Trend hawks bring global predictions to SA retail congress

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Two international trend hawks fly into Cape Town next week, bringing inspiration and insight for the annual gathering of SA’s retail heavyweights.

Trend-spotters London-based Lady Kinvara Balfour and Zurich-based Magnus Lindkvist are both scheduled to speak at the 18th Annual Congress of the SA Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC).

The conference theme this year, appropriately, is “Inspire”. Nedbank Corporate Property Finance is the main sponsor of this high-profile congress which is set to attract more than 1500 delegates and industry professionals.

“In our capacity as sponsor to the SACSC Congress, we are pleased with the addition of these forward-thinking speakers in the congress line-up, who will highlight the need for innovation in the retail sector to stay abreast of trends and understand the mind of the consumer,” says Frank Berkeley, Managing executive: Nedbank Corporate Property Finance.

“A trend-spotter is someone who relentlessly gathers ideas about where we are currently, and where we seem to be headed,” says Zurich-based trend-spotter and futurologist, Magnus Lindkvist. “It’s what Body Shop founder Anita Roddick called an ‘opportunistic collector’.”

His keynote address will start with the idea of creating the future and not simply competing for it. “For retailers, I see myself as a lens that is constantly fine-tuning reality and helping them move forward,” he adds.

A post-recession global ‘cash bubble’; a surprising slow-down in innovation world-wide; and the emergence of entrepreneurship are key trends he’ll touch on at the Congress. Lindkvist also plans to speak about Africa as the so-called “next Asia”, both in terms of its opportunities and challenges.

International trend hawk Lady Kinvara Balfour will be delivering a keynote address at the SACSC Congress, highlighting global trends that SA’s retail sector should know about.

“The role of a trend hawk is to give retailers an upper hand and help them bring products to market on trend and on time,” she explains. “That’s key in a world that moves so fast!”

Just some of the sectors she monitors are culture, beauty and technology. In SA, she says, fashion trends are something she’s already watching closely. Balfour will be speaking about how best to cultivate not only brand consistency, but also customer loyalty – topics that are close to retailers’ hearts.

“I’ll also be sharing some of the ‘secret sources’ I use to spot hot new trends,” she adds. “After all, the trend-sharing is almost as much fun as the trend-spotting!”