ABOUT MIDDLE EAST RETAIL FORUM 2018

PHYSICAL MEETS DIGITAL: RETHINKING RETAIL WITH THE ONLINE-OFFLINE CONVERGENCE

Retail will become stronger, channel agnostic and more agile to adapt to rapid, disruptive, changes. Stores will become inspirational spaces, morphed into lively, immersive environments. Retailers will engage with consumers differently, interacting with them at their preferred touchpoints. While businesses are being digitally-enabled, the key role of people will be at the heart of every organisation. There is a sweeping cultural change in mindset towards promoting bright start-ups in order to build an entrepreneurial community. MRF 2018 will bring together powerful speakers and engaging discussions around future proofing retail.

Days
2
Lots Of Innovations
Ideas
100+
Network
1000+
  • 8 October 2018
    Day 1
  • 9 Oct 2018
    Day 2
  • Day 1
MRF AWARDS
09:15 - 10:00 Registration & Networking Breakfast
Registration & Networking Breakfast

MRF AWARDS
10:00 - 10:15 Opening Speech
Opening speech by Images Group Chairperson

MRF AWARDS
10:15 - 10:45 Keynote address
What lies beyond 2020?

What lies beyond 2020 is up for imagination, but it is established that retail will become more engaging and immersive. Human touch will play a pivota...

What lies beyond 2020 is up for imagination, but it is established that retail will become more engaging and immersive. Human touch will play a pivotal role, while robotics and automation will have its own importance. Transparency will be valued. Data will be used in smarter ways to tailor personalised experiences. Silos will break down between channels and departments within businesses. There will be more collaboration between companies of different expertise to put together an engaging shopping experience. Over the last couple of years many legacy brands have shuttered shops; however, retail isn’t dead. It has been disrupted and will see more disruptive innovation. Our opening keynote address will set the pace for the two-day conference with a discussion on the culture of change to remain prepared for the unseen at the turn of the decade.

Confirmed speakers

  • Marwan Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq)
  • Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, CEO – Business Development & Strategy Sector, Department of Economic Development (DED)

MRF AWARDS
10:45 - 11:00 Retail’s Road Ahead
Presentation by Boston Consulting Group:Retail’s road ahead

  Arun Bruce, Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group
...

  Arun Bruce, Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group

MRF AWARDS
11:00 - 13:00 Retail Business Owners & CEOs Conclave
Going strong over decades

The current time in retail is very exciting and challenging. It’s time for great transformation for businesses that have been around for decades. Th...

The current time in retail is very exciting and challenging. It’s time for great transformation for businesses that have been around for decades. The rise of e-commerce, particularly, has rendered the business of retail more challenging for traditional retailers. Attracting and retaining customers have become more challenging than ever before. Sales strategies have changed drastically; time-to-market has become faster. Inventory management has become challenging. Consumers are looking for more engagement, necessitating retailers to ramp up their digital efforts as well as immersive in-store experience. This session will bring together companies and people that have been part of the regional retail market for over two decades. They will share what it takes to survive and thrive in a highly competitive retail environment like the Middle East.  

Confirmed speakers

  • Emma Banks, Managing Director, Jumeirah Restaurant Group
  • Frank-Matthias Kuntermann, CEO, ABC Group
  • James Le Gassick, CEO, MoRE Café / Intelligent foods
  • Khurshid Vakil, Co-founder, Marina Home Interiors
  • Raju Shroff, CEO, Regal Group
  • Ramesh Cidambi, COO, Dubai Duty Free
  • Raza Beig, CEO – Splash & ICONIC & Landmark international, and Director – Landmark Group
  • Walid Hajj, Executive Chairman, Cravia
  • Zaid Alqufaidi, Managing Director, ENOC Retail

lunch Break

MRF AWARDS
14:00-15:30 Up Close with CEOs
Future-proofing retail

Retail will become stronger, channel agnostic and more agile to adapt to rapid, disruptive, changes. Stores will become inspirational spaces, morphed ...

Retail will become stronger, channel agnostic and more agile to adapt to rapid, disruptive, changes. Stores will become inspirational spaces, morphed into lively, immersive environments. Retailers will engage with consumers differently, interacting with them at their preferred touchpoints. While businesses are being digitally-enabled, the key role of people will be at the heart of every organisation. This year we will chat with CEOs who have positively disrupted the regional retail landscape and how they are future proofing their businesses.

