Retailing in a disruptive world


We look ahead to this year’s Pan European TCG Retail Summit in Madrid and ask Hans Carpels, president of Euronics International, what he hopes to take away from it

The second Pan-European TCG (Technical Consumer Goods) Retail Summit has been confirmed as taking place on April 22 to 23 in Madrid, Spain.

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Claiming to be the only international congress that focuses on technical consumer goods retailing (consumer electronics, home appliances, IT and telecoms), the inaugural summit was held in Berlin last year. More than 150 senior managers from the TCG industry in 20 European countries attended. They discussed and shared their views on the challenges faced by the industry.
The second summit will be held at the five-star boutique Sheraton Madrid Mirasierra hotel, which also provides the accommodation for the Real Madrid football team before each home game.
The theme of this year’s summit is ‘Retailing in a Disruptive World’. Chaired by business journalist Declan Curry, speakers and panellists will include Laurent Abadie, chief executive of Panasonic Europe; Thomas Baader, executive vice-president of BSH; Hans Carpels, president of Euronics International; Fabio De’Longhi, chief executive of De’Longhi; Turan Erdogan, chief executive of Vestel; Pieter Nota, chief executive of Philips Consumer Lifestyle and Jonas Samuelson, head of major appliances, EMEA, at Electrolux.

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‘I am convinced that pure players will not be the retail winners
Hans Carpels, president of Euronics International, says what he enjoyed about the last summit and what he is looking forward to this year

Hans Carpels, president of Euronics International
Hans Carpels, president of Euronics International

Q: What was your impression of last year’s Pan-European TCG (Technical Consumer Goods) Retail Summit?
A: It was very well organised and the format was ideal. There was quite an impressive line-up of speakers, with really useful content. It was like a who’s who of the trade.
Presentations lasted a maximum of 20 minutes and afterwards there was a panel discussion. The concept of the summit is very meaningful and the timing is ideal, as it takes place between CES and IFA at a time when manufacturers are launching new products.

Q: What did you take away from the summit?
A: I was impressed by the usability of suggestions made and by the fact that no one claimed to have the model for the future of retailing. The majority of speakers really tried to bring tangible solutions – not just theories.

Q: One could say that IFA is already a place where TCG retail and industry comes together and there might be the temptation to say why another business platform? Do you see IFA and the Pan-European TCG Retail Summit as competing against each other or are they complementary?
A: I would say that they are complementary. Of course, IFA is about products and solutions, but the fact that the TCG is in the April/May period makes it clear that at that time we have a meeting point in addition to IFA in Berlin and CES in Las Vegas.

Q: The summit filled a gap that was missing in the TCG sector. Why do you think such an event for senior management was missing from the industry in the past?
A: Perhaps nobody had the guts to start it?

Q: Considering the extremely fast-moving nature of the electrical retailing sector, how do you see the relationship between retailers and industry partners developing? How is it different from five years ago and what will be important in the future?
A: I think one should ask what is still the same as five years ago, because that would be much easier. We have already seen a lot of retailers pulling out of territories where they can’t make a profit.

Q: In your view, what must retailers do in the next three years in order to secure a profitable future?
A: They should integrate their off-line and online offerings and revamp their p-o-s to attract more customers. Of course, this challenge has to be met with the support of the industry.

Q: Who, in your opinion, are going to be the retail winners of tomorrow? Will it be only the pure players like Amazon, eBay and AO, which recently rolled out its UK business model in Germany?
A: I am convinced that pure players will not be the retail winners.

Q: The second Pan-European TCG Retail Summit will take place on April 22-23 in Madrid. Which topics do you expect to hear discussed at this year’s event and what would be the million-dollar question?
A: The connected home and its implementation for the consumer. Will wearables grow from a gadget market to a robust part of the business?

Q: One of the topics of the summit in Madrid will address the increasing EU antitrust regulations [anticompetitive agreements and abuse of dominant market position] the TCG sector is facing. How relevant is this for Euronics?

A: It is clear that a level playing field is necessary in Europe and as a retail group we have clearly mentioned this in our discussions with the EU Commission. We see several players in our field benefiting from specific tax deals, where others are taxed in the usual manner.

Q: How was 2014 for Euronics?
A: The negative currency changes in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Kazakhstan will be balanced by the positive evolution in Spain, Germany, UK and other countries, so we expect to be on par.

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