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Retail Intelligence: 2013 Checkout Conference

January 20, 2013
Written By

The 2013 Checkout Conference, in association with Rabobank, will examine the myriad of paths open to grocery brands as they seek to foster brand loyalty in a complex retail environment. Themed ‘Brands At The Crossroads’, the Conference will examine the role of retailers in the future development of brands; and look at whether the rise of private label is spearheading a new era of innovative thinking from brand owners.

It will look at the concept of ‘value for money’; what it means to the consumer, how it can be achieved without harming a brand’s integrity, and how to play the promotions game effectively.

The one-day event’s timetable is as follows:


9-11am – Morning Session

Maureen Hinton, R&A Director, Verdict Research

Marc Kennis, Associate Director Value Added Processing, Rabobank

Cormac Tobin, Managing Director, Unicare Pharmacy & DocMorris Pharmacy

Colin Gordon, Chief Executive, Glanbia Consumer Foods

11am – Coffee Break, in association with RTÉ Television Sales

11.30-1pm – Daytime Session

Mark Fielding, Chief Executive, Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association

Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight, Nielsen UK

JP Donnelly, Group Chief Executive, Ogilvy Ireland

1pm – Lunch in association with FMI – Field Management Ireland

2.30-4pm – Afternoon Session

Panel Discussion: ‘Private Label 2.0: The Future For Own-Brand’

Fiona Dawson, President, Mars Chocolate UK

Fiona Dawson, president of Mars Chocolate UK has worked for the confectionery giant for over 20 years, joining the Mars graduate scheme straight from Trinity College, Dublin in 1988. She has held numerous roles within the company including General Manager of the Irish business, UK Sales Director, European Marketing Vice President, Managing Director and now President of Mars Chocolate UK. In January, she takes on the role of President of the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), taking over from Charles Wilson of Booker after a two-year spell as Vice-President. Fiona will be presenting on the subject ‘Brands: How To Take The High Road’, in which she will be discussing the need for brands to differentiate from their consumers, but also ensure that they don’t alienate their consumer base.

Colin Gordon, CEO of Glanbia Consumer Foods

Colin Gordon has extensive experience in FMCG having worked in various leading organisations at senior level over 25 years. He founded, and chaired for 5 years, Bord Bia’s Brand Forum; he is a Board member of Bord Bia’s Consumer Foods Board and that of the Marketing Institute of Ireland, and Chair of IBEC’s Food and Drink Industries Ireland (FDII). Colin will be presenting on the subject: ‘Winning Brand Strategies in a Challenged Marketplace’, where he will discuss how brands can best retain ‘front of mind’ status with consumers, and share learnings – good and not so good – on how innovation and investment across the whole brand model has helped shape Glanbia’s Go-To-Market strategy.

Maureen Hinton, R&A Director, Verdict Research

Maureen manages Verdict Research’s team of analysts and is responsible for all Verdict’s publications and knowledge centre content, including its core retail content, as well as its service station and automotive research. Maureen previously worked in Verdict’s consultancy pision on projects for a range of leading retailers, financial institutions and suppliers. She has a BA in Fashion & Textiles and an MBA. Maureen’s presentation will be entitled: ‘How Ireland Shops: The Grocery Retail Perspective’, which coincides with the launch of a comprehensive assessment of the Irish shopper and retail spending by Verdict Research. It provides an overview of shopper and retail trends for 2013.

Marc Kennis, Associate Director Value Added Processing at Rabobank International Food & Agri Research and Advisory (FAR)

As senior analyst, Marc covers the bakery and confectionery sectors from both the food processor’s and retailer’s perspective. In recent research Marc has analysed hybrid consumer behaviour, i.e. consumers trading down where basic groceries are concerned and trading up in product categories that matter to them most. Marc’s presentation will be entitled ‘The Rise Of The Hybrid Consumer’, which will examine what categories in particular are most prone to changing consumer buying patterns, and how to successfully deliver strategies to ‘lift’ said categories.

Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight, Nielsen UK

Mike Watkins was appointed Manager of Trade Relations with responsibility for the Nielsen commercial relationship with all retailers in the UK in 1995. For eight years he was Manager of the UK Retailer Services team. In 2005 he took on the role of Senior Manager, Retailer Services where he led a number of retail projects for Nielsen including retail and consumer research, price research and strategic planning, both within the UK and for Europe. Today he heads up the Retailer and Business Development and Insight team for Nielsen and is responsible for all business and commercial development with food, non food and e commerce retailers in the UK. Mike will be presenting on the subject: ‘Recovery or Recession in Western Europe – the changing role of Private Label’, where he will examine private label trends from a pan-European perspective, and examine what retailers (and brand owners) can learn from own-brand development in other countries.

