Fresh ideas in retail will be at the heart of the ACS Summit 07 in Birmingham next month

Innovation is something every business talks about, but achieving it is a different matter.
'Convenience innovation' is the theme of the Association of Convenience Stores' (ACS) Summit 07, which takes place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on Tuesday, May 1. The Association is so confident that the line-up of speakers will offer valuable advice to independent retailers that it will return the attendance fee to any retailer who feels he hasn't got value from the day.
ACS chief executive James Lowman says: "The line-up for Summit 07 is our best ever and I'm delighted to be able to announce key speakers who will give retailers an insight into how change and innovation will drive future success.
"I'm so confident about this year's Summit that any independent retailer who attends the event and feels they haven't received full value from the day can receive their money back."
The conference will be chaired by the BBC's John Humphrys and speakers include Sir Digby Jones, former head of the CBI, former athlete Kriss Akabusi and a host of speakers from inside the industry to inspire and motivate the audience to change and develop their businesses, whether it be from the increasing popularity of Fairtrade products, developing a workable fresh food offer, or taking on the multiples and winning.
For example, Nigel Mills of the Mills Group will outline how his company has successfully introduced fresh and chilled products into different-sized stores, from CTNs to large convenience outlets, covering training staff and managing waste.
The conference also features networking opportunities in the form of a relaxed breakout area and a gala dinner in the evening.
Lowman adds: "I'm very excited about Summit 07, and we've secured top speakers from the convenience industry and business world. The speakers will present on the challenges and difficulties they have faced in business and how they overcame these, and I'm sure this insight will resonate with c-store retailers who are trading in ever tougher conditions. Summit 07 is for every convenience retailer who wants to build a successful business, and with our money-back guarantee, retailers have nothing to lose and all to gain."
l The full conference package including dinner and accommodation is £399 + VAT for independent retailers, with a day rate for the conference only of £99. For more details, call ACS on 01252 515001. Remember, the Association has pledged to return your money if you feel you haven't received good value from the event.

Speaker line-up

Kriss Akabusi, Olympic athlete
Francis Ball, FWD
Digby Jones, former CBI chief
Mike Lassek, Pepsico UK
Jerry Marwood, Spar UK
Nigel Mills, Mills Group
Debbie Robinson, Co-op Group
Ellis Watson, Menzies Distribution

Independent stars

Three independent retailers will take centre stage at the Summit by featuring in video case studies of their stores.
Kate Davies of Hodnet Stores in Shropshire, Peter Bellini of Bellini's in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, and Andrew Loftus of Weetons in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, will appear in the videos showing how they have grown their businesses by using locally sourced produce and creating retail theatre in store.
The retailers will then join a live discussion chaired by John Humphrys, including questions from the audience.