Retail Insider’s Autumn/Winter programme of Zoom Cocktail Hours announced

Back by popular demand, Retail Insider is pleased to announce it is hosting another small, perfectly formed, programme of Zoom Cocktail Hour events with an interesting mix of special guests from very different parts of the retail universe.

Each guest speaker will tell their own interesting story that will undoubtedly throw some fresh insights and perspectives on the broad retail industry. As well as covering the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses they will outline their future plans.

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 own thoughts and experiences and to also take part in the Q&A which is chaired and hosted by Retail Insider editor Glynn Davis.

Retail Insider would very much like to thank novomind for its ongoing partnership of these events.

The programme schedule:

5pm Wed October 7

Mark Fox, CEO of Roadchef

Mark joined Roadchef two years ago as its CEO with a mission to overturn the perception that motorway service stations are a poor quality and expensive proposition. He has a fascinating story to tell about the workings of service stations and how he is bringing in major retail and food brands into the Roadchef business.

Attendees will also hear about Mark’s incredible journey working for some of the leading branded players and how he is using this experience to guide Roadchef into the future and counter the impact of Covid-19. His previous roles include CEO of Bill’s Restaurants, MD of Starbucks UK, and MD of Pizza Hut UK restaurants and delivery.

His insights will be illuminating for both foodservice operators and retailers as they navigate the current challenging times. On top of that you will learn way more than you could imagine about the humble motorway service station and its important role in the UK.

5pm Thurs October 29

Ken Daly, CEO of JML Group

Ken has been at JML group throughout his career and has been instrumental in helping it grow from a tiny business in a London basement to a £100 million turnover operation. He became CEO in 2012 after holding various roles.

It’s a fascinating story of how over the last two decades JML has rather quietly grown into a household name developing in-house an array of diverse products that are available in many of the biggest retailers including Asda, Boots, Wilko and Tesco.

Ken will tell the story of how it has grown into a world leader in its field with its unique products and multi-channel business model. This includes its pioneering retail screen promotions and TV home shopping, and in recent years its focus on online sales which have grown massively as Covid-19 has pushed its Direct-to-Consumer sales through the roof.

This is also a story about international distribution, with Ken providing some insight into how the business has built a presence in over 50 countries worldwide.

5pm Wednesday November 25

Catriona Marshall, owner of Running Bear Sports, and former CEO of Hobbycraft

Catriona reached the top branches of the retail executive tree with her seven years at Pets at Home as trading and marketing director that led onto the CEO role at Hobbycraft before she took the decision to leave and purchased independent retailer Running Bear.

She will tell an interesting story involving comparing and contrasting her time working at very different ends of the retail industry. Having spent the past two years building specialist sports retailer Running Bear from a very modest single-store base and limited online presence Catriona is uniquely placed to detail the challenges of undertaking such a move and how her present situation differs to her previous positions.

She will be able to highlight some of the key lessons she’s learnt over the years in large organisations and how this has been applied to a start-up operation. There will be some interesting insights for attendees involved in all parts of the retail industry and business generally.


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

Zoom Access: email if you are interested in joining any of these 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.