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LS&Co. Leader Sees An Emerging ‘Retail Renaissance’

Every year, more than 30,000 retail leaders from around the world gather at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show, an annual conference where colleagues can share insights and innovations that are driving the industry.

This year’s trade show was perhaps most remarkable for what was missing: much of the doom and gloom of previous years. Carrie Ask, executive vice president and president of global retail at Levi Strauss & Co., attended the three-day event and shared some key takeaways:

What is the most interesting emerging trend you found at NRF?

One of the biggest insights from the show is the amount of confidence that is evident in the industry right now. I feel like we’re really shifting now from retail disruption, when everyone was back on their heels and trying to figure out how to respond, to a retail renaissance. Most companies, most vendors, most tech partners were very clear about their consumer journeys this year, and they are building new capabilities to harness this new digital-physical connected environment.

What does the future hold for the consumer experience?

We’re inclined sometimes to talk about the “store of the future” – but, really, we need to be talking about the “store of the now.” Today, our consumers are on their phones and they’re interacting with both our digital and brick-and-mortar presence. Retailers are quickly responding to the evolution of the interconnected retail ecosystem and will be prioritizing the new capabilities they need to confidently engage with the consumer in a digitally connected world.

How will LS&Co. continue to innovate the retail experience for our consumer?

We are excited about what the future holds for the Levi’s® consumer. We’re focusing on what we know is important to them – authentic self-expression – and marrying that with the strength of the Levi’s® brand and brand attributes that Levi’s® can authentically own – fit & style, customization & personalization, and a seamless experience.  By reimagining and recrafting the in-store experience, we’re finding better ways to engage with our consumers and provide them with tailored solutions that only Levi’s® can deliver. The most recent embodiment of this is our newly remodeled store in the SoHo neighborhood of New York. This store features a beautiful Tailor Shop where fans can customize and personalize their Levi’s®, as well as ‘behind the scenes’ technology that will help make the in-store shopping experience seamless. SoHo is just the beginning of the future of retail for Levi’s® –  we’re just getting started.

To hear more from Carrie Ask, check out the latest issue of Total Retail, where she was featured as one of the top women in retail.