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Shopping Centres Council’s research conference will highlight retail trends, technology and ‘Afripolitan’ consumers

Brick and mortar retail has been under increasing pressure in recent years owing not only to economic conditions, but also the rise of online shopping. Keeping abreast of the trends, as well as changing traditional strategies has therefore been integral for retailers and retail property owners.

It is no surprise then that this year’s annual South African Council of Shopping Centres’ (SACSC) research conference in Durban will shine the spotlight on retail trends, new “Afripolitan” consumers and technology.

The conference, which will take place next week, will have more than 10 keynote speakers and bring together approximately 300 industry executives, professionals and thought leaders to share ideas, gain insights and network, says SACSC chief executive Amanda Stops.

While the event focuses on trends and technology, consumers are at the heart of the industry, and so the conference will zone in further to get a better understanding of what “Afripolitan” consumers want, as well as marketing to African consumers.

Presentations from Sesfikile Capital’s Naeem Tilly and Investec Securities’ David Smith will focus on the country’s economic and consumer outlook, as well as the state of the retail market, while Deloitte’s Mike Vincent will look at whether South African retailers are ready for the “connected retail revolution”. 

“Leroy Merlin’s Cedric Sennepin will talk about the French DIY retailer’s entry into the South African market and how to re-invent the future of retail. 

“Yuppiechef’s co-founder and chief executive will speak about establishing one of SA’s first online stores and how Yuppiechef is now opening physical stores,” Stops says.

Other presentation topics include: The Age of the Afripolitan. A futuristic view of how emerging technologies and South African realities could shape shopping centres over the next 10 years.

Influencer marketing in the retail sector. The next generation of shoppers and how consumers are evolving. “We have an exciting and diverse line-up of speakers at the SACSC research conference this year. It is a not-to-be-missed industry event and we look forward to hosting another great conference,” says Stops.

She adds that broadcasters Gugulethu Mfuphi and Bronwyn Nielsen are the conference facilitators this year and “robust discussions” are anticipated. Nomzamo Radebe, chief executive of JHI, which is sponsoring the conference says: “We are delighted to once again be partnering with the SACSC to further knowledge sharing and innovation within the South African retail industry.

“Faced with an incredibly fastchanging, disruptive and complex economic environment, we believe that deep-seated research, knowledge sharing and out-of-the-box thinking is essential to long-term success and sustainability for all stakeholders.”

Some of the stars of the show 

Confirmed speakers at this year’s event include:

● Naeem Tilly, head of research at Sesfikile Capital.

● David Smith, an equity analyst at Investec Securities.

● Mike Vincent, a director at Deloitte. ● Cedric Sennepin, chief executive of Leroy Merlin SA.

● Andrew Smith, co-founder and chief executive at Yuppiechef.

● GG Alcock, founder of Minanawe Marketing and author of KasiNomics, Third World Child and KasiNomic Revolution.

● Dr Ankit Katrodia, a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of KZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership.

● Doris Viljoen, senior futurist at the Institute for Futures Research. ● Jess Jorgensen, director at Instant Grass International.

● Jessica Passtore, senior analyst of competitive intelligence at Whole Foods Market.


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