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Retail’s Big Show: the Place to Be in NYC

National Retail Federation’s annual event welcomes 40,000 visitors.

Jane Neal

January 15, 2024

4 Min Read
NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show
NRF 2024: Retail’s Big ShowLicense Global

Retailers returned to New York City’s Javits Center for NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show, a three-day deep dive into the latest in industry trends, tech innovations, supply chain challenges and forecasts for the year ahead. This year’s theme for the NRF’s Big Show is, “Make it Matter.”

Last year, the NRF’s Big Show had 35,000+ attendees with 6,275 brands represented.

This year, an estimated 40,000 attendees from nearly 100 countries are expected to attend the event – retail’s largest trade show.

NRF 2024 Keynote, Michelle Gass, president, Levi Strauss & Co. Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, National Retail Federation

The event’s opening keynote featured Michelle Gass, president, Levi Strauss & Co., speaking with Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, National Retail Federation. Gass, who will become the company’s chief executive officer on Jan. 29, spoke on how she plans to accelerate growth by sharpening the focus of the current strategies to lean into the power of its brands.

“The brand is your most important asset,” she says.

As a 170-year-old company, Gass says its brand strength puts it into the center of culture. 

“Consumers gravitate to brands they know and trust,” she says.

The event’s afternoon keynote on Jan. 14 featured a conversation between Marc Benioff, chair and chief executive officer, Salesforce and John Furner, president and chief executive officer, Walmart, who also serves as chairman of the NRF board of directors.

Related:CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor Shows Retailers Saw Strong December

In a fireside chat, the two discussed the current and future opportunities of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential impacts on business. The conversation also explored why businesses are investing in AI technology now.

Furner asked Benioff about how companies should deal with ethical issues surrounding AI.

“There can be good AI or bad AI,” says Benioff. “Technology is neither good nor bad; it’s what you do with it that matters.”

The theme for NRF’s Big Show 2024 is “Make it Matter.”

As well as Furner and Benioff, speakers at NRF 2024 include Harley Finkelstein, president, Shopify; Kyle Leahy, chief executive officer, Glossier; Marc Metrick, chief executive officer, Sak’s; Edward W. Stack, executive chairman, DICK’S Sporting Goods and Raj Subramaniam, president and chief executive officer, FedEx Corporation.

In addition to the more than 1,000 exhibitors and 150 sessions, attendees also have the chance to hear keynotes from business celebrities, Martha Stewart and Drew Barrymore. Also on the list of speakers: Bob Eddy, chairman chief executive officer, BJ’s Wholesale Club; Steven Williams, chief executive officer, PepsiCo Foods North America; Dave Kimbell, chief executive officer, Ulta Beauty; Stephanie Linnartz, chief executive officer, Under Armour; Gina Drosos, chief executive officer, Signet Jewelers and James Daunt, chief executive officer, Barnes & Noble. 

On Monday, Jan. 15, basketball legend and entrepreneur, Earvin “Magic” Johnson will kick off a National Day of Reflection and celebration of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. during the opening keynote session. The session will focus on the trajectory of Johnson’s career and his work to empower communities through strategic partnerships with globally recognized brands and to foster economic growth and development.

“From making plays on the basketball court to now running point in the boardroom, Magic Johnson is unmatched in his expansive career as a professional athlete, businessman and entrepreneur,” says Matthew Shay, president, chief executive officer, NRF. “We are honored to have him share his insights and business acumen from the main stage at Retail’s Big Show.”

Johnson served as a member of the original Dream Team and was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame before founding Magic Johnson Enterprises. As chairman and chief executive officer, he leads the organization that provides high-quality products and services focusing primarily on ethnically diverse and underserved urban communities.

The NRF Big Show offers attendees educational programming that includes over 50 NRF-curated keynote and featured sessions led by 170+ industry experts. Topics cover everything from Customer Experience and Leadership to New Technology, Supply Chain, Sustainability and more. The event also features over 100 Big Ideas sessions where solution providers share case studies and product demos.

About the Author(s)

Jane Neal

Content Editor, License Global

Jane Neal is a Content Editor for License Global. Working remotely in the great state of Wisconsin, Jane specializes in retail and pop-culture trends.

She has worked extensively in the communication field as a managing editor, advertising copywriter, technical writer and journalist. She detoured for several years into academia where she taught journalism, English and humanities at the college level.

A complete Marvel nerd, she enjoys food, films, fishing, friends and family … and alliteration.

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