Review: NRF’s 2018 Big Show

The event drew more than 36,000 international retail professionals
Posted March 15, 2018

Crowds packed the aisles of the 107th National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Retail’s Big Show, eager to see what the industry’s largest trade show and conference dedicated to innovation in retail had in store for them. The event, held at New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center, drew more than 36,000 retail professionals from around the globe.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart’s CEO and President Doug McMillon, who was named “The Visionary” during the NRF Foundation Gala Jan.14, set the tone for the show with his talk about the changing face of retail. Blending physical and digital retail experiences, he told the audience, will be critical to the retailer’s future success. “The way customers want to live their lives today brings the store and e-commerce experiences together,” he said.

A crowd favorite, Levi’s (San Francisco) President James ‘JC’ Curleigh rode into his session on a bicycle to highlight the brand’s partnership with Google (Mountain View, Calif.) to create the ultimate in wearables: the connected commuter jacket. The technology-enabled denim jacket allows users to interact with a smartphone in their pocket by swiping on the garment’s sleeve.

More than 500 educational sessions included presentations from retailers, like Best Buy (Richfield, Minn.), JCPenney (Plano, Texas), Sam’s Club (Bentonville, Ark.) and others, and focused on the most pressing issues facing retail today, such as mobile and in-store payment, AR/VR and AI technology, customer experience and smart technology. For more information on NRF or its next trade event, please visit