News & Media

Retail Week 2017

Date Published: October 7, 2017

October 2nd - Retail HR Panel

Executives from MacQuarries Pharmasave, Sobeys, NSLC, Charm Diamonds, Payzant's Home Hardware, TJX Canada and Sobeys gathered on the first day of the Retail Week to discuss the future of work in retail and connect with undergraduate and graduate SMU students.

From left to right: Mairi Arthur (NSLC), Oliver Leitner (TJX Canada), Stephanie Forsythe (Sobeys), Velvet Clarke (Charm Diamonds), Mark Innes (MacQuarries Pharmasave), Chris Hatt; Evan McDonald (Kent Building Supplies), James MacGregor (Payzant's Home Hardware) and Dr. Wendy Carroll of the Sobey School of Business moderating the discussion. 

The panelists touched on topics such as disruption, employee and customer engagement, career entry points, training programs and winning qualities for new recruits. A few current opportunities were highlighted and students connected with the executives informally after the discussion. 


October 5th - Retail Innovation Awards

Three innovative retailers from across Canada were recognized and accepted awards at the second Retail Week event. Presented by the David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services, the Retail Innovation Awards recognize outstanding leadership in the retail sector.


Awards winners with Dr. David Sobey. From left to right: Zlatan Fazlagic and Mary Weimer (Hillberg and Berk), Kena Paranjape (Brika), Dr. David Sobey, and Gordon Stevens (Uncommon Group)

More on the Winners

Hillberg & Berk: a Regina-based jewelry company whose work has adorned the Queen, and which empowers women “one sparkle at a time”. Award received for product innovation. 

Brika: an upscale craft business in Toronto that has helped the Clinton Foundation save African elephants, and whose community of more than 400 makers has seen the company move from online to three stores. Award received for innovation in retailing. 

Uncommon Group: comprises retail stores that celebrate Nova Scotian products and history, led by the business leader who walked away from Wall Street to remind Halifax to love local. Award received for community-focused retail. 


October 6th - Retail Tour

To wrap up the Retail Week, students from the Sobey School of Business were taken on a tour of the Halifax Shopping Centre and the Port of Halifax. This was an opportunity for students to viscerally learn about operations and strategy, as well as logistics and supply chain management.

Halifax Shopping Centre

The students are shown around the mall, with key tenants put on the spotlight and marketing and promotional initiatives explained.

At different sections of the Centre, before-and-after photos are shown to highlight the changes since the major renovation exercise. The rationale behind these changes are extensively discussed, as well as the impact.

Students on a tour of the Halifax Shopping Centre

The Shopping Centre's management team addressed the students, touching on the functions key to smooth operations at the mall. Store managers from Aritzia, Sephora, Bath & Body Works and The Vault were also gathered to provide an overview on store operations and unique company strategies. 

Port of Halifax

For the second half of the tour, the group headed to the Port of Halifax, where business manager and seasoned logistician Rob McInnes provided an overview on Port operations. Starting from the Seaport Farmers’ Market and gradually travelling to Point Pleasant Park, Rob provides an in-depth history of the Port, touching on the origins and significance of all the buildings and physical structures in sight.

Students learned about the unique selling points of the Port of Halifax, its competitors and the various service users with which it does business. A crucial link was made to the retail sector, and the port’s many important retail business partners.

At the Port of Halifax, by Point Pleasant Park.

By the end of Retail Week, students had heard leading HR experts discuss the future of work in retail, listened to inspiring award winners, and gained deeper insights into retail and port operations in the field.

The events of the week helped students connect the dots, and provided retailers with networking opportunities and, we believe, the motivation to innovate.


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