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Retail 2012: Where to from here?, Friday 29 June 2012

Bernie Brookes, Managing Director and CEO of MYER, Tom Potter, founder of both Eagle Boys Pizza and the Crusty Devil Bakehouses and Phillip Di Bella, Founder of Di Bella Coffee addressed a business luncheon of over 110 senior business executives to discuss the topic "Retail 2012: Where to from here?". The event was moderated by Gary Black, Executive Director of the National Retail Association.

The current world economic climate, and the Australian controversy over online shoping, has had a severe impact on the retail sector. We have seen a major shift in the strategies of our local and national retailers to meet these changing conditions.

The retail sector supports jobs, commercial property, manufacturing and transport in the Australian economy.

Attendees gained insight from these top retailers into how they have responded to the above challenges and how they are planning for future growth of retail in Australia.

Particular issues covered included:

- the current challenging retail trading environment
the incresing pressure from online shopping and presence of international retailers
- the retail job market - how to grow jobs and help save businesses
- how smaller retailers are faring against larger retailers

With guest panellists:

Bernie Brookes, Managing Director and CEO, MYER

Bernie was appointed Managing Director and CEO of the Myer Group on 2 June 2006. In his role Bernie has been responsible for the transition of Myer following the separation from the Coles Group and for rebuilding the Myer business under new ownership.


Bernie has spent 36 years working within the retail industry in local and international roles in India and China.


Tom Potter, Founder, Eagle Boys Pizza

Tom built Eagle Boys to become one of Australia’s home-grown retail and franchise successes, through radical change, innovation and at times unusual business and marketing tactics.  Along the way, Eagle Boys won various National Franchising Awards and Tom was awarded with the Australian Financial Review’s Young Business Person of the Year.  He was chosen to give the valedictorian speech at his graduation class at Harvard Business School. 

Phillip Di Bella, Founder, Di Bella Coffee

In 2002, Phillip Di Bella’s passion for coffee and entrepreneurial spirit led him to start up a small coffee-roasting operation in the suburbs of Brisbane; he named his company Di Bella Coffee.

Over the following 9 years the company continued to thrive and expand. The speed of this growth was recognized in the 2006, 2007, 2009 BRW Fast 100, where Di Bella Coffee is the only coffee company to make the list in consecutive years.

As a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, Phillip was a finalist for Owner Manager of the Year in 2007, and won Young Manager of the year in 2008. He is actively involved in the Young Presidents Organisation. Phillip’s success has earned him a place BRW’s Young Rich list for four years running.

Phillip Di Bella’s entrepreneurship has been celebrated on several occasions; he was a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2005 and went on to win the award in 2008. More recently he was the winner of Brisbane Business News’ Young Entrepreneur Award in 2010 and Highly Commended Award in 2011.

Phillip’s professional life goes beyond the scope of his own business. Fiercely proud of his hometown, he is actively involved in the Brisbane community. His numerous community-building roles include: Director of Brisbane Marketing, Chairman of both the Queen Street Advisory Board and the Valley Malls Advisory Board, and member of the Lord Mayor’s Business Round Table. Phillip’s significant local involvement was recognized in 2009 when he received the Lord Mayor’s Corporate Citizenship Award.

In March 2011, Phillip was appointed Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Department of International Business and Asian Studies at Griffith University.

And moderated by Gary Black, Executive Director, National Retail Association

As Executive Director of the NRA, Gary leads a national organisation that provides a range of professional services to industry and represents the interests of the retail sector (Australia's largest employer) to governments, the media and the wider community.