shaping Retail's Future: Individuals who
are making waves in the industry with
big dreams, innovative ideas and fearless