On 23 April, the Forest of Arden Hotel once again hosted the AIS Annual Conference.

The conference offered a very strong line-up of speakers and the supplier exhibition in the marquee hosted a range of excellent exhibitors.

The theme of What next? resonates with all who work in retail in respect to the challenges that lie ahead whether known or unknown.

The main day was again facilitated by Philip Hesketh who introduced Declan Curry, the renowned business journalist, who addressed the retail outlook in relation to Brexit.

If there ever was a business risk that is unpredictable and ever changing it is Cyber Security. We heard from Jenny Radcliffe about the risks and how to mitigate them.

Staying with a technological theme, the morning sessions closed with David Rowan, Editor at Large of Wired UK, talking about how he sees the significance of developments in technology for retail.

Opening the afternoon was entrepreneur Richard Askam, who shared key ideas, motivational stories and practical tips to improve business performance, innovation and customer engagement.

We then had a very real example of ‘what next’ from Gerald Ratner, who talked about his rollercoaster journey in retail with candour and great humour.

Lord Mark Price closed the day talking about his research in placing employees at the centre of a business’s values, inspired by his time at John Lewis.