Three Days In Chicago

Shopper Insights Panel 2
L to R: Christopher Durham, founder of My Private Brand and the VP of retail brands at Theory House; Liz Berman, Director of Portfolio Strategy, Safeway; Kathryn Henkens, VP Private Brands, Petco and Juan C. De Paoli, SVP Brand Management and Own Brands, Ahold USA

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference in Chicago at the beautiful Navy Pier and share the stage with an amazing faculty of speakers who delivered more than six-dozen insightful presentations. The week began with a fascinating presentation from Paul Roth the President of Retail Sales and Service for AT&T who led the speakers with several overarching themes focused on customer experience and differentiation.

Later that morning I had the privilege of moderating the keynote panel discussion “Private Brands Strategy & the Shopper” which included lively discussion with:

Kathryn Henkens, VP of Private Brands, Petco who gave attendees a peak inside the rapidly evolving Petco Private Brand portfolio.

Juan C. De Paoli, SVP Brand Management and Own Brands, Ahold USA who spoke about the recent redesign and relaunch of Simply Enjoy


Liz Berman, Director of Portfolio Strategy, Safeway Consumer Brands who discussed how the changing consumer has impacted the Safeway Private Brand portfolio.Shopper Insights Panel 1

On Tuesday, the legendary, Sir Terry Leahy, Former CEO, Tesco presented the challenge, “Big Data is not a buzzword or a fad. It’s a movement and a business growth strategy. And it’s not going away.”


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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.