Future Retail Challenge

Future Retail Challenge

​​Future Retail Awards winners 2014

The winning team for 2014 announced at the World Retail Awards gala dinner on September 30 was Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York.

The Future Retail Challenge retail student competition has become an established and popular part of the World Retail Congress. Now in its 8th year, the Future Retail Challenge seeks to promote the future talent in the retail industry across the world. The World Retail Congress partners with retail colleges around the world that are in turn supported by the industry. It is the aim of the Future Retail Challenge to promote the principle of future retail talent, the work that these colleges do, the range of talented students they are preparing for careers in retailing and to bring the students’ fresh thinking and new ideas on retail into the Congress itself.

In 2014, competing retail students teams came from New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Marche, Italy.

The Challenge

Samsung in partnership with Retail Futures Challenge - a key feature of World Retail CongressIn 2014, the Congress partnered with Samsung to help them create the Samsung Life Store – a completely new concept designed to meet the needs of today’s increasingly connected world and to rethink the traditional appliances store.

Retailers asked that the Future Retail Challenge tackle a real life retail issue and Samsung’s brief certainly delivered that.

The student teams were asked to think about the needs of the millennial consumer; to understand how the “internet of things”; the connected home; the convergence of products and changing lifestyles will dictate the look, role and delivery of a store selling Samsung appliances.

Samsung worked closely with the colleges to advise and mentor on the development of their ideas. The teams then worked with leading design agency, Liganova, to create striking displays of their concepts which formed a major feature at the World Retail Congress in Paris.

The following panel of senior retailers, design experts, Editors and Samsung executives then heard each team present their ideas on September 30th and selected the winning team.

Panel of judges:

Gerald Reitmayr, Head of Retail Europe, Samsung

Interested in consumer electronics from an early age, Gerald Reitmayr worked at Sony in Austria, Amsterdam and the UK. Gerald climbed the ranks to become head of e-business for Sony Europe, before moving to Samsung to set up their consumer electronics sector for 14 European subsidiaries. He is now Samsung’s head of European retail sales.

Robert Thiemann, Founder & Editor in Chief, Frame

A chemical engineer by education, Robert Thiemann went on to become a journalist. In 1997, he co-founded Frame - an interior design magazine covering remarkable built environments to inspire a creative audience - where he remains at the helm. He also owns and runs a publishers of the same name, and lectures regularly at international design events.

Alexander Salzer, COO, Liganova – The BrandRetail Company

After studying economics, Alexander joined brand retail experts Liganova in 2010. There he was responsible for big name clients such as Hugo Boss and Levi’s, consulting across Retail Marketing, Brand Building and Event Design. Afterwards, Alexander worked for Holy Fashion Group as their Head of Marketing, before rejoining Liganova as their COO in 2014.

Bernie Brookes, CEO & MD, Myer Holdings Limited

Based in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia, Bernie Brookes has been Managing Director and CEO of the Myer Group since mid-2006. Bernie has spent 34 years working within the retail industry in local and international roles. He has also held a number of leadership roles in various industry organisations and sat on several charitable committees.

Nora Fehlbaum, Co-CEO, Vitra


Nora Fehlbaum is Co-CEO and member of the board of directors of Vitra, She leads the family business in third generation. Vitra, a Swiss furniture manufacturer, was founded by Willi and Erika Fehlbaum in 1950 and uses the force of good design to improve the quality of homes, offices, public spaces and shops.

Future Retail Challenge 2013

The teams of retail students competing in 2013 entered from New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and new for 2013, Sao Paolo and Milan.

For 2013, the Future Retail Challenge format was also updated to make it more dynamic and interactive. The selected teams arrived in Paris before the World Retail Congress began to be briefed on a task that they then had two days to tackle, compile their findings and then present to delegates and a panel of retail judges. Each team worked around the city of Paris itself and had the help of senior retailers as mentors.

It was focussed on a very practical and relevant retail challenge that saw them using all their creativity and fresh thinking.

The winning team for 2013 announced at the World Retail Awards gala dinner on October 8 was Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York.

Retail Futures Challenge - the ultimate challenge for those entering retail in the future

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