Confirmed speakers

  • Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen, CEO, NOVO Cinemas
  • Kanchan Kulkarni, Founder, KARA
  • Kanwal Sarfraz, Co-founder, Wadi.com
  • Kunal Kapoor, CEO, The Luxury Closet
  • Matthieu Guinard, CEO, Glambox Middle East
  • Mona Ataya, CEO and Founder, Mumzworld
  • Nada Alawi, Founder, Annada
  • Saad Umerani, Co-Founder & CEO, Protein Bakeshop
  • Shafeena Yusuffali, CEO, Tablez Food Company

MRF AWARDS
15:30 - 16:00 Fireside Chat
It’s a mistake to stop believing

Mohammed & Peyman Parham Al Awadhi,  Co-founders, Wild Peeta...

Mohammed & Peyman Parham Al Awadhi,  Co-founders, Wild Peeta

MRF AWARDS
16:00 -17:00 Panel Discussion
Blurring the line between spaces

Store closures, overcapacity and non-engaging retail mix are among the big challenges faced by retail. However, it’s not all gloom and doom, as reta...

Store closures, overcapacity and non-engaging retail mix are among the big challenges faced by retail. However, it’s not all gloom and doom, as retailers – and real estate developers – are endeavouring to breathe fresh energy into retail to stimulate growth. It could be leveraging in-store technology to spice up bricks-and-mortar – enabling online browsing, purchase and checkout from the store. It could be placing an engaging robot to interact with customers and even assist with navigation. Beyond digital, it could be placing the right mix of F&B and entertainment within the retail space. It could also be placing pop-ups to rejuvenate space. Events and iconic buildings add up to the mix. This session will focus on how the physical and digital channels are merging to create an enchanting shopping experience for the consumer.

  • Day 2
MRF AWARDS
Masterclass
Michael Yacobian, CEO, Top-Line Solutions

MRF AWARDS
10:15 - 10:30 Exclusive Report Release
Future consumption outlook in KSA

Adel Belcaid, Principal, AT Kearney Middle East...

Adel Belcaid, Principal, AT Kearney Middle East

MRF AWARDS
10:30 - 11:30 Panel discussion
KSA & its many flavours

The recent taxation regime, opening of cinemas after 35 years and women’s right to drive are among the far-reaching legislative changes that hit Sau...

The recent taxation regime, opening of cinemas after 35 years and women’s right to drive are among the far-reaching legislative changes that hit Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is already making big strides to reduce dependence on oil revenues. Retail and leisure and entertainment sectors are witnessing significant changes, including increased job opportunities for the local Saudi population and widening of amusement portfolio. Our Saudi Arabia-focused session will bring together experts from the Kingdom for an engaging discussion on on-going and upcoming legislative changes that will have far-reaching impact on retail, leisure and entertainment, real estate and consumer behaviour.

Confirmed speakers

  • Ahmad Bin Dawood, CEO, DanubeCo. Ltd & BinDawood Stores
  • Amr Banaja, CEO, General Entertainment Authority
  • Mazen Qandeel, Executive Director, Granada Center
  • Mohammad IB Alawi, Chairman of the Board, Saudi Sand Souvenir Co.
 

MRF AWARDS
11:30 - 13:00 F&B Conclave
Food business made ‘smart’

Food is a true connector. If done well, food businesses thrive. And to do well, food businesses must offer great food and create memorable experiences...

Food is a true connector. If done well, food businesses thrive. And to do well, food businesses must offer great food and create memorable experiences. No wonder, in the retail real estate business, two words – dining and entertainment – are used incessantly. Smart utilisation of space, better guest interaction and a comfortable yet entertaining ambience are areas that food businesses look at keenly. In addition, food businesses are also using technology to their advantage to increase efficiency and better interact with customers. In the current retail landscape underpinned by high rentals, stiff competition and everyday disruption, what are food businesses doing to remain ahead of the curve? Our food conclave will focus on all the above areas and beyond. What’s more, for the first time ever at MRF, we will have a select group of industry insiders at the conclave that will vote for the most interesting food business based on video presentations, which will be felicitated with the coveted RetailME Award.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Darami Coulter, Chief Marketing Officer, Sumo Sushi & Bento
  • Faisal Yabroudi, Co-founder & Head of Operations, PINZA
  • Ian Ohan, Founder, Freedom Pizza
  • Nadine Benchaffai, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Taqado Mexican Kitchen
  • Raki Phillips, Co-founder & CEO, SugarMoo
  • Ramzi Nakad, Co-founder, BRAG
  • Sajan Alex, Vice President, Tablez Food Company
  • Samer Choucair, Vice President, CE-Creates

Jury for F&B Conclave

  • Naveed Dowlatshahi, CEO & Founder, Kash Global Group

Lunch

MRF AWARDS
14:00 - 15:15 Panel Discussion
Demystifying ‘Phygital’

The role of bricks-and-mortar is rapidly evolving in the current retail landscape. Online plays a pivotal role in retail sales. But one isn’t replac...