Mark Fielding, Chief Executive, ISME

Mark Fielding has been chief executive officer of business lobby group the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) since 2001, and has a longstanding relationship with the SME sector, having worked at an accountancy and management consultancy firm specialising in SMEs, and assisted in the starting up of more than 300 companies. Fielding, on behalf of ISME, has been one of the most vociferous defenders of small business in Ireland, and a vocal critic of wasteful government policy and underperformance in the public sector. Mark’s presentation will be entitled ‘The Bishop & ‘The Pill’, looking at the importance of innovation and storytelling in SME branding, with particular focus on small and medium-sized Irish brands that have achieved a clear point of difference in the market.

JP Donnelly, Group Chief Executive, Ogilvy Ireland

JP Donnelly began his career at Peter Owens Advertising & Marketing in 1985 before moving to work for Edelman Public Relations and Y&R in the United States. After returning to Ireland to work for McConnells Advertising he completed an MBA at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business in 1993, before joining Dimension where he rose to become Managing Director. JP was appointed Managing Director of Ogilvy & Mather in 1998 and has been responsible for the merger of Wilson Hartnell and Bell Advertising under the Ogilvy banner. In 2002 he was appointed Chief Executive of the Ogilvy Ireland Group.

Cormac Tobin, Managing Director, Unicare Pharmacy & DocMorris Pharmacy

Well-known from his time as one of Feargal Quinn’s key ‘right hand men’ at Superquinn, Cormac Tobin was appointed Managing Director of Unicare Pharmacy in 2006, with core responsibility for the strategic development and growth of the business. During his time as MD, he has overseen the introduction of the first Irish pharmacy loyalty programme, a comprehensive online social media strategy, as well as the major decision to rebrand all existing Unicare pharmacies and all new openings under the ‘DocMorris’ banner. Cormac began his career with Superquinn at the age of 12, as a bag packer, rising through the retailer’s ranks to become Retail Director. Cormac will be presenting on the subject ‘Don’t Be A Legendary Brand’, which will highlight the key learnings that emerged from the DocMorris rebrand, and how retailers, just as with FMCG brand owners, need to examine just what it is about their brand that offers a unique selling point.

Panel Discussion: ‘Private Label 2.0: The Future For Own-Brand’

If the exponential growth of private label over the past few years can be linked to the wider economic situation, what do the next few years have in store? More investment than ever (both from an NPD and marketing point of view) has been put into own-brand development, by all of Ireland’s key retailers, as private label penetration has extended into every grocery category. But can this growth last? In this discussion panel, Checkout examines where private label development can go next, with a major retailer, multinational supplier (of both branded and PL goods) and one of the UK’s leading design consultants offering their expert opinion.

Panel members:

Evelyn Moynihan, Head Of Own Brand, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland

Richard Williams, Chairman, Williams Murray Hamm

Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight, Nielsen UK

About the Checkout Conference:

The Checkout Conference is the longest-running dedicated conference for the grocery retail and FMCG industries in Ireland, and is considered a ‘must-attend’ event for those in the trade, both due to the high calibre of speakers and its status as a premium networking opportunity. Prominent speakers that have addressed the Checkout Conference in years past include Dalton Philips, chief executive, Morrisons (formerly of Brown Thomas); Dieter Brandes, former MD, Aldi Nord; Jim McCarthy, chief executive, Poundland; Chris Martin, CEO, Musgrave Group; Gordon Campbell, Managing Director, Spar International; Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD and many other leading representatives from retail and FMCG.

You can download a brochure for the event here.


© 2013 Profitero

About Profitero

Pricing intelligence company Profitero provides retailers with actionable price intelligence data, monitoring over 50 million products across 4,000 eCommerce retailers every day, observing pricing, promotions and stock availability. We work with the world’s leading retailers, enabling them to acquire new customers and grow profit margins by monitoring and responding to changes in competitor pricing and promotional activity as they happen. For more information on Profitero price intelligence and competitor monitoring, visit or email

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