John Lewis Head of Cook & Dine Anna Berry enthrals BHETA audience

Anna Berry, Head of Cook & Dine for John Lewis, captivated an audience of BHETA members earlier this month with insights into the department store group’s development plans and her own vision for Cook & Dine.

She was the keynote speaker at the latest networking forum organised by BHETA (British Home Enhancement Trade Association), held on November 15 at the body’s headquarters in Birmingham.

Anna’s background at John Lewis is Health and Beauty and her view on the strategic direction of Cook & Dine takes learnings from her previous category.

Her vision covers both product innovation and marketing initiatives, including greater emphasis on rewarding customers within the John Lewis database, and increased focus on product demonstration in co-operation with Waitrose. Anna also outlined opportunities for suppliers, again incorporating synergies with Waitrose supply.

The sell-out event included a line-up of other speakers specifically chosen to highlight current trading opportunities and to stimulate debate on topical issues such as Brexit and the recent devaluation of sterling.

Richard Butler, regional director of CBI (Confederation of British Industry), explored the market in post-Brexit Britain, in a presentation which covered the CBI’s perspective on the issues that face UK PLC.

He outlined the business organisation’s evolving relationship with the government in shaping its approach to the challenges of the future.

Richard’s views were complemented by those of Glynn Jones from the Bank of England agency for the West Midlands and Oxfordshire. He updated BHETA members on the Bank’s view of the UK economy following the vote to leave the EU, and its forecast of the economic impact going forward.

Another highlight was trend analyst Phil Pond of trend forecasting company Scarlet Opus, who discussed how the design, colour, material and textural trends which will influence consumer tastes and purchasing going forward are determined.

The Forum also heard from Caroline Rowell, director of Invicta Retail Consultancy, who has spent over 20 years in the homewares industry working in various buying roles at retailers including House of Fraser, BHS, Allders, Woolworths, Heal’s and most recently as Head of Home with Fenwick in Canterbury.

She presented her view of the evolution of an innovative product concept through physical presentation, the communication of its benefits to the consumer, packaging style and product pricing.

BHETA housewares sector director Will Jones commented: “On every level, this Networking Forum was a fascinating insight into the opportunities and challenges of the day. The event was over-subscribed and it was great to see so many members enjoying such precious and exclusive insights.”

More information on future BHETA forums and Meet The Buyer events can be obtained by contacting BHETA Member Services on 0121 237 1130.

A full report on this Networking Forum will appear in a forthcoming issue of Housewares Magazine.


L-r: BHETA president Roger Morgan Grenville, Caroline Rowell, Anna Berry, Phil Pond and BHETA housewares sector director Will Jones


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