August 5 | 11 a.m. EDT – 4 p.m. EDT
The retail realities of COVID-19 Part II 
 virtual event
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A global Kantar perspective with North American implications

The public health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic rapidly morphed into a demand crisis for the global economy. As the marketplace begins to rebound and reopen, a handful of decisive actions and priorities, both with consumers and with retailers, will differentiate winning companies from competition.

Throughout the day, Kantar’s experts will address your most pressing issues, providing real-world, global case studies, with H2 2020, North American implications. 

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What we will cover?

  • Macroeconomic updates as we head into this fall's election
  • The "new" supply chain
  • The evolution of commerce
  • The global outlook and refresh: China, UK, and Canada
  • Consumer sentiment and shopper updates
  • Ecommerce and digital opportunities, H2 and beyond
  • and more .. ..

*Please note that to preserve the highest quality audio experience, we are pausing the use of webcams on all virtual events starting 3/31/2020. We are hopeful to return to our use of webcams in the near future. We appreciate your understanding of home WiFi bandwidth constraints. We will continue to reassess this decision as circumstances evolve.  


Don’t just dream of winning in retail. Experience it. Access our industry’s best
and brightest through thought-provoking presentations, inspiring conversations,
and hands-on working sessions. It’s time
to set yourself apart in the new era of retail.

Individual Event Pass

$ 1,250

Full Access to virtual event, session recordings, and PDF files of all available event presentations.

Group Event Pass - 5 guests

$ 5,000

Full Access to virtual event, session recordings, and PDF files of all available event presentations.


Enterprise Access

$ 10,000

Full Access to virtual event, session recordings, and PDF files of all available event presentations.



Todd Szahun
11:00-11:15 AM
Todd Szahun, Senior Vice President  & Ted Riedel, Executive Vice President
J Walker Smith

11:15-11:45 AM
Fast Break: A Blueprint for Rebounding into a Winning Recovery
J. Walker Smith, Chief Knowledge Officer for Brand & Marketing

In this presentation, J. Walker Smith, Chief Knowledge Officer for Brand & Marketing, will:

  • Identify the critical steps for winning companies
  • Share the opportunities available from this recovery blueprint
  • Outline the steps for coming out of the downturn even stronger going forward.
Doug Hermanson

11:45 AM-12:15 PM
Macro view
The economic rollercoaster will continue into the second half of 2020
Doug Hermanson, Principal Economist

The recovery will continue to be a rollercoaster ride, but likely moving into a long period of surprising twists and turns. This segment will provide the map or, more than likely, the maps to give you an understanding what is ahead for the retail economy. Expect to learn

  • The economic and political signposts expected in H2 2020 and 2021
  • The potential shape or shapes of the recovery
  • Quarterly trends, including the holiday, for major consumables, softgoods, and homegoods categories
12:15-12:30 PM
David Marcotte

12:30-1 PM
Modeling Local and Global Changes Impacted by COVID-19
David Marcotte, Senior Vice President

2020 has had one constant of unending disruptions from the unexpected. To make sense of it we need to need a proven structure to absorb and relate changes going forward. Such that they can be planned against using the Market Evolution Model (MEM).

  • The model is a proven tool for companies trying to plan and invest into retail markets around the world.
  • A means of balancing and defining the new dynamics of rapidly changing shopper, retailers, the government response and oncoming disruptions
  • Markets will be pushed into defined stages that retailers and vendor need to start preparing for now.
Oceanne Zhang

1:00-1:20 PM
China’s new consumer value ecosystem
Oceanne Zhang, Director of Consulting

COVID -19 has altered consumer sentiment. Learn from our local expert:

  • The shifts and implications thus far for retail in China.
  • Predictions for back-half 2020 in China.
  • Category needs and trends.

1:20-1:35 PM

Ray Gaul
1:35-2:20 PM

Channel highs and lows across the phases of reopening
Ray Gaul, Senior Vice President of European Retail Insights

Learn from our on-the-ground expert:

Retailers have had two big challenges during the phases of lockdown and reopening. The first is to work with governments to make sure they are compliant with ever-changing rules to protect the public and make sure the public follow the rules while shopping. The second has been to protect their own staff and profits. The result has been that stores have been closed, operating hours have been changed, promotional days and programs have been created, abandoned, and recreated. In short, we’ve seen lots of channel ups and downs with physical channels seeing a surge of sales in March only to follow with no sales in April.

In Europe, several countries have ‘reopened’ retail in April allowing us to see a few weeks into the future for American retailers and brands. We will explore the European lessons learned in channel shifts, the shape of the growth curve for different channels and categories, and best practices in removing fear and other obstacles from the minds of shoppers.

