American Marketer


Transformation of luxury retail main focus of NYU Stern conference

October 27, 2011


The idea of how technology and global connectivity has shaped the luxury shopping experience intends to be the main theme of the NYU Stern School of Business luxury and retail conference Oct. 28.

Key speakers include executives from Neiman Marcus Group, L’Oreal, Patron Spirits Company and Alice + Olivia. The event, in its fifth year, is organized by the Luxury & Retail Club at Stern.

“We have a more targeted theme this year,” said Alex Brousseau, conference co-chair and second-year MBA candidate at Stern.

“We’re trying to get at this idea of how technology and globalization connectivity has changed the shopping experience and looking at that from a number of lenses whether that is straightforward ecommerce, social or mobile, but also angles such as sustainability and changeable markets," she said.

“We’re always trying to push the envelope as to what falls under the luxury umbrella, including things you wouldn’t expect to be retail or luxury like wines and spirits or cigars.”

The conference will be held at NYU Stern School of Business in Manhattan from 12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

Key to the future
The opening keynote will be by Karen Katz, CEO of Dallas-based Neiman Marcus Group, which owns Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.

Neiman Marcus ecommerce site

The next session will include executives from retailer Alice + Olivia, Exhale Spa and Patron Spirits Company.

The third session is a breakout panel that will discuss topics such as leveraging digital media, the new face of luxury and perspectives on BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India and China – markets.

There will also be an industry roundable and a closing keynote by Carol Hamilton, president of the luxury products division at L’Oreal.

Luxury products page on L'Oreal

“The speakers are going to be there because it’s a credible academic endeavor," Ms. Brousseau said. "And it's a rare opportunity to hear first-hand from a CEO what their business strategy is, as well as challenges they are facing.

“It’s useful at any stage in your career to hear about what works and what doesn’t,” she said.

Class apart

Networking is not the main purpose of this event, but Ms. Brousseau hopes that the event will help MBA candidates and other attendees learn more about the state of the industry.

Representatives from Rue La La, Moet Hennessy, Estee Lauder, American Express and Christie’s will be attending. Luxury Daily is the media sponsor of the NYU event.

In additional to industry professionals, the event is open to Stern business students and MBA candidates from other schools.

In fact, tickets for students outside of Stern sold out in one week.

Alice & Olivia

“The conference will be helpful in bringing in many perspectives [from the industry] and giving students the opportunity to see how these people [progressed] in their careers,” Ms. Brousseau said.

“It’s going to be interesting to see what they think is changing and areas for opportunity, because that can’t always be taught in a classroom,” she said.

Final Take

Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York