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Seen and Heard at NRF 2024

Ed Stack
Ed Stack, executive chairman of Dick's Sporting Goods, was among the featured speakers at NRF 2024. (Photo credited to NRF)

With more than 50 keynote and featured sessions led by industry experts, NRF 2024 more than lived up to its reputation as “Retail’s Big Show."

Below is a sampling of some of their remarks.

FedEx CEO and president Raj Subramaniam

“I fundamentally believe that this is a pivotal time for e-commerce as we combine the power of AI and machine learning with the capabilities of our physical network to create end-to-end digital solutions and an unparalleled experience for you and your customers.”

Dick Stack, executive chairman, Dick’s Sporting Goods ( and recipient of NRF’s Visionary for 2024)

 “One of the things we’ve always talked about, and why I think we’ve been successful where some others in the sports industry haven’t been, is we’ve never fallen in love with ourselves.

"We knew the system was broken. So we needed to really stand up and try to make some changes.” [Referring to the retailer’s decision to ban firearm and ammunition sales to anyone under 21 years old and prohibit the sale of AR-15-style rifles following the shootings at Parkland High.]

Steve Liesman, senior economics reporter at CNBC

“I think the economy is going to grow relatively slowly this year, slower than it’s been. But I don’t think a recession is in the cards.

Dave Kimbell, CEO, Ulta Beauty

“I’ll start by saying the human experience is most important for us at Ulta Beauty.”

Hal Lawton, president and CEO, Tractor Supply Company 

“Our issue is less around having a number of opportunities. Our issue is much more about prioritization. We’ve got so much opportunity and so much growth ahead of us, we’ve just got to make sure we pick the right thing to invest in, in a stepwise fashion, to make sure it all syncs together.”

Michelle Gass, president and incoming CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.

“I love the phrase at Levi’s: Driving profits through principles. It’s not about just serving the consumer but how you take care of employees on the front line, your social responsibility and responsibility to communities.”

Heidi Cooley, senior VP and chief marketing officer, Crocs

“As a polarizing brand, we get to do polarizing things. And instead of the consumer saying ‘oh my gosh, Crocs should have never done that,’ it’s often, ‘oh my gosh, I can't believe Crocs just did that.’ And so we lean into that instead of away from it.”

Earvin "Magic" Johnson, NBA legend and chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises

“For me, if I’m prepared, if I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do, I feel that I’m going to win. And I only hire people like that — the same type of mindset, the same type of dedication, the same type of discipline, the same type of focus. That’s what I want. I want people running with me that have that same mindset.”

David Roth, CEO of The Store WPP

“The greater influence you have, the greater ability that you’ve got to grow your overall shareholder value. So let’s stop looking at building brands and building influence as a cost of the organization —let’s look at how it [influence] has the capacity to be an investment and drive shareholder value.”

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