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Fashion designer John Varvatos to headline Global Retailing Conference
Mar '09
John Varvatos
John Varvatos
The Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at The University of Arizona has announced a second list of speakers who will be added to the dais for the 14th Annual Global Retailing Conference in Tucson.

The speakers at the conference, the largest of its kind in the western U.S., will offer their thoughts on consumer attitudes and the battered state of the retail industry. The conference has been a popular forum for retailers, economists, technologists, authors, media and students to share innovative ideas surrounding the critical issues facing that industry.

This year's theme is "Putting Innovation in Play and the People Who Make it Work."

One of them is a rising star in the fashion industry. Men's fashion designer John Varvatos heads his eponymously named company and finds inspiration in rock music.

Varvatos won the Council of Fashion Designers of America Menswear Designer of the Year award in 2001 and 2005, the Perry Ellis Award for Menswear in 2000 and GQ magazine's Designer of the Year in 2007.

Other speakers and their topics include:
- Steve Sadove, chairman and CEO, Saks Inc.,"Is Luxury Retailing Dead?" Sadove joined Saks in 2002. His 25-year career includes marketing and product development at General Foods USA and Bristol Myers Squibb. Sadove, who graduated from Hamilton College and has an MBA from Harvard University, also serves on the boards of Colgate Palmolive and Ruby Tuesday.

- Tom Murry, president and CEO, Calvin Klein Inc., "Brand Building and Market Share Growth in a Difficult Economic Environment." Murry directs operations of one of the world's largest and most successful designer fashion companies. He has been with the company since 1996 and presently concentrates on business strategy, marketing and sales development for all Calvin Klein product lines under the Calvin Klein brands.

- Craig Phillipson, CEO, Shopworks UK, "Maximizing Sales Through Store Planning: It isn't sexy but it is effective." Phillipson founded Shopworks UK, a retail consulting firm, in 1997, and led the company through a period of major international growth. He leads the strategic direction and development of the company and is involved in the delivery of consultancy and design projects.

- John Fleming, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, Walmart, "Retail: Business of Managing Consumer Change." Fleming spent 19 years at Target Corp. before joining Walmart nearly five years ago, and has led Walmart.com through significant growth as the company has focused on expanded product and service offerings.

- Sally Jewell, president and chief executive officer, REI, "Nurturing a Virtuous Cycle Healthy Planet, People and Business." REI is the largest consumer cooperative in the United States, with 3.5 million active members, and provides gear and clothing for human-powered outdoor recreation. REI has consistently been recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For in America" and in 2008 won the "Employer of the Year" award at the World Retail Congress in Barcelona, Spain. An active community volunteer, Jewell is a founding board member of the Seattle-based Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.

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