Boohoo and Elevaate join Buying & Merchandising Summit line-up

The Buying & Merchandising Summit 2015 has added two new speakers to its line-up, with's merchandising director, Paul Horsfield, and ex-Kiddicare and Morrisons digital boss, Simon Harrow, now confirmed to speak at the event.

Executives from a range of global pure-play and multichannel retailers are set to present sessions at the summit, which will take place at London's Cavendish Centre on 22 September 2015.

Chaired by RSR Research managing partner Brian Kilcourse, the summit speaker list includes Paul Brennan, group merchandising & retail director at Net-a-Porter, Julie Price, IT director for White Stuff, and Fabio Brunello, director of retail planning & allocation at Levi's.

Harrow, who has recently founded tech company Elevaate to help online retailers use traditional merchandising practices on digital platforms, will join a panel discussion and interactive Q&A session called 'Evaluating technologies to increase omnichannel sales and efficiencies'. Other retailers on the panel include Michel Koch, former eCommerce Director at Maplin, Net-a-Porter's Brennan and White Stuff's Price.

Meanwhile, Boohoo's Horsfield will be involved in the closing panel discussion, 'What Will Buying And Merchandising Look Like In 2018 As Omnichannel Develops?'. He will take his seat alongside Sharon MacLaren, merchandising director at Agent Provocateur, and Amit Argawal, head of buying & merchandising at The Jewellery Channel.

Ben Hawksley, director of merchandise & planning at lingerie retailer Hunkemöller International, who will also be presenting a session at the summit, said an event for buying and merchandising professionals has been "long overdue" because of the central role they play in the retail industry.

He also acknowledged that the evolution of technology has impacted the discipline in a number of ways, over recent years.

"Distribution has become much more important as we have needed to be more flexible – branch merchandising is now a must have instead of a nice to have," he explained.

Comparing the different merchandising challenges facing online-only retailers and multichannel operators, he added: "The impact of returns has been key, together with very front-ended demand.

"Online launches have always been much more aggressive than in-store. This means we need a good initial stock for launch and then have the ability to switch off stock as returns come into play."

The inaugural Buying & Merchandising Summit 2015 takes place at London's Cavendish Centre on 22 September.

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