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26th April 2022
9:30am - 1:30pm
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This year’s conference will explore how convenience stores are separating themselves from the competition right now and look ahead to the future at what the sector could look like in 2030.

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Event Speakers

Ali Jones, Customer Director, Co op

Ali Jones has been the Customer Director at the Co-op since January 2018. Her role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities to develop a unique proposition where the Co-op delivers against both commercial and community objectives. She is the Exec-Sponsor the Colleague Network Aspire, which champions female talent across the Co-op and is a member of WACL.

Prior to joining the Co-op, Ali has wide-ranging experience in Customer roles from retailers such as Next, Debenhams, Arcadia, Marks & Spencer and Woolworths (Australia).

Mike Hollis, Retail Director, Bestway Retail

Mike has worked in retail for over 30 years, spending over 20 years in Tesco, working as a store manager in large supermarkets and hypermarkets until 2000. He was then part of the leadership team that started the Express format. He eventually left to go and work in Australia when Tesco had opened over 1,200 convenience shops in 10 years. In Australia Mike lead the supermarket business for ‘Coles’ in Victoria for over three years before he returned to Tesco to be the Managing Director of their Thailand convenience business before returning to the UK to explore non food retailing as the COO in Wickes. The lure of food was to much and he came back to food convenience in 2018 joining the Board of Costcutter and now Bestway Wholesale.

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.

Kien Tan, Senior Retail Adviser, PwC

Kien Tan has been working with retailers and investors in the retail sector for over 25 years. He is senior retail adviser at professional services firm PwC, and specialises in commercial due diligence, independent business reviews, and strategy and business plan development.

Kien is also responsible for the firm’s thought leadership across the UK retail sector, including PwC’s consumer sentiment index, store openings research with Local Data Company, and Golden Quarter research and client briefings.

Kien was previously an equity analyst covering UK retailers, including grocery and convenience store operators such as Tesco, M&S, Somerfield, Budgens and One Stop.

John Hoyle, Founder & CEO, Sook

Rebekah Duncalfe, Music Psychotherapist, Meraki Creative Therapies

Rebekah trained as a Music Psychotherapist at Guildhall. She has experience providing therapy in adult mental health settings, such as forensics and end of life care. She especially enjoys a person-centred approach to her work.

Areas of specialism and experience for Rebekah include:

Mental health problems (including bi polar; depression; anxiety; mood disorders); trauma, eating disorders; personality disorders; forensic psychology; elimination disorder; schizophrenia spectrum and psychosis.

Rebekah is a member of the HCPC & BAMT. Rebekah is also a professional musician and choir director. She studied Viola and Voice at Trinity College of Music. She believes everyone has a fundamental right to sing and is passionate about Creative Arts in the community.

Steven Wilcock, chair of Trawden Forest Community Centre, Library & Shop

Steven is 68 years old, retired and has worked in accountancy in various roles throughout my career. Steven has been Chair of Trustees since the inception of Trawden Forest Community Centre, Library & Shop in 2014. On the same site, he first took over the community centre, from the local authority in 2014, followed by an adjacent building which had been a library and childrens centre. The last shop in the village having closed, he took over this second building, totally refurbished both buildings, opened a community, volunteer led, shop and reopened the library in November 2018. The whole project has been a huge success. The annual turnover of our CIO has gone from zero to £500K in 7 years and the whole project has proved to be a huge success, bringing the whole community together and being run by 120 volunteers.

Corinna Trainor, Trainor Bros SPAR

Tom Peters, Director, Innovation, True

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, created a new and unique events programme, and increased membership and engagement from all parts of the industry. He has been recognised for his work with outstanding achievement awards from HIM, Palmer & Harvey, YIGA, and the Retail Industry Awards. 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 London Food Board and the High Streets Task Force. James joined ACS in 1997. He has a degree in Politics from the University of Essex, and an MBA from Kingston Business School.

Thank You To Our Sponsors

Tŷ Nant

In the small hamlet of Bethania, West Wales on the edge of the Cambrian Mountains lies the celebrated spring of Ty Nant natural mineral water. Founded in 1989 the plant is located on a 200 acre organic estate of re-wilded land over looking the Irish Sea. In 2020 Ty Nant returned to British ownership having previously been under the control of an Italian company. The new owners of Ty Nant are extremely proud to be the stewards of the TY Nant brand and the Ty Nant Estate . Ty Nant is one of the most sustainable brands in the UK, with its onsite wind turbine and all its products produced by 100% clean green energy. The new owners have already made a multi million pound investment in the TY Nant Estate & manufacturing facilities, this is the first step of fulling their vision of building a diversified drinks group encompassing the finest British brands. Combined with the Ty Nant Foundation to support local causes, while building a truly sustainable business the future looks bright at Ty Nant.

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