MaryBrett Whitfield

2:20-2:50 PM
Mary Brett Whitfield, Senior Vice President

2:50-2:55 PM

Amar Singh

2:55-3:25 PM
How has COVID-19 evolved the brick-and-mortar store?
Amar Singh, Principal Analyst

COVID-19 has undoubtedly accelerated the online shopping transformation since March; however, physical retail stores are still important, as they attract significantly higher shopper penetration versus their online platforms. While retailers have changed the physical store layout to ensure safety, shoppers still expect a convenient and enjoyable in-store experience. The interaction between safety measures, experiential retail, and empowerment is unlocking new avenues of growth. In this session learn:

  • How are social distancing measures changing the front and centre of the store?
  • What should brands do differently to drive engagement and growth?
  • How can technology support effective traffic management and personalized shopping experience?
Tim Campbell

3:25-3:55 PM
Transformation of omnicommerce
Timothy Campbell, Director

Kantar experts share their predictions and how you can win come a post pandemic world:

  • What changes in retail are here to stay and what will likely revert back to it pre-pandemic state
  • What expectations will shoppers have for brand accountability and what that means for your business
  • How AR and VR will play a role in the store of the future

3:55-4:00 PM
Closing remarks
Todd Szahun, Senior Vice President  & Ted Riedel, Executive Vice President


Event Speakers

Todd Szahun
Todd Szahun
Senior Vice President

Todd leads the eCommerce and new retail insights team. Before joining Kantar, Todd held simultaneous corporate and operational roles within WPP, leading the expansion of practice areas including eCommerce, digital, data strategy, and shopper marketing across many of WPP’s top 50 clients. With deep client expertise in CPG; technology; entertainment; pharmaceuticals; and beer, wine, and spirits, Todd brings a wealth of experience building and deploying end-to-end marketing activities, including research, activation, amplification and measurement, that enable a broad view of what works across channels and sectors. Todd holds a B.A. in political science and an MBA with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. He is a published author, frequent speaker at industry events, and startup adviser.
Ted Riedel
Ted Riedel
Executive Vice President

Doug Hermanson
Doug Hermanson
Principal Economist

Doug specializes in data management, forecasting, and applied economics for the economist and home improvement teams. He contributes economic, retail, and consumer insights through customized research, presentations, and syndicated publications. He is also a key developer of the econometric models and methodologies used in the channel, category, and country-level retail market forecasts produced at Kantar. He holds an M.S. in economics from The Ohio State University where he developed research on regional retail market development and financial commodity markets.
Mary Brett Whitfield
Mary Brett Whitfield
Senior Vice President

Mary Brett leads the shopper insights research and content development team for Kantar and also directs development of the company’s apparel retailing content. Mary Brett has extensive experience helping retailers and suppliers leverage shopper insights and other primary research data for performance improvement. She has worked at retail companies in market research, strategic planning, and sales development roles and has a strong background in industry and company analysis and competitive positioning work. Mary Brett earned a B.A. in economics from Smith College and an MBA from the University of Oklahoma.
Oceanne Zhang
Oceanne Zhang
Director of Consulting

Ray Gaul
Ray Gaul
Senior Vice President of European Retail Insights

Based in London, Ray is an expert in global retail trends. He typically works with clients looking to understand how retail is changing across multiple countries and continents. He currently focuses on pan-European retail topics, such as the success and expansion of grocery discounters, the rise of buying groups in Europe, and M&A activities among big retailers. Ray also sits on Kantar’s global center of excellence for eCommerce. In addition, Ray leads Kantar’s dedicated forecasting teams that provide clients with future views to aid in key channel/account planning. Ray joined Kantar in 2000 having worked previously in Ukraine for three years. He holds a B.A. in economics and an M.A. in international relations with a focus on international economic policy.
Amar Singh
Amar Singh
Principal Analyst

Amar is a principal analyst, focusing on Canadian retail and eCommerce. He creates insights that inform strategic decisions related to key grocery, mass merchandising, drug, club, home improvement, and digital channels. Amar is a seasoned brand, shopper, and advertising researcher. Before joining Kantar in 2018, he managed consumer insights at a leading CPG brand in Canada, which included brand management, packaging optimization, and product innovation. Amar has an MSc in marketing and consumer studies from the University of Guelph.
David Marcotte
David Marcotte
Senior Vice President

David leads Kantar’s insights into the current and future state of international retail, complex business processes, and technology. He covers a range of retail channels, including home improvement, consumer electronics, and food service. David is a provocative keynote speaker for events across the Americas and Asia. He is an experienced leader of international teams, a veteran executive consultant, and a retail solutions architect. Before joining Kantar, David was the global business intelligence lead for retail and CPG at IBM, advising retail clients on POS infrastructure, merchandising, loyalty programs, IT design, loss prevention, supply chain, and large data solutions. Before IBM, David spent 20 years working at every level of retail, from the shop floor to executive management, within discount, grocery, chain drug, and food service operations. He is a past member of the Efficient Consumer Response Category Management Standards Group and the Association for Retail Technology Standards. David’s publications include The Store of the Future.
Tim Campbell
Tim Campbell

Tim leads research and insights for Kantar’s club channel coverage. He is responsible for developing syndicated content, hosting event presentations, and delivering custom work related to the three major U.S. club retailers: Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale. He also coordinates coverage for Walmart International in addition to providing topical support for private label and more general brick-and-mortar retail insights. He has been cited by NPR, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and other media outlets. Tim joined Kantar in December 2013. He holds a B.A. in economics and political science from Gordon College.
J. Walker Smith, Chief Knowledge Officer for Brand & Marketing
J. Walker Smith
Chief Knowledge Officer for Brand & Marketing

Virtual Event

In confirmation email, attendees will receive a link to virtually access the Retail Realities of COVID-19 Part II virtual event. If you do not receive this link, please email

If you missed the first installment of Retail Realities of COVID-19, you are able to now purchase those sessions to view on demand. 

Learn more about our 2020 events