Retail Forum - Talking Shop

(6.30pm 6 August 2012, Lower Town Hall)

Hello, everyone, welcome to our forum. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nationalities who live in our City.

It's good to see you all here this evening. I want to stress that in these tough times for retail, the City is very committed to helping all our retailers, and we've asked retail expert Jon Bird to share with us all some of his insights and ideas on how to adapt to the changing retail landscape. Our other focus tonight is on our fashion retailers who bring so much glamour and pizzazz to our city.

We have committed to a three-year sponsorship both of Vogue Fashion Night Out and the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival and you'll hear more about those events tonight.

In fact we were so excited by those events, and by History Week's own celebration of the history of the rag trade that our marketing team have been busy working on an umbrella campaign, Sydney is Fashion, with the aim of promoting Sydney as a fabulous fashion-shopping destination.

As we promised last year, we're also putting major effort into promoting Christmas in the City. We're in the process of appointing a creative consultant to help put Christmas shopping in the City on everyone's agenda. And tonight you'll hear about some of the ways in which you can get involved and lift the Christmas in the City profile.

There are other ways in which individual businesses can help raise their own profiles as well and tonight's keynote speaker is a wonderful role model for those with an entrepreneurial bent.

Rebekah Campbell is using the web world to promote the real world, harnessing the power of the internet to benefit bricks-and-mortar shops. She understands the power of trusted recommendations to boost your business, building reliable networks that people can use with confidence.

Those concepts of trust and networks are the future building blocks of a strong retail community, so I hope that you will all be able to stay for a drink and a chance to network at the end of the evening.

But now, thank you all once again for your interest, and I hope you'll find it a productive and rewarding evening.