Combining academic research with corporate challenges, the Center for Retailing Studies and Mays Business School at Texas A&M University will host its first Thought Leadership Conference, January 29-30, 2009. The event, held on the A&M campus, will bring together the leading minds in retail to discuss real-world problems facing the industry.

Manjit Yadav, research director for the center and associate professor of marketing at Mays, says that 45 scholars and executives are expected to attend the invitation-only conference. The event will focus on the theme “Emerging Perspectives on Marketing in a Multichannel and Multimedia Retailing Environment.”

Keynote speakers will include John Deighton, professor of marketing at Harvard University and editor of the Journal of Consumer Research; and John Irvin, former head of JCPenney Direct. Representatives from companies including HEB, Maritz Research, and the Zale Corporation will be in attendance.

“This conference takes the center to a new level of excellence with increased emphasis on retailing research,” says Cheryl Bridges, director of the Center for Retailing Studies and executive professor of marketing at Mays. “The forum for collaboration of noted scholars and industry executives establishes a unique opportunity for creation of new knowledge.”

A unique feature of this conference is that it will be structured as a series of workshop sessions rather than only lectures. Mixed teams of academics and executives will work on an assigned topic related to the theme of the conference, such as online and offline retail pricing, and consumer behavior in a multichannel/multimedia retailing environment. The results of the teams’ efforts will be presented at the conclusion of the conference.

After receiving feedback, each team will submit a manuscript based on their findings, which will be reviewed and potentially published in a special issue of the Journal of Interactive Marketing that Yadav and fellow professor of marketing Venkatesh Shankar will co-edit. Shankar is also the co-chair of the conference.

Yadav says that he hopes the conference will enhance the center’s national reputation in the area of research. The Mays marketing department and Center for Retailing Studies, Mays Business School, and the Marketing Science Institute are joint sponsors of the conference.

About the Center for Retailing Studies

The Center for Retailing Studies promotes and supports retailing through student and executive education programs, research and service. In 2008, it celebrated its 25th anniversary as an educational unit within Mays Business School.