STORES Convention Daily - 2019 Big Show Day 1 - 1

#1 Retail


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12/20/18 11:48 PM

Retail Offers Reasons for Optimism


n behalf of the board of directors
and our members, welcome to
NRF 2019: Retail's Big Show. We
are delighted to have you here for what
we think will be our best event to date.
NRF 2019 - the world's largest
retail conference and expo - isn't just a
conference, it's a community. We bring
together the biggest names and the biggest brands in retail to have the greatest
impact. Just look around: With nearly
40,000 attendees, more than 16,000
retailers and attendees from 100 countries across the globe, this is truly the
largest and most dynamic gathering of
the retail community anywhere.
Together, all of you achieved a
historic year for retail in 2018. The
industry built on its momentum from
2017 to surpass expectations and
achieve record growth. We are projecting that retail sales grew at a minimum
of 4.5 percent last year over 2017. That

optimism about the overall economy
as we enter 2019.
Innovation and hard work are
driving retail's success. The industry
is reaching new heights as retailers
focus on three key opportunities -
embracing the convergence of channels,
reimagining the store and building the
new retail ecosystem.
First, retailers are seeing their investments in technology, digital, experiential shopping and the supply chain
begin to pay off, enabling shopping to
flow seamlessly across channels from
in-store to online. Retailers are also
transforming stores with a range of different formats, functions and services,
all tailored to the specific needs of local
markets. Finally, retail innovators and
new entrants are creating a vibrant new
retail environment that features low

Just look around: With nearly
40,000 attendees, more
than 16,000 retailers and attendees from 100 countries
across the globe, this is truly
the largest and most dynamic gathering of the retail
community anywhere.
marks nearly a decade of steady expansion.
Robust holiday sales capped the year's
strong numbers. The humming economy
presented an ideal opportunity - and
you seized it. Across the industry, retailers
capitalized on robust growth, record-low
unemployment, rising wages and high
consumer confidence to deliver an impressive performance. In fact, market watchers are citing retail sales as a reason for

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay

See "Welcome" on page 9

Inspiration, Insights and Opportunities


hree days of career-building opportunities conclude today for
more than 1,000 participants in the
Student Program at NRF 2019: Retail's
Big Show. Students from 133 colleges
and universities across the country heard
from 18 executive mentors and 30 recruiting companies during the event, the only
one of its kind designed specifically for

The Student Program kicked off Friday with a presentation by BJ's Wholesale
Club and NRF Chairman Chris Baldwin.
"Given the world we're living in today
where personalization will be increasingly important, quantitative skills will
matter. There's no doubt there is a massive role for people who are creative
thinkers," Baldwin said. "But ultimately
business is a big gigantic math test, so the

Matthew Shay

President and CEO, National Retail Federation

Association Trends'
2019 Association Executive of the Year

ability to figure out
quantitatively how a
business will work is
an important thing."
Students attended a panel discussion on technology and innovation
with speakers including Talia Watts,
Nike Marketplace
manager, and Mented co-founders
Amanda E. Johnson
and Kristen Miller
were among speakers on an entrepreneurship panel.
On Friday, students also heard from
Elena Richards, minority initiatives and
talent management leader for PcW's office
of diversity, who discussed unconscious
biases in a new session, "Check Your
Blind Spots." A keynote from Hallmark
Greetings CMO Lindsey Roy closed the
Students began Saturday with a
"commencement-style" speech from
Soles4Souls President and CEO Buddy
Teaster, who spoke to students about
finding their true purpose in life and a
career filled with passion. "I don't know

anything about shoes," Teaster said. "I
don't know anything about retail and I
was a French major in college - but I've
See "Students" on page 26

THE VISIONARY...............................10
2019 RETAIL TRENDS....................12


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Convention Daily - 2019 Big Show Day 1