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Retail dream team debate high street woes at JMW Conference
The corporate recovery and insolvency team at JMW Solicitors LLP have hosted their second annual conference with special guest speaker Jacqueline Gold, CEO of Ann Summers who has been regularly voted one of the UK’s most influential businesswomen.
Over 130 delegates attended the ‘Is it the end of the road for the high street’ conference at the Radisson BLU Edwardian, Manchester where JMW’s Corporate Recovery and Insolvency team, led by Partner Richard Wolff, discussed in detail the practical and legal issues facing the retail industry.
There were guest speaker appearances from Steve Whitehead, Group Commercial Director at The Hut Group who looked at e-commerce and the issues that face online retailers. BDO advisory partner Dermot Power, who acted as joint administrator for Allied Carpets in 2009, led an interactive case study session.
The panel session brought together a team of well-known retail industry figures to debate the prospects of the UK high street including Allsports founder David Hughes, Warwick Ley, Director at Roo Green and former Arndale Centre boss Glen Barkworth. The panel session was chaired by Michael Taylor, founder of Think More and former editor of Insider, with an interesting debate taking place discussing the Christmas markets, with strong views for and against them. David Hughes also had strong views on the need for free car parking in town and city centres in order to increase footfall.
David Hughes, Chairman of The Store Room commented;
“Free parking and lots of it that is what you want. Free car parking will save any high street.”
The highlight of the half day conference was a keynote speech from Jacqueline Gold, CEO of Ann Summers who spoke to the audience about her experience as a retailer and how Ann Summers has stayed a successful business during the current recession.
Jacqueline commented on why she felt that Ann Summers had been so successful over the years;
“We are unique and different to anyone in the high street. We are not looking to compete against the likes of La Senza or Marks and Spencer. Winners in a recession are likely to have a strong brand identity and a multi-channel offering.”
Commenting on the conference, Richard Wolff, Partner and Head of Corporate Recovery and Insolvency at JMW said;
“We are delighted to have had over 130 delegates attend our second annual corporate recovery and insolvency conference. We are grateful to all our speakers, which included members of the JMW team, Michael Taylor, Steven Whitehead, David Hughes, Glen Barkworth and Warwick Ley for their time in making the conference memorable. I also think everyone thoroughly enjoyed Jacqueline Gold’s address which provided a wonderful insight on the trials and challenges of being a CEO at a major high street retailer.”
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