Spring Fair, which takes place from February 6 to February 9at NEC Birmingham, has revealed details of its Inspiring Retail Stage content programme.

Created as a platform to champion retail, the Stage’s schedule of live content will cover a dedicated theme relating to this season’s Empowering Change manifesto on each day of the show, kicking off with ‘The trends that will shape consumer behaviour in 2022’ on Sunday February 6.

Sunday February 6

Simon Moriarty Mintel
Simon Moriarty Mintel

Highlights include the opening session at 11.30am with Simon Moriarty, head of trends at Mintel. From technology that predicts the success of potential romances to brands tackling Covid-19 ‘survivor’s guilt’ and eco-anxiety, Simon will talk about ‘The trends that will shape consumer behaviour in 2022’, talking through the big changes that will impact the world in which we all live and work.

At 1pm, FUTURVIEW founder Karl McKeever will discuss ‘Business Unusual’. He will share his experience of how you can thrive in an era of unparalleled change, help you discover how to develop a culture of curiosity to keep you in front of the latest trends, and explore how to spot opportunities ahead of the curve for early advantage.

At 2pm, following the highly successful launch of his interiors collection at Autumn Fair last September, interior designer Paul Moneypenny will return to the Stage for a workshop session on ‘How to use bold design in your store to make impact’, with tips for building impactful window displays, and the positive effect of colour and pattern on people.

At 3pm, the Stage will welcome the team from Yarnton Home and Garden Centre for ‘Retail View: Transforming retail with the community in mind’. This session will explore how Yarnton turned its business around by building closer links with the community, translating their values into the store, and made Twiggy a bit of an icon! Marketing and buying manager Bryony Fletcher and visual merchandising manager Celia Leeson Cox will talk about the up and downs of their business transformation that took them from a garden centre into an entirely new home and garden concept store.

Day one will close with a celebration of UK retail and the businesses that are making a difference. In partnership with Modern Retail, Spring Fair will host the Good Retail Awards for the third year, recognising good practices in UK retail and sharing successes in all areas of retail. From high streets which are supporting their local businesses, and businesses that are transforming their operations to put sustainability at the core, to businesses the ooze creativity, the winners will be announced from 5pm.

Monday February 7

Kate Usher
Kate Usher

Monday is all about Trends, Sustainability, and Innovation in Retail, with retailers and global organisations sharing the highs and lows of their journeys. Kicking off at 10.30am, Kate Usher, senior trend consultant at Trend Bible, will offer insights into 2023 home and lifestyle trends to help inform your buying season as she uncovers consumer behaviours and lifestyle choices set to underpin product and design trends for the home.

At 11.30am, Samual Cliff, member director of SEDEX, will delve deep into ‘How do you know who you are doing business with?’ Sustainability isn’t just all about recycling and material management. The pandemic has shown that consumers care deeply about the people in the supply chain as much as the materials those products are made out of. Samual will run through some simple things to look for when you start to do business with a new supplier and explain how to ensure you know that who you are doing business with is exactly who you think you are doing business with.

Jo Fairley
Jo Fairley

Green & Blacks founder Jo Fairley follows at 12.30pm with ‘Living your values is just the way you do business’. Jo is one of the UK’s leading female entrepreneurs, whose businesses and brands have been successful because their values are embedded into their operational DNA. During this session, Jo will talk about her experience of founding a business during a recession, the importance of being able to change direction and be creative, and of staying true to her core value: that every business should do business in a way that shows they care about their people and the planet, as well as the bottom line.

Billie Faiers

At 2pm, the stage will welcome TV personality Billie Faiers for ‘Interior Design the Billie Faiers way’. Best known for her TV show The Family Diaries, she is now following her passion for interiors, launching her own home and lifestyle brand with Spring Fair exhibitor Hunter Price International. Billie will talk about her inspirations, how she has worked to develop her ranges, and her longer-term ambitions.

Billie said: “It’s a dream to be able to launch my very own brand at the biggest retail trade event in the country. I can’t wait for everyone to see all the hard work come alive and talk about this really exciting new chapter of my life.”

The Greatest Christmas Awards will take place at 5pm, celebrating all that’s great about garden centres at Christmas. The GTN (Garden Trade News) Awards bring the industry together to celebrate great work over the festive season. Hosted by GTN’s editor and director Trevor Pfeiffer, with a panel of esteemed judges, this is the perfect way to reflect on a unique year for retail.

Tuesday February 8

The theme for Tuesday is ‘Changing Mindsets’ – being comfortable with the unknown in order to thrive – and is full of insights into how to change your own mindset, build that culture within your business, and learn from other business leaders as they share how they have navigated unprecedented change in order to grow. Each session is geared towards helping give retailers the tools to succeed in an ever-changing world.

Following a trend presentation from Kate Usher at TrendBible at 10.30am on the key gifting trends impacting consumers and the key opportunities which will elevate your celebration, occasion, and gift ranges to new levels, Charley Crocker from The Pop Up Agents will speak at midday about ‘The Power of Pop-Ups’. He will talk through the local authority-led Pop-Up Horsham scheme that acted as a showcase for local businesses and products, and explain how this can be a valuable tool for local authorities and retailers alike. In a panel discussion, Charley will be joined by three retailers who will explain how this project has acted as a launchpad for their businesses, and how they were able to use the programme to conduct market research, experience customer interaction, and refine their brands.

At 1pm, Anna Berry, founder of Retail100 consulting and former head of gift, cook & dine at John Lewis & Partners, will share what she learned about building high performing teams at the department store group, and share her insights into how you can get the most out of your team.

Alan O'Neil
Alan O’Neil

At 2pm, the ‘Dare To Change’ session will be hosted by Alan O’Neill, managing director of Kara. Before Covid-19, the world was changing at an exponential rate – and along came Covid-19 to speed it up even more. Retail in particular has experienced dramatic changes as a result, as online continues to perform at the expense of bricks-and-mortar stores. But the so-called retail apocalypse is fake news, according to Alan. He claims: “Physical retail is not dying, bad retailing is.” Alan will share his experiences of supporting brands like Ann Summers, Fenwick, Harrods, Primark, and Selfridges to grow their physical store sales. He will share practical ideas and tactics to help you embrace change.

Wednesday February 9

Spring Fair will collaborate with its wellbeing and charity partner The Retail Trust to deliver a business workshop at 11am entitled ‘Supporting your people in order to thrive’. Andrea Woodside, wellbeing consultant at Retail Trust, will explore ways in which retail colleagues should be supported, and how to practically do that.

Finally, during ‘A Buyer’s Life’ at 12pm, top tips on what buyers and suppliers need for success will be offered by Sara Allbright, founder of Retail100 consulting and former head of gift buying at John Lewis & Partners.

View the latest programme at www.springfair.com/seminars. Registered visitors can also download the dedicated Spring Fair App for easy access to the schedule and to add sessions to their calendars.

Register at https://www.springfair.com/visitor-registration and keep up to date with safety measures at https://www.springfair.com/visit/safe-secure. Anyone entering into the NEC (including those during build-up and breakdown) will need to show their valid Covid-19 Pass, or a negative result to a Lateral Flow Test taken within 48 hours. In addition, aligned to Government guidelines, all attendees will wear a face covering during the show. 

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