Strong support for the Retail Risk – Melbourne conference on February 9 has led to plans to hold another conference in Australia this year, the organisers said on Thursday.

More than one hundred and fifty retail delegates registered for this year’s Retail Risk – Melbourne event.

“Many delegates were attending for the second time, while others had heard from colleagues about the successful launch of the conference last year,” said Mark Emmott, director at Retail Knowledge, the conference organisers.

“Following calls from delegates to hold another conference in Sydney this year, we are planning to hold a Retail Risk – Sydney conference this August,” he added.

The Melbourne audience had a packed agenda with presentations on the latest developments in loss prevention from top retailers, law enforcement experts and leading technology firms.

Walmart’s Director of Asset Protection Strategic Initiatives, Brand Elverston, shared insights into how the world’s biggest retailer has been closing the gap between its strategies and implementation on the ground. Organisations that engineer programmes with that gap in mind will stay ahead, he predicted.

The adidas Group’s Director Global Profit Protection and Investigations, Corin Dennison, talked about how to assure security with style. Achieving protection while maintaining a light touch befitting a global, streetwise brand has been key, he explained, to the group’s rapid expansion – with more than 230 new stores opened in just 12 months.

“How we cut shrink by 50%” was the subject of a presentation by Melissa Maher, Business Improvement Manager, and Mardi Gault, Loss Prevention Coordinator, at Australasian beauty products retailer Mecca Brands. They revealed how a trial of EAS gates turned into a training and hardware programme that resulted in much-improved LP capability at the chain’s more than 75 stores.

KPMG Australia’s Director – Contract and Compliance, Carly Richards, gave an assessment of the prospects for Australian retail, looking at industry leaders’ responses to challenges and at the obstacles to be overcome as retailers evolve to seize new opportunities.

Delegates were also briefed on developments in RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and its implications, from Steve Schenk, Business Development Manager – Inventory Specialist at Tyco Retail Solutions. He explained how networked antenna systems now enable three pillars of store performance, EAS, Traffic and Inventory Visibility (RFID) to be managed via a single platform and in real time.

Machine Learning and its potential benefits for retailers’ fraud management systems were the subject of a presentation by Matt Attwell, Risk and Client Service Director at The ai Corporation. Matt dispelled common myths around ML that he believes are resulting both in its misuse and in missed opportunities.

A session with Global Security Specialist Eric C. White covered the evolving threat of terrorism and what it means for retailers. Eric offered expertise on how a retail security departments can make use of existing technology to identify, detect, and deter risks.

Masterclasses in advanced POS/CCTV integration systems and in the application of NetMap technology were among the other attractions. Andrew Del Biondo, CCTV system engineer, Camvex, explored CCTV data mining and POS exception reporting while John Gray, CEO, NetMap Analytics, demonstrated how the NetMap technology can reveal in minutes irregular activity providing a shortcut to suspicious activity.

The conference also offered delegates the chance to experience the new Retail Risk – Global Risk survey. Building on the success of previous Retail Fraud surveys this one allowed each participant to vote and share information anonymously. The survey canvassed information from attendees and results were published in real time at the event.

To register interest in either sponsoring, speaking at or attending Retail Risk – Sydney in August, contact meladavidson@retail-knowledge.com