What are the emerging business models in retailing? What’s new in how retailers approach promotions? What’s the next big idea in store assortment?

These will be among the questions discussed at the second annual Thought Leadership Conference, hosted by the Center for Retailing Studies, the Department of Marketing, and Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

This exclusive, invitation-only event will welcome 31 academic experts and senior retailing executives from the U.S. and other countries, January 27-29. Attendees will work in teams to explore a variety of topics in retailing and marketing strategy, then will present their ideas and recommendations at the conclusion of the conference.

To maximize the conference’s impact, papers and findings based on the conference deliberations will be disseminated in a variety of formats, including a special issue of the Journal of Retailing.

Building on the theme “Innovations in Retail: Emerging Issues and Future Outlook,” topics to be covered include innovation in the following areas: retail business models, retail channels and supply chain management, retail assortment and store brands, retail shopper marketing, retail price promotions, and global retailing.

Gary Kusin, former president and CEO of Kinkos/FedEx, will present a keynote address to kick off the conference.

The first Thought Leadership Conference on the theme “Marketing in a Multichannel, Multimedia Retailing Environment,” held last year, was a huge success, says Venky Shankar, professor of marketing at Mays, as it attracted top minds in retail and resulted in a special issue of the Journal of Interactive Marketing. Cheryl Bridges, director of the Center for Retailing Studies, echoed that sentiment saying, “This conference uniquely brings together industry and university experts, positioning the center and Mays as leading contributors in retailing research.”

The 2010 event is also sponsored in part by the Center for International Business Studies at Mays, the Marketing Science Institute, and the American Marketing Association. Shankar and fellow Mays Professor of Marketing Manjit Yadav will serve as conference co-chairs.

For more information, contact the Center for Retailing Studies at (979) 845-0325, or visit http://www.crstamu.org/conference.php.