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Summit 2018

17th April 2018
The Vox, Birmingham
9:00am - 2:00pm
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At Summit18, ACS chief executive James Lowman addressed the sector, urging retailers to ensure that they are proactive in securing their places as community retailers.

Speaking at the conference today (Tuesday), Mr Lowman said: “Our research shows time and again that convenience stores are one of the most positive services on the high street, but we can’t take this for granted. To build loyalty and trust in a world where consumers are increasingly distrustful of businesses and the information they receive we have to embrace community retailers and address the issues that matter to local people with more energy and commitment than ever."

The conference also saw the launch of two short films. The first took ACS Commercial Director Paul Chamberlain to Ancoats General Store in Manchester, where he heard from owner Mital Morar about the ever-changing model of the business and the importance of the store acting as a social hub.


Paul then travelled to Milan to meet Valentina at the Co-op Supermarket of the Future, where technology is being used to deliver full transparency about the origins and nutritional information of all of the products in store.

 Catch up with all of the latest discussion about Summit18 on Twitter, just search for #ACSSummit.

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Event Speakers

Debbie Robinson, Chief Executive, Central England Co-operative

Debbie Robinson is a passionate food marketer with over 25 year’s retail experience.

Debbie joined SPAR in 2011 and during that time has been instrumental in SPAR’s strategic ‘Delivering Growth’ 10 Point Plan. She has been closely involved in SPAR’s Round Pound campaign and for increasing penetration of fresh food throughout the SPAR estate.  Debbie has also been working closely with the Marketing Team to deliver SPAR’s TV advertising campaign ‘SPAR There for You’.

Before joining SPAR as Managing Director, Debbie was Director of Food Marketing at the UK's Co-operative Group. There she created and delivered the “good with food” campaign. She also had responsibility for the brand strategy, store formats, own-brand development and all customer communications including TV advertising.

Debbie set up her own business after leaving the Co-op and has worked on a number of projects including the own brand development for NISA, as well as overseas projects in Europe and the Middle East.

Debbie Robinson began her role as CEO of Central England Co-op in 2019, and took on the role of chair at ACS in November 2019. 

Mark Price, former Minister of State for Trade and Investment

Mark Price joined the UK government as the Minister of State for Trade and Investment at the invitation of David Cameron in April 2016. He was made a life peer in February 2016 to become The Lord Price CVO and Baron Price of Sturminster Newton. Mark was reappointed by Theresa May to her post-Brexit Government, with specific responsibility for negotiating the UKs future trade deals. Dubbed ‘one of the nation’s favourite businessmen’ by the Independent, Mark was Managing Director of Waitrose for the preceding 9 years, and Deputy Chairman of The John Lewis Partnership for 3 years.

Mike Igoe, Heron Foods

Mike Igoe joined Heron Foods in the role of Commercial Director on 1st January 2013. His role includes overseeing the development of store formats, branding, merchandising and marketing throughout the company’s 240 store estate.

Jeremy White, Executive Editor of WIRED Magazine

As WIRED’s Executive Editor, a keynote speaker and brand consultant, he evaluates the qualities of new products and their impact on established markets and industries, relating this to how organisations can improve their own designs and adopt innovative thinking ahead of future threats and opportunities.

As well as being the Executive Editor, Jeremy is in charge of compiling WIRED’s GEAR product supplements and curating the live product experiences at their events; in this role, he collates exclusive displays showcasing the most recent developments in industrial design, wearable technology and automotive technology, such as a negotiation with Honda to bring the ASIMO robot to the UK for the very first time.

He also writes on all things gadget-related for The Telegraph Luxury website and magazine, as well as Harrods. Previously, he was the Digital Editor for How To Spend It at the Financial Times, and Technology Editor at Esquire magazine. He regularly appears on the BBC and Sky, and is one of the nominators for the Design Museum's Designs of the Year awards.

Hidenori Tsunematsu, FamilyMart

Hidenori lives in Tokyo and is married with 3 children. He majored in Population Economics at Nihon University, Tokyo. In addition to his current Family Mart role as Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Japan he is a lecturer in Industry and Corporation at Kokushikan University in Tokyo. He enjoys playing golf and running marathons.

Present: CSR Manager, CSR Department FamilyMart UNY Holdings Co.,Ltd.

