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25th April 2023
The Vox, Birmingham
9:00am - 1:00pm
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Thank you to everyone who attended Conference23, content from the event will be available shortly.


This year’s conference will feature two sessions with practical ideas for everyone to take back to their businesses, whether you’re a single site retailer or international supplier.

Recession Proofing Your Business: The cost of living crisis has dominated the agenda in 2022, with the result being a recession that could last throughout and even beyond 2023. In this session, we’ll hear from senior experts about the way that consumer behaviour is changing as a result of the recession and how you as retailers and suppliers to the sector can prepare to stay relevant to customers. This will be followed by a panel of leaders in convenience to hear how they’re adapting in 2023. 

Future Proofing Your Business: In the second session of the day, we’ll look ahead to get new insight into how the sector might look in years to come. We’ll explore how disruptors like technology, delivery, productivity, categories, sustainability and store formats are shaping the store of the future, and where the opportunities to invest are. We’ll then check in with our second panel of convenience leaders for their strategies on future proofing.

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Event Speakers

Natalie Berg, Retail Analyst and Author

For nearly two decades, Natalie has delivered fresh insights on the trends shaping the global retail sector, with a particular focus on the convergence of physical and digital commerce. She is passionate about how retailers can enhance the customer experience and has co-authored two books on retail, including Amazon: How the World’s Most Relentless Retailer Will Continue to Revolutionize Commerce. Natalie is a regular keynote speaker on the retail conference circuit and, as an objective TV and radio commentator, her views on the future of retail have been published in the FT, Guardian, BBC and The Times, among others. Natalie also writes a guest column for Forbes and Retail Week.

Peter Batt, Managing Director, Nisa

Peter has extensive experience in retail and trading environments, working in a range of senior positions for a number of organisations since starting as a Grad Trainee at Sainsbury’s in 1993. Peter was appointed MD of NISA after 7 years as operations director for the Coop. Some of Peter’s proudest achievements include: receiving the Retail Week Award Diversity Champion Silver Award, taking on the role of Coop Foundation Board Trustee and taking part in the Million Pound Mile for MIND raising over £1million.

Lisa Hooker, Leader of Industry for Consumer Markets at PWC

Lisa is the head of consumer markets for PwC, with deep experience and expertise on all areas of consumer markets. She leads PwC’s external and internal thinking on consumer and market trends, and has a broad network within the industry. In addition to her industry leadership, she specialises in undertaking financial due diligence for companies undergoing M&A/refinancing across the retail, consumer and leisure sectors.

Claire Fox, Partner at PWC

Claire specialises in delivering enterprise wide cost production, turnaround, change management, organisational improvement in pragmatic and results focused way. Accredited member for the Institute for Turnaround, Claire has over a decade of experience working in industry in retail and now leads the Turnaround and Transformation Retail and Consumer pratice at PwC.


Guy Swindell, Joint Managing Director at Parfetts/Go Local

Paul Dobson, Wholesale Director, Morrisons

Colm Johnson, Retail Managing Director, Booker

Sarah Lawler, Managing Director, One Stop

Sarah has worked within Tesco Group for over 20 years and has a wide breadth of experience across senior leadership roles. After rising through the ranks of Store and Area leadership, Sarah was appointed Store Director in 2014 and worked across the United Kingdom leading large retail operation teams. She has also worked across several supporting business functions, leading Transformation, Store Support Offices, Customer Service and Process Architecture.

Sarah led the discount facing chain Jack’s as Managing Director and, since June 2022, has held the position of Manging Director for OneStop, responsible for nearly 1000 retail and franchise owned stores across the UK.

She lives in Manchester with her fiancé and 3 children.

Colin McLean, Chief Executive Officer, CJ Lang & Son

Louise Hoste, Managing Director, SPAR UK

Louise joined SPAR during September 2019 and comes to the business with a wealth of international retail experience.

Louise has worked for Walmart in the UK, Canada and Chile in commercial, customer and general management roles. After leaving Walmart Louise was Director of Category and Pricing at Brakes Foodservice, followed by Director of the Customer Offer at the Co-op. It was in this role where she relaunched the Co-op brand across the food ranges and worked on the ‘Closer To You’ strategy supporting the local and community agenda.

Prior to Co-op, Louise was Executive Commercial Director at Card Factory.

Louise Hoste took on the role of chair of the ACS board from 1st November 2021.

James Lowman, Chief Executive, ACS

James was appointed ACS Chief Executive in November 2006. He has led ACS on political and policy representation, driven a unique research programme that informs ACS’ policy work, launched an industry-leading assured advice scheme in partnership with Surrey County Council, and created a new and unique events programme. James is a member of ministerial advisory groups including the National Retail Crime Steering Group and the Retail Sector Council. He also sits on the boards of Community Alcohol Partnerships, the Proof of Age Standards Scheme and the London Food Board, and is a sector leader representative to the High Streets Task Force.

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