Stuart O'Brien, Author at The Retail & Hospitality Design Forum - Page 2 of 44
  • Covid-19 – click here for the latest updates from Forum Events & Media Group Ltd

Posts By :

Stuart O'Brien


HMY is the international leader in 360º global services and innovation for the retail sector. The group has a 60-year history of offering integral solutions for the engineering, manufacturing and assembly of furniture for retail, as well as consultancy, design and architecture services, site and project management and divisions specialising in new technologies and lighting.

The HMY Group creates efficient and attractive sales spaces, offering innovative products, services and solutions to create a unique shopping experience. As a retail fit-out expert, HMY’s goal is to help its clients increase their sales by offering their consumers the best shopping experience. Utilising various manufacturing capabilities, it delivers innovative solutions to retailer’s worldwide, transforming retail spaces to create an unparalleled shopping experience for consumers.

The business is a result of a merging process completed by a group of companies, determined to create a highly professional operator in the field of retail services. Its full range of services from creation of initial concepts to manufacturing and installation are adapted to the needs of clients. HMY creative solutions are specifically developed across all retail sectors’, ensuring the space is fully optimised to create the desired aesthetics and optimum retail sales potential.

What differentiates HMY is its experience and analysis of the retail environment, industry trends and consumer behaviour. This approach allows the business to generate solutions that increase traffic and sales, bring about profitability and a rapid return on investment, heighten satisfaction with the purchasing process and build loyalty with the consumer.

Thanks to its extensive experience in the various retail sectors (food, DIY, health & beauty, fashion, automobiles, telecommunications), HMY has a thorough knowledge of the consumer. This allows it to accompany its clients in their strategic decisions and to offer them an expert analysis of changes in trends and consumer habits that will also help them to improve their results.

Today, the company covers more than 194 countries across 90 separate offices and employs over 4,500 staff worldwide. Over six decades, HMY has completed over 38,000 projects spanning across more than 3,400 clients around the globe.

Retail shopfitting: 2020 buying trends revealed

Retail Design Services, Display Props & Materials and Digital Signage top the list of solutions the UK’s shopfitting procurement professionals are sourcing in 2020.

The findings have been revealed in the lead up to the Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit, which takes place on March 9th & 10th 2020 at the Radisson Blu, London Stansted.

Delegates registering to attend the event have been asked which areas they needed to invest in during 2020 and beyond.

A significant 61% are looking to invest in Retail Design Services, with 52% sourcing Display Props & Materials.

Just behind were Digital Signage (50%), Interactive Displays (46%) andComplete Shopfit solutions (44%).

% of delegates at the Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit sourcing certain products & solutions (Top 10):

Retail Design 60.9%
Display Props & Materials 52.2%
Digital Signage 50.0%
Interactive Displays 45.7%
Complete Shopfit 43.5%
POS 43.5%
Shop Equipment 43.5%
Graphics 41.3%
Shop Fronts/Entrances 41.3%
Lighting 39.1%

To find out more about the Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit, visit

SAVE THE DATE: Smarter Payments Summit 2020

There’s a complimentary guest pass reserved for you to attend the Smarter Payments Summit – will you be there?

8 September – Hilton London Canary Wharf

This unique event is entirely FREE for you to attend – simply reserve your place here for the opportunity to:-

• Source new innovative and budget-saving suppliers
• Learn from inspirational seminar sessions hosted by industry thought-leaders
• Network with like-minded events professionals who share your challenges
• Enjoy complimentary lunch and refreshments

RSVP now to avoid disappointment!

Where will you be in 4 weeks? Limited complimentary guest passes available

The Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit is less than 4 weeks away! And we have just a handful of complimentary guest passes left for senior shopfitting and VM professionals like you.

9 & 10 March – Radisson Blu, London Stansted

We’d love for you to join us, so please allow us to add you to our guest list by registering today.

