Is the world economy continuing to collapse, or is it on the mend?

A roster of executives and designers will read the tea leaves on consumer spending, cutting costs, credit markets, margins, markdowns and otherwise explain how they’re holding their companies together and keeping the mission focused at next month’s WWD Apparel/Retail CEO Summit.

This story first appeared in the October 8, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

More than 200 brand and retail leaders have registered for the summit, which will be held Nov. 9 and 10 at the St. Regis in New York. It’s an annual event geared for learning, networking and being inspired by new ideas. This year, the conference responds to the global turmoil and heightened sense of urgency with greater content and more speakers than in the past — 25 in all, including some from industries outside fashion and retail. There will be a “retail town hall meeting” and three roundtable discussions, both formats geared to facilitate interaction between speakers and the audience.

The town hall, addressing opportunities and challenges for the retail-fashion industry, will have a panel with Bonnie Brooks, president and chief executive officer of The Bay; Ronald L. Frasch, president and chief merchandising officer of Saks Fifth Avenue; Karen Katz, president and ceo of Neiman Marcus Stores; Betsy McLaughlin, ceo of Hot Topic Inc., and Mindy Meads, president and chief merchandising officer of Aéropostale Inc.

Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., will deliver a keynote address on opening night, Nov. 9, while Marc Jacobs, designer for Marc Jacobs International and the artistic director for Louis Vuitton, will be the keynoter on the second evening.

Others who will speak or be involved in conversations are:

• Sir Martin Sorrell, ceo of WPP Group plc, discussing new markets and new media.

• Bruce Rockowitz, president of Li & Fung (Trading) Ltd., offering his view of global markets.

• Donna Karan, chief designer of Donna Karan International Inc., who will speak about the fashion system and the timing of collections and shipments to retailers.

• Macy’s Jeffrey Gennette, chief merchandising officer, and Julie Greiner, chief merchandise planning officer, teaming up to outline the lessons learned from the My Macy’s organization geared to tailor assortments locally across the nation.

• Kevin A. Plank, chairman and ceo of Under Armour Inc., talking about business growth in tough times.

• Stella McCartney, creative director of Stella McCartney Ltd.

There also will be a roundtable discussion on vision and leadership, with Wesley R. Card, president and ceo of Jones Apparel Group Inc.; Manny Chirico, chairman and ceo of Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., and Eric C. Wiseman, chairman, president and ceo of VF Corp. Another discussion, on innovative ideas to get consumers inspired to shop, will be moderated by Madonna Badger, founder of Badger & Partners, with Susan Lyne, ceo of Gilt Groupe; Christine M. Day, ceo of Lululemon Athletica Inc., and John Fleming, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer of Wal-Mart Stores in the U.S.

Contact Jennifer Macaluso at 212-630-4947 or for information to register.

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