The role of bricks-and-mortar is rapidly evolving in the current retail landscape. Online plays a pivotal role in retail sales. But one isn’t replacing the other. While the Digital Native and Millennial customers seek a physical point of contact, the Gen X and even Baby Boomers are open to shopping online. The discussion has slowly shifted to evolving and adapting the physical environment, and products, with digital touchpoints to meet the current retailing – and consumer – needs. It is no longer about physical points of sale closing, but more about how ‘smart’, ‘experiential’ and ‘differentiated’ they are becoming to address the connected consumer. It is more about evolving and perfecting the business models, sometimes even disrupting them. This session will discuss how rules of retailing are changing, becoming more nimble and flexible to ensure preparedness for the next big change.

Confirmed speakers

  • Ashish Panjabi, COO, Jacky's Retail LLC
  • David Quaife, Head of Omnichannel, Home Centre
  • Dharmin Ved, CEO – E-commerce, 6th Street
  • Majed M Al Tahan, CEO, Danube Online
  • Stephen Graham Holbrook, Deputy CEO, Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group
  • Vic Bageria, Chief Visionary Officer, Xpandretail
 

MRF AWARDS
15:15 - 15:30 Keynote Address
Home-grown is the new flavour

Even a decade ago, the term ‘entrepreneurship’ was not fully understood. There weren’t many people considering birthing their own concepts. Idea...

Even a decade ago, the term ‘entrepreneurship’ was not fully understood. There weren’t many people considering birthing their own concepts. Ideas existed! But the right channel to support the ideas scale up was lacking. Over the years, the full scale of creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem has been understood – by entrepreneurs themselves, government entities and financial investors.Gradually the region has started lending support towards home-grown concepts by setting up incubators and accelerators.Governments lend support to facilitate growth of entrepreneurial endeavours. Mentors come forward to share knowledge. Media creates awareness by talking about the ‘from here, for here’ phenomenon. In turn, entrepreneurs have built confidence in the existing support system, and success stories have emerged. This keynote will focus on the public-private collaboration in scaling up the regional entrepreneurial community.

MRF AWARDS
15:30-17:00 Start-Up Conclave
Building an entrepreneurial nation

Idea is the starting point. That idea needs nurturing to germinate into a concrete entity. It takes grit, strategic thinking and honesty to build a bu...

Idea is the starting point. That idea needs nurturing to germinate into a concrete entity. It takes grit, strategic thinking and honesty to build a business, irrespective of the size. Since the last few years, a lot of agencies – governmental and non-governmental – have come up to support the development of the local ecosystem in the region. But a lot is yet to be done. It is relatively expensive to start a business here. Bankruptcy laws and ownership rights could be challenging. Not to forget, the fear of failure, albeit much reduced now. While some failures might be stumbling blocks to overcome, others might even end up in shutting shop. However, the entrepreneurial spirit mustn’t die. Our start-up conclave will focus on encouraging individuals to turn their dreams into reality, tackle the hard details of getting a licence and, importantly, getting financed. Even those who self-fund the business must take a long-term view around scaling up. That’s not all; the best start-up concept will be felicitated with the coveted RetailME Award.

