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Proudly sponsored by VME Coop

Co-op Retail Conference 2024

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Presenter speaking on state at Co-operative Retail Conference

Co-op Retail Conference attracts leaders, managers and directors from the UK's leading co-operative retail societies due to its compelling content and status as an unrivalled learning and networking opportunity. 

This year's Co-op Retail Conference which takes place from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 March at De Vere Cranage Estate, Cheshire. This year's event is proudly sponsored by VME Coop.

Key themes for 2024

  • Insights into the retail industry
  • Crime and threats to shop workers
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Climate and sustainability
  • Social care
  • AI and tech
Book your place at Co-op Retail Conference 2024

Please note: some timings may be subject to change 

Friday 15 March

4.30-6pm: Policy workshop

  • James Wright, Policy and Development Lead, Co-operatives UK
  • Tom Laing, Policy Officer, Co-operatives UK

With a general election around the corner, this workshop is a fantastic opportunity to feed directly into our work to position co-operatives before and after polling day, including through our policy platform and the Future Economy Alliance. Join us to get an update on our current activity across the UK and help set future priorities for our lobbying efforts. How should policymakers support co-operative growth? What issues need addressing? How can we have more impact? 

6.30-7pm: First timers’ session

An opportunity for delegates to network and learn more about the weekend. Attendees will meet fellow Co-op Retail Conference first timers as well as Co-operatives UK staff.

7-10.30pm: Drinks reception and networking dinner

Join us for a drinks reception and networking dinner.

Saturday 16 March

9.30-9.40am: Welcome 

A short welcome from Co-operatives UK CEO, Rose Marley, and event sponsor VME Coop.

9.40-10.40am: State of the nation: Outlook for the UK market

Patrick Mitchell-Fox, UK Insight Partner, IGD

We are delighted to welcome back the ever-popular Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) who will give us an unparalleled outlook for the UK retail market, and retail and shopper trends for 2024 and beyond.

Access the latest data, deep insights and views on the development of the UK grocery market as well as shopper insights from across the UK. We will explore sector drivers and themes for 2024, in-store trends, as well as wider shopping habits and behaviours. 

Specific focuses for 2024 include: Deep insights and views on the development in the UK grocery retail market with emphasis on convenience retail; British grocery shopper insights on their behaviour, perception and expectation; and the bigger picture view on key retail and shopper trends in 2024 that will help inspire and challenge your thinking.

11am-12pm: CEO panel discussion: Co-operating together – bringing principle six to life

  • Debbie White, Chair, Co-op Group – Introduction by video
  • Shirine Khoury-Haq, CEO, Co-op Group
  • Phil Ponsonby, CEO, Midcounties Co-op
  • Debbie Robinson, CEO, Central Co-op
  • Alison Hands, CEO, Lincolnshire Co-op 
  • Chaired by Rose Marley, CEO, Co-operatives UK

After a short video introduction from Debbie White, Chair of Co-op Group, Co-operatives UK’s Rose Marley will host a panel discussion featuring CEOs from a number of the UK's leading co-op retail societies. 

12-1pm: Co-operatives and sustainability: How is the co-operative movement addressing climate change?

  • Mike Pickering, Head of Sustainability, Midcounties Co-op
  • Debbie Clarke, Co-op member, Unicorn Grocery 
  • Chaired by Lindsey Chapman, Climate, culture and wildlife presenter for TV and Radio

Full details to be announced.

2-2.45pm: Diversity in retail

  • Joanna Aunon, Director, Diversity in Retail

3-3.45pm: The cost of a broken of society: Getting to the heart of retail crime

  • Alex Norris, Shadow Minister for Policing 
  • Jas Mehmi, Operations Manager, Central Co-op 
  • Caroline Best, Support Worker, Livingstone House
  • Chaired by Paul Gerrard, Public Affairs Director, Co-op Group

Full details to be announced.

4-4.45pm: Co-operatives and social care: Ways to fix a broken market

  • Suara Co-operativa
  • Caoilinne Hurley, Managing Director of Life Planning and Legal, Co-op Group

Full details to be announced.

4.45-5.15pm: An update from the Co-operative Party

  • Joe Fortune, General Secretary, Co-operative Party

An update from the Co-operative Party on current campaigns and their impact.

7-7.30pm: Drinks reception

7.30pm-late: Three-course gala dinner and entertainment 

The Stephenson Suite plays host to Saturday evening’s three-course meal. The evening also features an after-dinner speech from health and wellbeing consultant Derrick Evans MBE – aka Mr Motivator – prior to our charity raffle draw and DJ set.

Sunday 17 March

9.30-9.35am: Welcome

A short welcome from Co-operatives UK CEO, Rose Marley.

9.35am-10.50am: Artificial Intelligence: The future of co-operation workshop

  • Professor Andy Miah, Chair in Science Communication and Future Media, University of Salford
  • Mike Brough, Head of Data, Analytics and Insight, Central Co-op
  • Szczepan Orlowski and Beriwan Ceren, Animorph Co-operative
  • Hosted by Kanika Selvan, Associate Director of Data and Technology, University of Sheffield 

Fusing innovation, ethics, and consultation, this future-facing session features leaders in Artificial Intelligence (AI) tech. Co-operative technologists are building new AI for retail and beyond, including cutting edge experiential tech you can try out. You will also be invited to have your say on AI, what you would like to see Co-operatives UK doing, and how we can support you in your business and tech ambitions.

10.50-11am: Event close

11am: Check out and lunch 

Take away lunches available.

Co-op Retail Conference 2023

At the 2023 event we assembled an incredible range of speakers including The Co-op Group CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq; IGD's UK Insight Manager, Dan Gillett; and an international speaker from Coop Denmark. An incredibly inspiring and informative event, you can read about Co-op Retail Conference 2023 here.

Highlights from Co-op Retail Conference 2023
See photos from Co-op Retail Conference 2023
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