The Center for Retailing Studies in Mays Business School at Texas A&M University will host its annual Retailing Summit in Dallas, Texas, October 7-8. Early bird registration for this event is going on now through July 15 and offers a $50 savings.

The event will be held at the Westin Galleria Hotel and is expected to draw retailing executives from across the nation. Presenters will touch on pertinent topics including sales techniques, youth marketing, understanding the changed luxury customer, and effective merchandising and branding. The theme for the event is “The Evolving Customer: emerging issues and future outlooks.”

Summit speakers include top-level executives such as Ken Hicks, chairman and CEO of Foot Locker, Inc.; Larry Magee, chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC; Garrett Boone, chairman emeritus of The Container Store; Sona Chawla, executive vice president of e-commerce at Walgreens; Tony Rogers, senior vice president of brand marketing at Walmart and more. (Click here for a full list of presenters.)

Hicks’ keynote presentation, “Creating Power Merchandising,” will focus on how to identify, develop, and present big merchandise ideas to maximize sales and expand the customer reach. (See more about this presenter below.)

“The Retailing Summit offers executives from all retailing sectors the chance to discover best practices from an impressive line-up of industry speakers. Innovative ideas, applicable for small businesses to the world’s largest big box retailers, are featured,” said Cheryl Holland Bridges, director of the center. “Attendees enjoy the direct interaction with top level executives and the learning environment that we, an academic host, uniquely provide.”

Last year was the first time that the event was held at the Westin Galleria. Attendees responded enthusiastically to this change in venue, due to its anchor in a retail mall and many opportunities for dining and shopping. The summit returns there this year.

Sponsor partners for the 2010 Retailing Summit include BDO Seidman LLP, SAP, and the Center for Retailing Studies. Proceeds from the event fund scholarships and programs for students pursuing retailing studies at A&M.

Register today at In addition to the early bird savings, discounts are available for groups, sponsor companies, and former students of A&M.

About the Center for Retailing Studies

Founded in 1983, the Center for Retailing Studies bridges the academic and business communities by educating the next generation of retail leadership, and serving the industry through research and executive education.

About Ken C. Hicks

Ken C. Hicks has had a long career in retail, leading many well-known brands in a variety of capacities. He has served as president and CEO of Foot Locker, Inc. since August 2009 and became chairman of the board a few months later in January 2010. Prior to joining Foot Locker, Inc., he served as president and chief merchandising officer of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. and was a member of its board of directors. From 2002 to 2005 he was president and COO of Penney’s stores and merchandise operations.

Before joining JCPenney, Hicks was president of Payless ShoeSource from 1999 to 2002, where he had responsibility for all elements of merchandising, marketing, product distribution, and direct product development and sourcing for 4,900 stores in seven countries. Prior to joining Payless ShoeSource, Hicks was executive vice president and general merchandise manager of all merchandising and programming for the Home Shopping Network.

From 1987 to 1998, he held senior management and merchandising positions for May Department Stores, including senior vice president of strategic planning and general merchandise manager for several divisions. From 1982 to 1987, he was a senior engagement manager for McKinsey and Company Consultants.

Hicks graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and served in the U. S. Army, attaining the rank of captain. After leaving the Army, he earned an MBA with highest honors from Harvard University.

He serves on the board of Avery Dennison Corporation.