Girls with shopping bags are satisfied with the purchase

Professor Kim Cassidy, Academic Director of the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre, based at NBS, has recently delivered two major presentations at national practitioner conferences.

On Friday 3 March, Kim presented the Case Study of Roeselare at the Revive & Thrive Local Legends Conference held in Northwich, Cheshire. The event was attended by over 80 representatives of UK towns and cities from across the UK involved in regeneration projects which are achieving amazing outcomes within their communities. Other keynote speakers included Simon Quin, Director of the Institute of Place Management and Joe Barratt, co-founder of The Teenage Markets.

On Wednesday 8 March Kim presented at Retail Week Live, the UK retail sector’s flagship conference in London, and which was attended by 1200 Chief Executives, Board members and senior staff from all the UK’s major retail organisations. Accompanied by Vanessa Delhulu, the Head of Roeselare City Council’s Economic Development team, Kim again took delegates in one of the conference’s ‘Learning Live’ sessions through the case study of this town in West Flanders, Belgium. In just two years, under the passionate leadership of their new Mayor, they have adopted and implemented many of the recommendations in the UK’s 2013 Grimsey Review, identifying seven key ambitions and delivering changes that have benefited consumers, retailers and their City Centre, making it fit for the 21st Century.

Given the continued search for ideas about how to revitalise High Streets and Town Centres, UK national and local politicians and business leaders could gain valuable insights from this Belgium case study about the sorts of changes they may look to implement and the best ways of doing so.

Having also presented at the Government’s Future High Street Forum meeting in January and with another presentation confirmed at the National Retail Forum conference in Birmingham in April, Kim is leading the way in raising awareness of NRRKEC amongst key retail and town centre practitioner groups and decision makers and the dissemination of academic research to the retail sector. Invitations to speak at such major conferences also demonstrates the increasing interest by these key stakeholders in learning more about the range of projects in which the centre is now involved.