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On the 28 April 2014, AIS help their Annual Conference at the Forest of Arden Hotel.

The theme of the conference was 'Looking to the Future', which is essential unless a business is to stagnate and that has to encompass all channels and ways in which customers want to transact with you.

John Lewis epitomise how to successfully integrate these channels and we are delighted that their Director of Selling Operations, Nat Wakely, delivered our closing address and gave us insight into how they do what they do and continue to go from strength to strength.

looking to the future

Other speakers also included Dr Steve Peters, who is credited with transforming Team GB cycling into world beaters and Maureen Hinton, a leading retail analyst formerly of Verdict now with Conlumino. James Aston of MoneySpyder, completed the morning line up.

In the afternoon workshop sessions we heard from some of our key members. In the fashion and homewares group, Michael Hitchcock and Tony Richards shared how they are turning Beales around whilst in furniture and flooring, Chris Leech of Stokers drew on his own background with DFS and CSL to talk about how to beat the multiples. Completing the speakers in that session we were delighted to welcome Adrian Fawcett, Chairman of Silentnight Group.

The day was facilitated by Philip Hesketh who made a welcome return.

Our thanks go out to our many sponsors who help to defray the costs of this important event. Thank you to the many members who took the time to visit the exhibitors in the Woodlands Suite. They were joined by AIS merchandise personnel, during break periods, who happily discussed their product areas with the members.

The exhibitors also hosted a drinks reception for delegates in the Woodlands Suite between 5.00 pm and 6.00 pm.