Confirmed speakers

  • Anirban Basu, Co-Founder & Designer, Ryokō Bags
  • Dana Alsharif, Founder, Urban RetrEAT
  • Faraz Khan, Founder & CEO, souKare
  • Gaurav Sabharwal, Co-founder, Wok Boyz
  • Malin Raman Delin, Co-founder, BonApp
  • Mehdi Oudghiri, Co-founder, eyewa
  • Mouna Abassy, Founder & Managing Director, Izil Beauty
  • Omar Al Jundi, CEO, Badia Farms
  • Rachel McArthur, Founder & Managing Editor, Digital Ink Media (Moderator)
  • Sian Rowlands, Owner & Chief Storyteller, RETOLD

Jury for Start-up Conclave

  • Dina Sidani, Head of Greenhouse Accelerator/ Innovation Lab, Chalhoub Group
  • Paul Kenny, Managing Director, AYM
  • Tarek Ahmed, Venture Growth Manager, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center – Sheraa

Our Partners 2018

GOLD PARTNER

Silver Partner
  • Shawn Sipman-Executive: customer engagement and commerce UCS Solutions
    Shawn Sipman
    executive: customer engagement and commerce
    UCS Solutions

    I really liked the format of the sessions. It was highly insightful than just being a presentation overload

  • Mona Ataya-Founder & CEO Mumzworld
    Mona Ataya,
    CEO,
    Mumzworld.com

    Consistently high quality in speaker line-up and overall event organisation – MRF is one of our favourite events of the year

  • Louay Moursel-Food & beverage retail manager Eataly
    Louay Moursel,
    AZADEA Group

    The event was well-managed & well-organised

  • Lennard Otto-General manager IMG Worlds of Adventure
    Lennard Otto,
    CEO,
    IMG Worlds of Adventure

    It was a really good layout this year. The event was well attended, which was nice to see. In the upcoming editions, we would love to discuss more global retail trends

  • Garry Wells-Property manager Lush Middle East
    Garry Wells,
    property manager,
    Lush Middle East

    The event was very well organised.

  • AbdulKhader Pattillath-IT director, LSH Holding
    AbdulKhader Pattillath,
    Regional IT director,
    LSH Holding Co.

    It was an excellently coordinated and well-hosted event

  • Steve Odak-CEO iMarketVend
    Steve S Odak,
    CEO,
    iMarketVend inc. USA (MRF 2014)

    “Every year MRF is very exciting, attracting the top brass from retail together” – “Every year MRF is very exciting, attracting the top brass from retail together”

  • Alasdair Lennox-Executive creative director-EMEA FITCH
    Alasdair Lennox,
    Executive Creative Director,
    EMEA, Fitch (MRF 2014)

    “Thank you for inviting me to be part of a panel discussion and a jury member to judge the Images RetailME Awards. I very much enjoyed the experience and trust to have made a positive contribution. We look forward to supporting you next year as well”

  • Rajiv Suri-CEO Majid Al Futtaim Fashion
    Rajiv Suri,
    CEO,
    Majid Al Futtaim Fashion (MRF 2014)

    “It was a great gathering. Thank you for organising the conference with a very relevant theme. Well done! It was very useful listening to the speakers and CEOs – in our research for a perfect omni channel strategy”

  • Salim Sacoor-executive board member Sacoor Brothers Group
    Salim Sacoor,
    Executive Board Member,
    Sacoor Brothers Group (MRF 2014)

    “This is a great opportunity to be present at. Your big effort and great organisation made this forum successful!”

ENQUIRE NOW

SIGN UP TODAY

Partnership Opportunities:

Nikhil Gupta
+971 56 406 6722
nikhil@imagesretailme.com

Awards & Delegate Inquiries:

Chelene Raath
+971 44 46 7553, +971 50 122 0017
chelene@imagesretailme.com

Speaking Opportunities:

Rupkatha Bhowmick
+971 52 981 1183
rupkatha@imagesretailme.com

Delegate Registration (India):

