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* Full Seminar Programme Announced at *

The largest European Home & Gift buying event of the year, Autumn Fair, taking place on 5th – 8th September at NEC Birmingham, is pleased to announce that retail entrepreneur, TV Dragon, and founder of Small Business Sunday, Theo Paphitis will deliver a keynote conversation on Tuesday 7th September delving into the evolving shape of UK retail.

Theo Paphitis, small business champion through #SBS Small Business Sunday and well-known TV dragon and retail entrepreneur says; "Autumn Fair is always a fantastic opportunity for connecting retailers and suppliers.  After many months of making the best of the virtual world, this Autumn Fair is another sign that retail is getting back on its feet and people are wanting to attend these live shows.  It is always a much-anticipated event for my #SBS Small Business Sunday winners and an opportunity for them to further blossom as a business. I'm delighted to be attending once again in Birmingham, anticipating the live buzz of the event, talking about retail and of course visiting the #SBS Pavilion. I'll see you there!"

Suzanne Ellingham, Head of Content, Autumn Fair adds; “The last 18 months have left their mark on all retailers. However, with all change comes opportunity, and the chance to change the way that consumers think about retail. We are excited to welcome retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis to the Inspiring Retail Stage to discuss some of the big questions around how independent retailers, who are potentially positioned to come out of this period stronger than ever, take advantage this period of change. From how they stay on top of consumers evolving expectations, and why they need to double down on the service no question is off limits in this frank and honest discussion with World Retail Congress editor and Forbes contributor Mark Faithful.”

The Inspiring Retail Stage programme kicks off on Sunday 5th September at 11am with a hosted panel discussion featuring Melissa Dawkins from Made in Ashford, Dr Jackie Mulligan of ShopAppy, and Carol Pyrah from Historic Coventry Trust, focused on the future of the High Street. Futurist, Founder & CEO of Next Big Thing, William Higham follows at 1pm talking about ‘How tomorrow’s retailers can win big by going back to the future’. William has worked with the biggest names in retail, from Sainsbury's to Amazon. In this talk, he'll look at how customers' changing attitudes and behaviours will impact the High Street of the future. 

Sunday also throws the spotlight on TV interior design master Paul Moneypenny who will be taking to the stage to talk about his own design inspirations at 2:15pm.

For visitors keen to research the key trends of the season to help guide their buying decisions, day two serves up a vital insight into the macro-trends impacting consumers at 10.30am with Kate Usher, Senior Trend Consultant at Trend Bible. From the changes the pandemic has brought onto lifestyles at home and work, to overarching generational shifts, this session will provide the information needed to use macro-trends in business.

Ahead of Theo’s keynote, on Tuesday at 1pm Karl McKeever, Founder and Managing Director of Visual Thinking will tackle the Christmas season with his ‘Christmas is Coming: Creating a Showstopping Store Experience’ session. Following the pandemic, shopping habits have been changed for good. From getting more comfortable ordering online to expecting far more from our experiences in-store, meeting the needs of consumers is vital to survival. Attracting customers away from their screens and into the store has never been more competitive. With Christmas around the corner, this essential session will provide the toolbox needed to ensure your store is ready for this incredible season.

On Wednesday, Autumn Fair’s charity and wellbeing partner, Retail Trust starts the day with Wellbeing Hour as its CEO Chris Brook-Carter joins Julie Driscoll, Managing Director of UK Retail, Hyve Group for a conversation on ‘Supporting colleagues in retail to thrive’. This important session explores the ways in which retail colleagues should be supported during one of the most turbulent retail periods in modern times. Learn about the work that The Retail Trust do and take away key practical lessons to implement across your organisation.

This is followed by a fascinating ‘Heads Together: Subscribing to new models’ sessions with Chris Lambert, Founder of ScrawlrBox, and Debi McCormack, Founder of Boxcitement. New operating models have truly come into their own with consumers looking for new ways to discover products and new experiences whilst shopping. One such model that has truly taken off is subscription retail. With record high consumer interest, low advertising costs, and a confirmed monthly revenue source, is this model the future for independents? Join this session to take away new ideas to translate into your business and be inspired.

A Daily Digest catch-up session for visitors who may have missed any of the day’s content will take place at the end of each day. Hear from the Inspiring Retail Stage moderator and a selection of special guests on their thoughts from the day’s sessions and get a distilled look at the key topics and discussions.

For more information and to view the full programme please visit or pre-register and download the official Autumn Fair App

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