Retail Council of Canada Annual STORE Conference


Commport’s Brian Miles attended the RCC STORE event May 28 -29 at the Toronto Congress Centre. RCC has done a great job of growing its membership, expanding the STORE Conference and attracting both sought after speakers and over 2,000 attendees to the STORE event.

This two day event had a number of noteworthy speakers. Diane Brisebois, the RCC President and CEO opened the conference telling the story of the RCC success over the past few years. Kevin Graff, President of Graff Retail TV was the MC for the 2-day event and kept everyone on schedule and showed a lot of enthusiasm and knowledge in introducing each new speaker.

Day 1 had one of Canada’s leading retail guru’s, Tony Chapman, presenting and then interviewing other quests. Day 2 was highlighted by a presentation from Walter ROBB, CEO Whole Foods and then Michael LeBlanc coming on stage to interview Walter.

The overriding theme of the STORE Conference was change in the retail sector. In the news it talks about the demise of retail but in fact in a lot of areas retail sales are growing. The integration of retail with eComm and all facets of a business “omni-channel” is now getting more sophisticated by leveraging big data, AI and most of all, experimenting with new and different ways to attract, retain and excite customers. It is the growth on omni-channel that is bringing customers back to stores.

Everyone keeps hearing about the amazing success of Amazon and other eComm sites, and they are growing quickly, but the almost “shocking” news we heard is that on-line sales only represent 8% of the total Canadian government retails sales number; it is 10% in the US. The major reason for these low numbers is that retail spend also include cars, gas, all food bought in-store or restaurants and other categories.

My compliments to Diane and the RCC staff as I learned a lot, met some new contacts and was inspired to make a few changes in what I do.... Great Event.  – Brian Miles