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Highlights from the Russian Retail Forum 2013

The Russian Retail Forum’s producer, Valerie Sokolova, caught up with Ilya Yakubson, President of DIXY Group of Companies, to find out his opinion on the Forum’s most crucial topics, and why CEOs in the highly competitive retail industry come together at one event to discuss their strategies.

Q: What will be the most important element of this Forum?

The Forum is one of the most reputable in the industry. There will be a lot of interesting elements at the event – from high-level participants, to discussions on the most pressing issues of contemporary Russian retail. These will include strategies for regional expansion, innovations, state regulation of the industry, effective business models - and all of these crucial issues discussed by the top executives in the Russian retail business.     

Q: As moderator of the ‘Legends of Retail’ session, which lesson do you think Russia can teach the rest of the world?

We learn very quickly. It has taken us just a decade to catch up with everything that other countries have invented over the past hundred years or more. The speed of domestic retail development is unprecedented. I’m certain that we will begin exporting new technologies and other interesting new methods and approaches, which will be taken on board by the rest of the world.

Q: Has it ever surprised you that CEOs in such a highly- competitive industry as the retail sector come together at one event to discuss their strategies?

No. The Russian retail industry is one of the few economic sectors in Russia where the largest companies have been established from scratch, without huge investments and attention from the state or from large natural resources businesses. Therefore only strong, creative, talented and dedicated people have managed to achieve success. That is why a community of such worthy people has been formed.

Q: What are you expecting to hear from other retailers at the Forum?

I’m interested to hear about everything – strategies, estimates, plans. Also networking with such strong and interesting people is always useful and stimulating.

Q: In 2012 the Forum has placed a special focus on ‘innovation’ and future leadership. What do you understand by innovation in retail?

In my opinion, contemporary retail is all about innovation – remember that until recently all stores in Russia traded ‘over the counter’ but now new formats have come to the fore. There are also now modern IT solutions for managing supply chains and finances, the introduction of payment systems, opportunities to gather and process huge amounts of data to optimise customer services, and the introduction of technologies that save resources. Virtually all elements of retail chain activity are being optimised by innovations.

Thank you and see you at the Forum!

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