As our guest you will:

• Source new innovative and budget-saving suppliers
• Attend inspirational seminar sessions from industry thought-leaders
• Network with like-minded peers
• Complimentary overnight accommodation, plus all meals and refreshments
• Join us at our networking dinner

RSVP now and join us for a two-day spotlight on shopfitting and Visual Merchandising.

Customer experience must be driven at board level, say retailers

Customer experience is largely perceived as a strategic issue and one that should be driven at board level.

That’s according to research conducted by Gobeyond Partners, which surveyed over 450 managers and above across retail and wholesale, financial services and banking, private healthcare, and insurance, finding that 86% of UK businesses are currently measuring customer experience and that 81% of respondents believe customer experience to be a strategic issue which requires more senior level accountability.

It says the results highlight a clear need for senior executives to be knowledgeable about customer experience, and importantly, measure it across the entire customer journey. The results revealed that 36% of organisations surveyed only measure customer experience at specific touchpoints, and not across the entire customer journey, whilst 12% of UK businesses are still not measuring customer experience at all.

Rather it was those companies who do indeed measure customer experience across the entire customer journey (50%) who were found to be 1.4 times more likely to report revenue increases over the last 12 months, than those that don’t.

Other key findings  include:

  • Of those who agreed customer experience should be driven at board level, only 37% strongly agreed that their company utilises customer feedback to improve service design and delivery;
  • 86% of retail respondents agreed that customer experience should be driven at board level and was the most likely industry to see customer experience as a strategic issue. This was followed closely by 85% of insurance respondents, 77% in banking, 72% in private healthcare and 85% insurance;
  • 12% of UK businesses are not measuring customer experience at all;
  • 11% of businesses said they had no senior manager with accountability for customer experience

Mark Palmer, CEO of Gobeyond Partners, said: “We were pleased to see that our recent survey findings validate the work we have been doing with our clients; namely that customer experience is a human issue which should be addressed strategically and prioritised by the board.

“We regularly recommend looking at the end-to-end customer journey through a more human lens. Our findings clearly highlight that introducing the human touch – at all levels of the journey – can radically transform the way you deliver service. For organisations to win in the race for customer loyalty and stronger profitability, they will need to successfully marry great technology and innovation with a major focus on what this means for customers and employees in the transformation journey. Taking this ‘human lens’ will differentiate the quality of solutions offered, drive greater efficiency in getting there and will better engage their people on the change journey.”

Energy Management Summit: All your power needs in one place

On October 5th & 6th 2020 you’ll have the chance to meet with the best suppliers in the sector, all in one place, at the Energy Management Summit.

This is a bespoke and highly-targeted event created specifically for senior energy management professionals.

It is entirely FREE for you to attend. Simply register your place here for the opportunity to meet with:-

  • EBM Papst
  • Energy & Technical Services
  • Nicotra Gebhardt
  • Kinect Energy
  • Onsite Energy

…and many more.

When: October 5th & 6th 2020

Where: Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted

Format: Corporate ‘speed-dating’. As our VIP guest, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of pre-arranged, 1-2-1 meetings with suppliers relevant to your requirements. A series of seminars will also be hosted throughout day, and you can network with professionals who share your challenges.

Overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our gala dinner with entertainment, are included with your free ticket.

Who Attends: Senior energy management professionals.

Would you like to join them? Register your free place here.

Are you an industry supplier? To secure your place at the Energy Management Summit, contact Lia Rose on 01992 374 077 /

Time’s running out to meet Co-Op, L’Oreal, Superdrug, Topshop & more

Don’t miss the chance to meet 1-2-1 with senior professionals from Co-Op, L’Oreal, Superdrug, Topshop & more next month.

We are gathering together senior shopfitting and VM professionals for the Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit, taking place on March 9th & 10th at the Radisson Blu, London Stansted.

