The Houlden Group has announced that they plan to hold two meetings this year – the first on June 22 for Members only, followed by a second three day event for Members and Suppliers from September 5-7.
In line with the successful national roll-out of the vaccination programme and the growing confidence and optimism amongst Members, the meetings are designed to provide much needed face-to-face contact, networking and the exchange of ideas and plans, following the past 11 months of the pandemic. In the case of the September event, non-members are also encouraged to apply to attend.
The Summer meeting for Members will offer the chance for the first time to share in person their COVID ‘war’ stories. This in turn, drawing on the experiences and lessons learned, will help everyone to explore new ideas and formulate progressive strategies on how best to evolve retail business to meet the demands of the ‘new look’ customer.
Other items on the Agenda will include managing the growing trend for remote working and new ways to communicate internally and externally.
For members who are unable to attend, a virtual element to the meeting is also planned.
Houlden CEO, Helen Haddow, comments: “So much has changed over the past year as to how we work, how we buy and how our customers shop. Virtual has become the new norm.
“At the same time, the power of joint collaboration has never been more evident than during this period. Being part of the Group has enabled all our Members to be collectively stronger and work more effectively and efficiently as a community – demonstrating the valuable benefits of the Houlden Advantage.”
The second event for Members and Suppliers is timed to not only maximise festive ordering but also meet Members’ interest in new collections to enhance their retail offer.
Whilst retailers have been connecting with suppliers virtually and, when possible, welcoming them to their stores, they now want to thank them personally for their relentless support during these challenging times.
The schedule includes a half day meeting for Members on September 5, followed by a two day Suppliers Exhibition.
Helen Haddow concludes: “Clearly both events will be reliant on travel restrictions being lifted and being able to meet as a group indoors. However, plans are well under way to ensure a safe environment for both meetings, with social distancing and the wearing of PPE in place if required.
“The September event will also provide an excellent opportunity for much needed networking. Hence the invitation to non-members to apply to attend.”