Gifts Today magazine

BHETA's John Lewis forum enthralls

The latest networking forum from the British Home Enhancement Trade Association delivers insight into the retailer's vision for Cook and Dine

Photo (from left): BHETA’s Roger Morgan Grenville, Caroline Rowell, Anna Berry, Phil Pond and BHETA’s Executive Director for Housewares, Will Jones

Anna Berry, Head of Cook and Dine for John Lewis held an audience of members of the British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) fascinated and in awe with her insight into John Lewis Partnership’s development plans and her own vision for Cook and Dine.

Anna was the keynote speaker at the BHETA Networking Forum on November 15 at Vyse Street, Birmingham. The sell-out event also included an excellent line up of other speakers specifically chosen to highlight current opportunities and to stimulate debate on topical issues such as BREXIT and the recent devaluation of Sterling.

Anna’s background at John Lewis is Health and Beauty and her view on the strategic direction of Cook and Dine takes learnings from her previous category. Her vision covers both product innovation and marketing initiatives including greater emphasis on rewarding customers within the John Lewis database and increased emphasis on product demonstration in co-operation with Waitrose. Anna also outlined opportunities for suppliers, again including synergies with Waitrose supply.

Also on the agenda was Richard Butler, regional director of the CBI. He explored the market in post-BREXIT Britain in a presentation which covered the CBI’s perspective on the issues that face UK PLC based on its canvassing of its one hundred and ninety thousand members. He also outlined the CBI’s evolving relationship with the Government in shaping its approach to the challenges of the future. Richard’s views were complemented by those of Glynn Jones from the Bank of England agency for the West Midlands and Oxfordshire. 

 He updated BHETA members on the Bank’s view of the UK economy following the vote to leave the EU and its forecast of the economic impact going forward.
Another highlight of the day was Phil Pond from trend forecasting company Scarlet Opus, outlining how the design, colour, material and textural trends which will influence consumer tastes and purchasing going forward are determined. 

The Forum also heard from Caroline Rowell of Invicta Retail Consultancy who has spent over 20 years in the homewares industry working in various buying roles including House of Fraser and Fenwick. She presented an insightful view of the evolution of an innovative product concept through physical presentation, the communication of its benefits to the consumer, packaging style and product pricing.

BHETA’s Housewares Sector Director, Will Jones commented, “On every level this was a fascinating insight into the opportunities and challenges of the day. The event was over-subscribed and it was great to see so many members enjoying such precious and exclusives insights.”

More information on future BHETA forums and Meet The Buyer events can be obtained by contacting BHETA Member Services on 0121 237 1130. 



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