These senior professionals are attending the Summit to source new solutions and want to meet with companies like these:

Costcutter Supermarket Group
Dixons Carphone
Hotel Chocolat
Howdens Joinery
Huda Beauty
Hush Homeware
KTM Online T/A Fonehouse
Liz Earle
L’Oreal UK
Lotus Cars
Michael Kors
Merlin Entertainments
New Era Cap Co
Oak Furniture Land
Office Shoes
Jon Richard
RAF Museum Enterprises
Quiz Clothing
Regatta Great Outdoors
Saturday Co
Save the Children
The Body Shop
The Range
Topps Tiles
Vivienne Westwood
Walls Ice Cream
W H Smiths

Would you like to meet them? Find out more by clicking here!

Half of business leaders ‘fear they will be left behind in 2020’

It seems British business leaders do not believe their companies are fully up to speed with developing technologies – with only around half (53%) saying they are fully utilising their technology advantage to win business, run efficient systems and attract the best talent.

With businesses concerned about how Brexit could have an impact on data protection, changing regulation and supply chain disruption, ThoughtWorks asked a nationally representative sample of 1,026 business owners how fully they used technology to achieve growth and competitive advantage. The findings suggested that many businesses were increasingly concerned that they were falling behind in terms of technological development.

Tech agility linked to post-Brexit growth outlook

For the 47% of businesses that admitted their use of technology was not that sophisticated, 41% said they were trying to improve their business’s technological capabilities but were still in some way behind the competition. Furthermore, 6% of respondents said that their lack of technological development was holding their business back from growing.

Significantly, the level of tech agility of UK businesses correlated directly with how they thought Brexit would impact their business in 2020. Those agile, tech-driven businesses were far more likely to see Brexit as an opportunity to grow – 47% predicting growth opportunities to move into new markets and 19% believing they would be able to grow market share in existing markets. In contrast, those businesses that said their tech maturity was holding them back were far more likely to say Brexit would force them to put growth plans on hold (16%) or to downsize – and to pull out of some key markets (10%). The research suggests Brexit could be a catalyst that widens the tech gap in Britain, between those agile enterprises that will grow in 2020 and those struggling with technology that will fall further behind.

12-month business outlook following Brexit – by state of business tech agility

Fully use tech advantage Tech capabilities hold us back
There will be growth opportunities to move into new markets 47% 13%
There will be growth opportunities in existing markets 19% 11%
Little change – we’ll stick to our plans, we won’t be affected by Brexit 19% 42%
Little change – putting growth plans on hold until the dust settles 7% 16%
There will be downsizing – we are preparing for a loss of business 6% 8%
There will be downsizing – we will pull out of some key markets 1% 10%

Bleak mid-Winter ahead for retail

With the demise of Mothercare, and Marks & Spencer reporting a fresh slump in clothing sales[2], ThoughtWorks’ research shows retail emerging as the sector where fewest business leaders believe they are fully using technology to win business, run efficient systems and attract the best people (35%). Linking tech agility to Brexit outlook again, retail was also the sector where most business leaders said that, in the 12-months following Brexit, they were preparing to downsize and for the prospect of losing business.

Percentage of businesses that said they are fully using their technology advantage by sector

Media & Tech 77%
Financial Services 59%
Health 54%
Manufacturing 47%
Construction 43%
Education 40%
Retail 35%

 While it is perhaps unsurprising that businesses in the media and tech sector were the most likely to say they fully utilised their technological advantage, even here more than a fifth (23%) of businesses admitted that they were behind the leaders in their market and could take steps to improve their agility.

Tech on the Tyne

The ThoughtWorks study also explored business opinion across the UK’s major cities. Whilst London and the South East have traditionally dominated the regions for tech investment – with London companies securing $4.8bn (£3.8bn) in 2018[3] – the new research shows that Newcastle is the city where the highest proportion of business leaders say their business makes full use of their technology assets in terms of winning business, improving systems and attracting the best people (77%). Indeed, London only just beats Birmingham into second place (66% Vs. 65%).

