Shoptalk latest event to reschedule due to coronavirus escalation
Shoptalk is the latest event to reschedule plans amid the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the globe. The annual retail conference, now in its fifth year, had been scheduled to take place in Las Vegas for four days beginning March 22. It will now be postponed until Sept. 14 and remain at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Event organizers emailed attendees and speakers early Thursday morning. “The guidance of various health and safety organizations and our commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of our community necessitated the shift,” read text on the event website. Shoptalk’s other conference, Groceryshop, had been scheduled for September—that event is now rescheduled for spring of 2021 with more details to come, organizers said.
It’s unclear however, if Shoptalk will still be able to schedule the same lineup of speakers, which includes executives from Whole Foods, Glossier, J.Crew, Ulta and other retailers. Shoptalk's agenda page now says an updated agenda will be released shortly. A spokeswoman from Wayfair, which had two executives scheduled to present, said she is checking schedules to see if participation is still possible. Rachel Bogan, a partner in product management at agency Work & Co who had been scheduled to speak says she plans to participate in September.
Other retail industry events that month include Fashion Week, which takes place in New York and several cities around the globe throughout the month.
Shoptalk drew buzz earlier this year when it announced that all of its speakers would be female, for the first time, in order to draw attention to gender imbalance. After 2020, speakers will be evenly split between men and women.
Organizers took a positive tone on Thursday. “Holding Shoptalk in September presents an incredible opportunity for the retail industry to learn from an unprecedented all-women speaker lineup and collaborate at significant scale, both of which are critical to the ongoing transformation and success of retail,” the company said. “We’re working hard to transition our sponsors, attendees and speakers to the new dates, and we expect Shoptalk 2020 to be the best event we’ve ever held.”
Most companies have also canceled or rescheduled events scheduled for March; several tech brands have backed out of South by Southwest, though organizers said the festival will still occur. Visit Ad Age’s event tracker for the latest updates.