Retail Scene: 2005 Spring Summit

High-level industry leaders gather in Palm Springs

Raconteur Yogi Berra, also known as a hall-of-fame catcher and man-about-town, once said, "No one goes there any more, it's too crowded." The appeal of a favorite place or event comes from being filled with the right people, but not too filled. It comes from good conversations and enjoyable experiences.

Places and events like these are frequently called Retail Executive Summits, and the most recent one was held March 29 to April 1 at the Mission Hills Resort in Rancho Mirage, California. Three days of networking and business sessions explored the theme "Winning Strategies & Solutions: Turning Insight into Action to Build Stronger Retail Brands and Businesses."

The conference began with a high-level keynote presentation by Joan Magretta, a senior institute associate for the Harvard Business School Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness. Over the next two and a half days other notable presentations were made by Shelley Nandkeolyar of The Home Depot (shown bottom left); Michael Rempell of American Eagle Outfitters and Brad Friedman of Burlington Coat Factory (bottom right); and Jeffrey Allison of JCPenney, Charles Adams of Hibbet Sporting Goods and Pete Kornafel of Carquest (upper right).

About 100 retail executives attended the Summit and participated in a dozen sessions featuring many of the country's leading merchants. Two of the most highly regarded sessions were on the last day of the event. The closing session of the conference featured Bob Buchanan of A.G. Edwards (above left) and Richard Williams of Garban Institutional Equities. The other featured Maxine Clark of Build-a-Bear Workshop, Mike Thyken of Select Comfort and Neil Maizen of Canadian Tire.

The next Retail Executive Summit will take place at the Four Seasons Troon North in Scottsdale, Arizona, September 11 to 14. Yogi Berra won't be there, but all the right people will and it's guaranteed not to be "too crowded."

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