Tech gap in Scotland

While most cities in England and Wales (apart from Liverpool) saw at least half their businesses taking full advantage of their technology assets, businesses north of the border seemed to be lagging behind. Only 47% of businesses in Glasgow – and 42% in Edinburgh – said they were fully utilising their technology advantage. Whilst political considerations around Brexit have been a cause of acute concern in Scotland, the new research suggests tech agility is also playing a big role in shaping business outlook for the period after Brexit – with businesses in Glasgow and Edinburgh least likely of the 11 cities surveyed to predict opportunities to grow into new markets in 2020 (Glasgow 18%, Edinburgh 17%).

Percentage of businesses taking full advantage of their technology and percentage predicting growth opportunities in new markets for 2020 – by city

City % Fully using their technology advantage % Predicting growth opportunities in new markets during 2020
Newcastle 77% 34%
London 66% 40%
Birmingham 65% 40%
Manchester 59% 35%
Nottingham 59% 41%
Cardiff 58% 40%
Bristol 56% 36%
Leeds 51% 26%
Glasgow 47% 18%
Edinburgh 42% 17%
Liverpool 37% 30%

Luke Vinogradov, Digital Transformation Principal, ThoughtWorks, said: Surrounded by change and uncertainty, organisations are realising they may not be taking full advantage of technology. Some have yet to start, others have focussed narrowly on digital customer experience, because it’s very visible and actually it’s a great first step. However, modern digital businesses already at the top of their game know that the kind of capabilities that have driven their success don’t stop there.

Across the organisation, making tech work for you means making choices. New ways of working can align your whole business around customer value; data can help you to build engagement and advantage; platform thinking and a test-and-learn approach will maximise the impact of your investments; and a delivery mindset will help you cut through the complexity and get things done. All of these digital capabilities can help you keep up – the right balance will ensure you get ahead.

As a trusted partner for many leading organisations on their digital transformation journey, ThoughtWorks can help you make the right choices, not only addressing today’s challenges but giving you the capabilities you need for a confident future.”

Do you provide Digital Signage for retail? We want to hear from you!

Each month on Retail Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on different parts of the retail market – in February we’ll be focussing on Digital Signage solutions.

It’s all part of our new ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help retail buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Digital Signage solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Courtney Saggers on

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:

Feb – Digital Signage
Mar – Display Props & Materials
Apr – Graphics
May – Interactive Displays
June – Lighting
July – Marketing
Aug – POS
Sept – Retail Design
Oct – Shop Equipment
Nov – Window Displays
Dec – Shop Fronts/Entrances

For more information on any of the above, contact Courtney Saggers on

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Sign making from Signwaves

With over 30 years’ experience in sign making, Signwaves are proud to manufacture and print thoroughly researched, designed and tested sign and display products for blue-chip brands and retailers, agencies and trade resellers.

We operate from a three acre factory, office and warehouse site in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, supported by a joint venture manufacturing facility in Dongguan, China and are proud to supply customers both in the UK and internationally.

With the environment and recyclability a hot topic and on everyone’s minds, Signwaves are committed to protecting our environment and offering customers sustainable, eco-friendly signage. By 31st March 2020, Signwaves are devoted to achieving ISO14001 accreditation, focusing on implementing environmental systems within the business to achieve this.

Signwaves Ecoflex sign is the UK’s current biggest selling pavement sign and is completely recyclable at end of life.  It comprises an aluminium display panel and a recycled plastic base, a patented fastener anchors the components together for the working life of the sign. At the end of life, the display panel can be separated from the base in a matter of seconds allowing the aluminium to be reclaimed. The plastic base material is also 100% reusable towards future mouldings.

Some 4,200 tonnes of recycled PVC have since been used across our products – that’s the weight equivalent of 550 African elephants! So a significant amount of material is being diverted away from a land-fill destination by Signwaves clever, eco-based design.

Alongside committing to reducing electricity consumption at Signwaves, Solar panels have recently been installed on the factory and office building as well as the warehouse building, ensuring energy is obtained from renewable sources where possible.

Paper consumption is also being reduced through staff awareness and the introduction of paperless operations where suitable as Signwaves aim to increase the volume of waste we recycle and reduce the volume of our waste going to landfill.