Sustainability takes centre stage at Dubai’s Retail Summit  


The second edition of the two-day Retail Summit is under way at Dubai’s Atlantis hotel.  

Running from Monday to Tuesday, the summit will bring together more than 800 attendees from around the world, with key discussions focusing on the post-pandemic retail landscape, e-commerce and omnichannel retailing and sustainability.  

The summit will comprise presentations, panel discussions and exclusive interviews with key industry players, including Michael Chalhoub, president of strategy, growth, innovation and investment and joint venture at the Chalhoub Group, Toufic Kreidieh, co-founder and CEO of Brands for Less, Susie Kuhn, president of Foot Locker’s Europe, Middle East and Asia division, and David Boynton, CEO of The Body Shop.  

In ‘The Post Pandemic Luxury Market’ panel discussion, Angela Farrugia, founder of brand management and business strategy consultancy firm Brand x Society, Andrea Frabetti, CEO of luxury yacht manufacturer and retailer Sunseeker International, and Colleen Caslin, CEO of jeweller Jessica McCormack, discussed how their companies adapted to customers’ demand for luxury goods during the pandemic.  

A key strategy discussed focused on offering products in complementary markets to strengthen customer relationships. The speakers shared how doing so can help companies better understand their customer base to improve customer interactions and satisfaction.  

Another panel titled ‘Sustainability: Not Just a Phase, It’s Our DNA’ focused on integrating eco-friendly practices into core business strategies, beyond responding to consumer trends.  

Thierry Andretta, CEO of luxury fashion brand Mulberry, Emmanuel Eribo, co-founder of sustainable and vegan sneaker brand LØCI, and Laboni Saha, founder and creative director of luxury womenswear label L SAHA, shared how their brands consider the environment during the manufacturing process.  

Traceability and circularity were explored as implementations that may benefit the greater retail industry. They also discussed how collaborations with fellow brands could improve waste repurposing in the future.   

Mr Chalhoub also highlighted the importance of sustainability on Monday during a panel titled ‘The Winning Formula for Middle Eastern Retail’.  

He said sustainability is one of the major post-Covid-19 consumer trends and he places the environment top of mind when doing business.  

“We embed sustainability in every business unit that we have. We take very seriously circular economy as a subset we want to tackle, not just because of sustainability but because pre-loved luxury and pre-loved fashion is growing extremely fast,” he said.  

“Bain [global business management consultancy firm] recognises that it is a $33 billion market and is growing five times as fast as the normal first-hand market.” 

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, attended the ‘Go Agile or Go Home’ panel with Ms Farrugia and Catherine Levesque, senior vice president of luxury fashion holding company Tapestry.  

The panel discussed customer centricity and creating small mission-based teams to meet better-defined priorities more effectively.