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01/21/2022

NRF 2022: Key Takeaways from Retail Execs

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Furner and Shay at NRF
John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. and Matt Shay, president and CEO at NRF 2022 (Source: NRF).

C-suite-level executives from major retailers delved into many of the most pressing issues affecting retail at the NRF 2022 “Big Show.”

Top executives from the nation’s leading chains, including Walmart, Target, Nordstrom and Lowe’s, were among the featured speakers at the annual NRF 2022 conference in New York. The executives covered a wide range of industry topics, from supply chain, consumer shopping trends and branding to health and safety, sustainability and customer service.

Following are selected highlights from speaker comments made at NRF 2022 sessions.

“We’re in a rapidly growing economy with a high demand level, which has led to out-of-stocks, supply chain problems, and price increases. Two major things we hear about from our consumers are their health and safety and rising inflation. We as an industry need to work together to remove cost from the supply chain, to make sure our customers can afford what they need.”
John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S.

“[Customers] came out to shop. They were out physically shopping in our stores. They returned to shopping malls. They were engaged. They wanted to be out there enjoying what retail can provide. It gives me incredible optimism for the future.”
Brian Cornell, Target chairman and CEO

“The fact is, customers don’t look at (a store carrying brands from its competitors) that way. Customers look at it like, ‘I like that brand.’ Madewell offers a perfect example: A common — and validating — comment from customers finding the brand at Nordstrom is, ‘Now I can buy my favorite brand in my favorite store.’”
Pete Nordstrom, president and chief brand officer, Nordstrom

“As we think about what we need to be as a company, it’s been really simple. We want to take care of associates and be the best workplace we can be. We want to delight our customers. We want to make our communities better.”
Marvin Ellison, chairman and CEO, Lowe’s Companies Inc.

“From the beginning, one of our most important tenets was guarding the health of both our staff and the customers. We were constantly and empirically looking to science to ask, ‘What is the safest environment, given what we know today?’ and then providing the infrastructure for our teams as much as possible to meet those changing safety guidelines. The most important issue to us, then as now, is that we want the customer or employee to feel safe, based on their own life situation.”
Corie Barry, Best Buy CEO

“We want to make sustainability affordable for the many, not only affordable for a few. That’s extremely important in the way we see this from the brand’s perspective.”
Javier Quiñones, Ikea U.S. CEO and chief sustainability officer

“We build a closeness at a very fundamental human level. Then on top of that, you’re using a lot of technology — personalization, e-commerce, delivery — that builds on this emotional bond and creates a lot of stickiness. And I think that’s a lot of the value of the company.”
Vivek Sankaran, Albertsons CEO

“The industry needs to be bold.”
Jason Berns, senior VP, product and manufacturing innovation for Ralph Lauren

“I believe in the speed of innovation and the loyalty and longevity of customer care that a company can deliver. Innovation breeds a lot of focus and improvement — whether it’s in process, in people protocols, infrastructure, architecture, it doesn’t really matter — toward the service of customers.”
Sumit Singh, Chewy CEO

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