2013 - March 2017: Executive Vice President, Philippines

2012 - 2013: General Manager, International Division In charge of developing new countries, such as Indonesisa, Philippine, and Malaysia

2009 - 2012: Manager International Department in charge of Thailand, Vietnam & Korea & U.S.A (Famima stores in Los Angeles)

1989 - 2006: Various roles

Paul Dobson, Head of Wholesale Convenience, Morrisons

Paul Dobson is the Head of Wholesale Convenience at Morrisons, leading Morrisons’ franchise partnerships and the forecourts trading team. Morrisons is the fourth largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, headquartered in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Founded in 1899 by William Morrison, it began as an egg and butter stall in Rawson Market, Bradford, England. Until 2004, Morrisons store locations were primarily focused in the North of England, but with the takeover of Safeway in that year, the company's presence increased significantly in the South of England, Wales and Scotland.

Paul Chamberlain, Commercial Director, ACS

Internationally acclaimed as the most prolific convenience store visitor worldwide, Paul’s extensive industry knowledge allows him to organise the most topical and relevant events to provide networking and sharing of best practice across the sector. As Commercial Director at ACS, Paul’s role is to understand the issues which impact upon the long-term success and relevance of the convenience sector.  Bringing together retailers and suppliers in a meaningful way to share experiences that can deliver this long-term growth.

Thank You To Our Sponsors

Michael Page

PageGroup  employs over 6,000 people in 36 countries and reported a gross profit of over £700m in 2017. The three core PageGroup brands are made up of specialised recruitment teams that operate across 25 disciplines from actuarial to technology. The Michael Page team specialise in the recruitment of temporary, contract and permanent roles typically at second and third job level upwards. Page Personnel is a recruitment partner for businesses requiring clerical support. Page Executive is the executive search division of the Group specialising in search, selection and talent management of senior professionals on a permanent or interim basis. A lot has changed in the last forty years at PageGroup and the Group continues to grow and evolve in order to deliver specialised sector experience, market knowledge and a consultative approach to recruitment. One thing that remains unchanged is the PageGroup commitment to the professional success of its clients, candidates and employees. The company values of pride, passion, never give up, work as a team and make it fun, are as evident now as they’ve ever been.

Michael Page are the main sponsor of Summit 18

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At CPM we make it our business to know your business inside out. We are proud to have worked with more than 80% of our clients for more than ten years.

Growing brands and increasing sales is what we do. We achieve that by providing a range of integrated sales solutions that increase your sales. With innovation at the heart of our business, we are always finding new ways to drive sales and measurable ROI.

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Christie and Co

Christie & Co is a specialist business property adviser, providing brokerage, valuation and consultancy advice to a variety of sectors, including convenience retail. If you’re looking to buy or sell a business, our dedicated team of retail experts, including 18 agents and 23 RICS Registered Valuers, bring decades of experience to the entire buying and selling process. If you'd like to speak to us about your opportunities, please contact us on 020 7227 0759 or visit for more information.

Christie & Co are an official session sponsor of Summit 18. 

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Polymer Logistics

Throughout the past twenty years, Polymer Logistics has worked to create an extensive portfolio of multi-purpose, one-touch, returnable RRP options to meet the full range of our clients' needs. Our uniqueness derives from taking both a product and solutions approach enhanced by invaluable input from our pool operators. This multi-faceted approach feeds our innovation, and results in well-designed, robust, and long-lasting products. 

Polymer Logistics are the official lunch sponsor of Summit 18. 

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At Weetabix we are passionate about producing high quality cereals to give you many of the nutrients you need as part of a balanced breakfast.

We work closely with local farmers that we know and trust to bring you the best quality wheat, grown in the most responsible way with less fertilizer, a smaller carbon footprint and protected hedgerows.

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Aryzta Food Solutions are delighted to sponsor ACS Summit with our premium Seattle’s Best Coffee brand. The European partnership between Aryzta Food Solutions and Starbucks brings together the beautiful pairing of speciality bakery and coffee to deliver consumers the products they love in the locations where they live their daily lives. Aryzta’s market reach and in-depth local knowledge coupled with the world’s strongest coffee brand from Starbucks provides our customers with a one-stop relationship for all their category needs, helping to drive footfall and growth in their businesses.

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