Kentucky Retail Federation holds 2nd annual ‘Retail Recharge’ conference

Throughout the day, attendees got to hear from industry experts and collaborate.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 2:15 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Retail Federation held its second annual ‘Retail Recharge’ conference Tuesday in Lexington.

Throughout the day, attendees got to hear from industry experts and collaborate. Conference topics include the state of the retail economy, consumer behaviors, workforce challenges and organized retail crime.

“As retailers, sometimes we think that the problems we’re going through, we’re on an island all by ourselves,” said Alicia Dawson, the chair of the Kentucky Retail Federation.

Dawson said, as it turns out, that’s not the case.

“Even though we’re very different, we have a lot of commonalities,” Dawson said.

Dawson and her husband own a pharmacy in eastern Kentucky. She said she sees firsthand how the business landscape has changed, specifically after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dawson said it’s good to have an opportunity for retailers to come together.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet other people who’ve probably gone through the same things and maybe find some solutions to some problems that we didn’t know were possible,” Dawson said.

The number one problem retailers face right now, Dawson said, is organized retail crime.

“Businesses at some point say, ‘Okay, well, we can’t sustain this any longer,’ so they move out and we lose those valuable businesses,” said Dawson.

Dawson said this is why it was one of the topics on the conference agenda.

“Trying to find answers or solutions to this is probably the primary reason to come here,” said attendee Waverly McFarland.

McFarland and his wife own ‘The Woolery.’ He said the e-commerce side of his business is hit every day with retail crimes.

“Stolen credit cards are used to purchase items, so that’s a constant battle for us. Trying to weed out what’s a legitimate purchase and what’s a purchase with a stolen credit card,” said McFarland.

Another topic at ‘Retail Recharge’ was the upcoming holiday shopping season. The Kentucky Retail Federation said a lot of people are hanging onto their money, so retailers discussed ways they can meet consumers where they are.