Sarika Gautam
+91 8447249159
sarikagautam@imagesgroup.in

Palazzo Versace Dubai
Address
Culture Village, Al Jadaf - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Attendees Over The Years
Dharmin Ved,Chief Executive Office,6thStreet.com / Frank-Matthias Kuntermann,CEO,ABC Group,Lebonon / Mohammed Salem,Chief Operating Officer,Abdullah Al Othaim Leisure & Tourism Co.,UAE / Kelly Heffey,Director, Abra Cards,UAE / Abbas Bhinderwala,Founder & CEO,Adapty,India / ALESSANDRO GAFFURI,Founder and CEO, CELS Group,Al Araimi Boulevard,Oman / SHAKIR AL ZADJALI,Managing Director,Al Araimi Boulevard,Oman / Ashley,Business Development Manager,Al Futtaim Group Real Estate,UAE / Ivy Dela Cruz,Al Islami Foods,Corporate Branding and Communications Manager,UAE / Kamal Vachani,Group Director,Al Maya,UAE / Abdul Rahman Al Saeedi,Chartered Accountant,Al Samadi Retail,UAE / Ebraheem Al Samadi,CEO,Al Samadi Retail,UAE / Eman Al Tayer,Senior Division Marketing Manager – Harvey Nichol's – Dubai & Jewelry,Al Tayer,UAE / Emma Rymer,Senior Division PR Manager - Bloomingdale's & Home,Al Tayer,UAE / Hayley McGregor,Senior Buyer, Omni-channel,Al Tayer,UAE / CKara Davis,Division Social Media Manager – Department Stores, Home & Jewelry,Al Tayer,UAE / Nicola Fineran,Division Marketing Manager - Lifestyle,Al Tayer,UAE / Nahed Atallah,VP Planning - VP - Department Stores, E-commerce, Home & Jewelry,Al Tayer,UAE / Tina Sharp,General Manager, Bloomingdale's Kuwait,Al Tayer, UAE / Brad Merchant,Director of retail asset management,ALDAR Properties PJSC,UAE / Richa Nair,Sr. Marketing Manager,Aldo,UAE / Mohammed Aldheyabi,Aljazera Supermarket,UAE / Ankur Joshi,Co-Founder & COO,Ambab,India / Bhavik Jhaveri,Founder & CEO,Ambab,India / Alex Andarakis,Founder & Managing Director,Andarakis,UAE / Nada Alawi,Founder & Creative Director,Annada,Bahrain / Kinda Mofleh,Sr. Executive - Digital Marketing, Marketing,Apparel Group,UAE / Ahmad Alkhaja,Vice President Retail Channel,Arc Worldwide,UAE / Tejinder Singh,COO,Arvind Internet,India / Mukul Bafana,Co-founder & CEO,Arvind Internet,India / Mohamed Faraidooni,General Manager - Real Estate,Aswaaq,UAE / Adel Belcaid,Principal,AT Kearney Middle East,UAE / Nitesh Kumar,Vice President, Footwear Division,Athlete's Co,UAE / Ulugbek Yuldashev,CEO,AWOK.com,UAE / James Whelton,Chief Technology Officer,AYM,UAE / Alexander Prietz,Founder and Managing Partner,B&T Brands and Trade Services Middle East DMCC,UAE / Richard Collins Babyshop Chief Executive Officer UAE / Aimee Changco,Co-founder,Baembu,UAE / Matthew King,Co-founder,Baembu, UAE / Saleema Shurrab,General Manager,BinSina,UAE / Paresh Thawani,Sr. Brand Manager,Birkenstock,UAE / Nita Odedra,Business Development Manager,Blue Rhine,UAE / Arun Bruce,Partner & Managing Director,Boston Consulting Group,UAE / Mufid Samo,Country Manager,BTC Fashion,UAE / Shaikha Ahmad Al Bishri,Director,Business Excellence Department, Dubai Economy,UAE / Riyaz Muhammed,Director Business Development,Capillary,UAE / Tina Oberoi,COO,Carter's,UAE / Zeynep Sarsar Sanus,Manager - Retail Agency,CBRE,UAE / Ahamed Wahab,Centrepoint Mall Manager, Mall of the Emirates,Centrepoint,UAE / ASHISH SHUKLA,CEO,Cinepolis - Gulf Entertainment LLC,UAE / Fahimuddin,Chief Executive Officer, Cityland Group,Cityland Mall,UAE / Metro / Sahil Malik,CEO,Da Milano,UAE / Sunil Kumar,Director,Daehsan Trading,UAE / Bhupinder Singh,GM & CFO,Dalma Mall,UAE / Next / Nike / BEJOY CHANDY,SALES MANAGER,DATA CAPTURE SYSTEMS,UAE / Chris Mahiat,Chief Operating officer,Datalogic,UAE / Fahd Siddiqui,Leasing Manager,DI Mall Management,UAE / Warren Krawchuk,Senior Vice President,DIFC,UAE / Rachel McArthur,Managing Editor,Digital Ink Media,UAE / Juan de Lascurain,Chief Dreamer,Dream Big World / Ray Ban / Sean Stauntan,Senior Vice President-Retail Sales,Dubai Duty Free,UAE / Anu singhal,Award Coordinator,Dubai Economy,UAE / Maysa Mohammad Fuda,Senior Executive,Dubai Economy,UAE / Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO,Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment,UA