Three new Zoom Cocktail Hours with Retail Insider and leading retail figures announced…

Retail Insider is pleased to announce it is hosting a small, perfectly formed, programme of Zoom Cocktail Hour events with an interesting mix of special guests from within the retail universe.

Each guest speaker will tell their own interesting story and naturally bring things up to date as they consider the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses and the wider retail industry. They will also outline their future plans for their organisations.

Those joining these Cocktail Hours will benefit from the insights of these massively experienced individuals who have played major roles in their business areas.

One of the unique aspects of these Cocktail Hours is their interactive nature and so there will be plenty of time for attendees to contribute their thoughts and to also take part in the Q&A which is chaired and hosted by Retail Insider editor Glynn Davis.

Retail Insider would like to thank novomind for its partnership on these events.

The programme schedule:

5pm Wed June 24

Angus Thirlwell, CEO, Hotel Chocolat,

Angus set up Hotel Chocolat in 2004 and has built it into one of the most successful retailers in the UK. But it is not a traditional retailer simply selling third-party products from physical stores and online. It is instead a vertically integrated operation with a cocoa plantation in St Lucia and in-house production capabilities for its unique product range.

It also has cafes, restaurants, a hotel, a successful tasting club, cook books, and even a range of hot chocolate making devices in the mix. This is all wrapped up in the respected and loved Hotel Chocolat brand.

Angus will run attendees through the various aspects of the business as well as the plans and vision he has put in place for the company. He will also be able to detail how Covid-19 has affected the organisation and how he has reacted to it as well as laying down the foundations for its future operations in a potentially changed environment.

5pm Thurs July 16

Roger Madelin, head of Canada Water development, British Land

Roger joined British Land in 2016 and is currently involved with the development of its 53 acre Canada Water development project in London. Previously he was CEO at Argent with responsibility for the massively successful and ground-breaking 67 acre King’s Cross development. He has also worked on other projects including Green Park and Thames Valley Park in Reading, Brindleyplace in Birmingham, and Piccadilly in Manchester.

Attendees will hear Roger provide some thoughts on how he sees the major Canada Water project taking shape and encompassing a mix of retail, leisure, residential and other uses. As well as his take on how Covid-19 could impact on his long-term plans and those of shopping destinations in general.

He will also give some entertaining insights into how he created a major successful retail and leisure destination at King’s Cross that contributed to setting a new benchmark for travel hubs.

5pm Thurs July 30

Mark Palmer, co-founder of Cawston Press, LA Brewery and chairman of Union Coffee

Mark is massively experienced in the field of marketing with a career working in the world of food and drink for some of the UK’s top brands. He is co-founder of both Cawston Press and LA Brewery Kombucha as well as currently chairing Union Coffee and holding a variety of non-executive positions.

Prior to this he was board advisor and marketing director at Pret A Manger where he helped develop its quirky and honest brand positioning. He was also marketing director at Green & Black’s Chocolate, which was a pioneer in organic confectionery. He has additionally worked in marketing positions at Mondelez and Burger King.

Mark will be able to use his vast experience to give attendees an informed take on the current retail environment – especially from a marketing and branding perspective – taking into account the impact of Covid-19.

He will be able to highlight some of the key lessons he’s learnt over his many years in the industry and his forecasts on where things are heading for retailers and brand owners.


Cocktails or craft beer can be consumed during the Zoom Cocktail Hours but are not obligatory.

Zoom Access: email for the links to the events. Please specify which Cocktail Hour events you would like to join. Links will be sent to attendees around a week in advance of the event.