The Ninth Retail Leaders Circle MENA Summit has concluded two days of open debate around how the sector can best meet the evolving needs of the region’s consumers and develop for the future.
Saudi Payments and Cenomi Group were strategic partners for the event. TikTok, Chahoub Group and Channels by stc were platinum partners.
The tone for the event was set by opening keynote speaker, H.E. Eng. Ammar Nagadi Vice Minister of Economy & Planning who laid out the Ministry’s strategic priorities for the sector. Laying out the Ministry’s plan for growth, modernization and optimization, the Vice Minister said, “Our aim is to lead in the sector. To help shape the future of retail by harnessing the enormous potential of merging technologies and the retail metaverse. To transform Saudi into a regional hub for e-commerce, delivering on the promise of the digital ecosystem through state-of-the-art logistics.”
Conversations on the first day focused on how the retail sector can best integrate technologies, including immersive capabilities like augmented reality, into their business models. Panels also considered the role of retail in other growth areas of the economy, including tourism, entertainment and new lifestyle destinations.
The closing session was an unprecedented roundtable involving the leaders of some of the region’s largest retail groups.
Patrick Chalhoub, Group President of the Chalhoub Group; John Hadden, CEO of the Alshaya Group; Renuka Jagtiani, Chairwoman of the Landmark Group and Mohamad Mourad, managing director and CEO of Cenomi Group came together to discuss how the sector might collaborate internally and with government to drive positive change.
The second day turned to the impact on retail of other sectors such as tourism and emerging lifestyle destinations. Speakers also addressed the changing dynamics and increasing capabilities of the payments markets, as cash transactions fall below 50 percent of total retail spend. Also on the agenda was the growing Saudi fashion sector and the emergence of exciting home-grown brands.
The event included an interactive hybrid hall where partners including Cenomi Group, Saud Payments, Visa, TikTok, Snap and the 100 Saudi Brands Initiative, among others showcased their latest technologies and plans for the region.
“The Ninth Retail Leaders Circle MENA Summit has been an enormous success, bringing together the sector leaders and industry pioneers and emphasizing the centrality of the Saudi Arabian market to the regional retail ecosystem,” said Panos Linardos, Chairman of the Retail Leaders Circle. “The level of attendance and the quality of the conversation was extraordinary. The Retail Leaders Circle remains passionate about facilitating ongoing engagement and strategic collaboration to drive positive change in this vital sector.”