On Thursday, June 15, 2023, Columbus Consulting partner, Charlotte Kula-Przezwanski and Global Senior Retail Advisor, Andrew Jennings OBE hosted a leadership roundtable with retail executives from brands like: All Saints, Michael Kors, Harrods, Halfords and more, at the Haymarket Hotel in London. 

This invitation only retail leadership breakfast covered topics on retail trends, insights and what makes/keeps the industry relevant. Charlotte and Andrew kicked off this thought leadership session with recaps from the recent World Retail Congress and Drapers Future of Fashion summit. Specifically, the group shared thoughts on current challenges they are facing in the new era of retail. 

While there were continued challenges that the industry has been discussing both pre and post pandemic, such as the importance of data, data integration, use and balance of data with experiences, some interesting modern themes emerged:

  • Cross shop opportunities in a connected commerce world and the use of integrated systems and processes to utilize enhanced consumer behaviours to maximize sales across channels and platforms.
  • Using data to create meaningful content by audience segment and curating services and products based on ancillary data points such as auto service timing, pet breed care needs, behavioral preferences and more.
  • Embracing speed and transformation while keeping the lights on and doing your day jobs.
  • Updating systems and platforms with mindful integration and how to enhance dated solutions and implement new ones.
  • Renewed focus on the customer by rationalising the assortment every season by channel.
  • Competing amidst a promotional climate/inflationary time while maintaining price integrity and brand aspiration.
  • Managing wholesale and retail channels for brands-assortments, delivery timing, promotional cadence, customer experience.
  • Embracing profitable sustainability practices from sourcing through production and distribution.
  • Building communities within customer segments to enhance brand engagement and relevancy.

The breakfast briefing brought together diverse categories and operational disciplines who shared many of the same business challenges, customer demands, operational needs and transformative roadmaps to thrive in the new era of retail. The leaders concluded the session with a certain sense of validation and a renewed common vision for the industry. Summarising the need for retailers, regardless of category, to offer newness, provide unique relationships through brand collaborations and meaningful experiences and to keep the customer then data at the center of everything they do.

Want to learn more about how you can be part of the Columbus Circle or find out how our community can help your business? Contact: Charlotte directly at



Columbus Consulting is a leading retail consulting firm. Our team of retail consulting practitioners all have career experience with leading global brands in retail, CPG, wholesale, and grocery. Our philosophy is simple, if you do it, we do it. From strategy through implementation, our retail consultants will work as extensions of your team. For over 20 years, we have helped companies like yours with assortment planning, inventory planning, demand planning, unified commerce consulting, store systems consulting, FP&A consulting, IT consulting, data analytics consulting, digital transformation and more. With a 96% re-engagement rate, our retail consultants pride themselves on building long-term, trusting relationships by being nimble and driving true value. 

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