Fashion Retailing Conference

Fashion Retailing Conference

Montreal, April 27-28, 2018

The Fashion Retailing Conference, organized at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, took place in Montreal, April 27-28, 2018.

This conference was one among other premier events that culminated with the opening of the new Bensadoun School of Retail Management at McGill University. The aim of this conference was to provide a forum for both professionals and academics, from the leading firms and universities of the world, to foster discussions about the latest research, industry practices and approaches, as well as trends and challenges related to retail.

To facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas, the event was highly interdisciplinary and featured speakers/participants with a wide range of expertise (e.g., supply chain management, marketing, technology, computer science, sustainability). While the conference aimed to highlight topics centered on the retail fashion industry, these discussions touched more broadly on aspects pertaining to:

  • operations,
  • branding and pricing,
  • new technologies,
  • big data,
  • AI/machine learning
  • social responsibility

Most importantly, this event aligned with the Bensadoun Retail School’s vision of equipping future students with the “tools, knowledge and skills they will need to be prepared to meet the demands of the retail industry today and to help shape its future” (Professor Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill University). As such, this conference placed an extra emphasis on the extent to which various innovations, including some in computer science (e.g., artificial intelligence, computer vision) and sustainability (e.g., responsible consumption and sustainable materials and processes) have impacted fashion retailing, especially given the rapid transformation that the retail industry is experiencing overall (i.e., changing consumer behavior, technological innovations, rise of E-commerce).


Academic Speakers

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David Bell, Xinmei Zhang and Yongge Dai Professor, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Professor Bell’s research focuses on digital marketing and e-commerce, with many applications in retail and unified commerce. He is the author of Location is (Still) Everything: The Surprising Influence of the Real World on How We Search, Shop, and Sell in the Virtual One (published in Portuguese and Mandarin for the Brazil and China markets, respectively), an authoritative book on how to win in the digital economy, and the forthcoming book: The BOSS Model: How to Sell to Millennials.

Bryan Bollinger, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Duke University: Fuqua School of Business

Professor Bollinger’s research interests lie at the intersection of marketing, empirical industrial organization, and economic policy. Current research includes technology adoption decisions by consumers and firms, demand and supply side spillover effects, and the effectiveness of marketing mix variables and policy tools in affecting consumer and firm behavior. Examples include work on solar PV adoption, learning-by-doing in solar PV installations, green technology adoption by dry cleaning firms, heterogeneous demand effects of smart meter technologies, the effect of nutritional labeling, dynamic network formation and propagation of information, advertising and channel interaction effects, and pro-social marketing.

Maxime Cohen, Assistant Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, NYU

Maxime Cohen joined New York University Stern School of Business as an Assistant Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences in September 2016. Professor Cohen’s research explores the intersection of data analytics and operations management. He is interested in pricing applications such as retail, sustainability and cloud services.

Marshall Fisher, UPS Professor, Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Marshall L. Fisher is the UPS Professor of Operations and Information Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and co-director of the Fishman-Davidson Center for Service and Operations Management. Dr. Fisher co-founded 4R Systems, Inc., in 1999 and serves as its Chairman. He joined the Boston Manufacturing and Distribution Sales office of IBM. After teaching assignments at the University of Chicago and Cornell University, Dr. Fisher joined the faculty of the Wharton School in 1975. His pioneering research in logistics and supply chain coordination in the 30-plus years he has been at the Wharton School has been implemented by many companies and recognized by numerous awards.

Nitish Jain, Assistant Professor of Management Science and Operations, London Business School

Nitish holds a PhD in Management Science from INSEAD. His research interests focus on global supply chains, and on the use of big data and empirical methods to improve supply chain management. His work has appeared in Management Science, and Operations Research and won prestigious student paper competitions. Before joining the PhD programme at INSEAD, Nitish worked at a real estate firm and in the technology industries. Nitish has an MBA degree from the Indian School of Business and Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Mathematics and Computing from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India.

Kris Ferreira, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Kris Ferreira is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Technology and Operations Management (TOM) Unit and teaches the TOM course in the MBA required curriculum. In her research, Professor Ferreira focuses on online markets and retail, seeking to build operations management models that inform practice, as well as to provide theoretical insights. In particular, she employs a combination of machine learning and optimization techniques to help companies use their data to make better tactical and strategic decisions. Her work with the online retailer Rue La La received the 2014 INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Section Practice Award and was named a finalist in the 2015 Innovative Applications in Analytics competition.

Ranjitha Kumar, Ranjitha Kumar, Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Prof. Kumar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and (by courtesy) the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She runs the Data Driven Design Group, where her students and she leverage data mining and machine learning to address the central challenge of creating good user experiences: tying design decisions to desired outcomes.

Liu Liu, PhD student, Stern School of Business, NYU

Liu Liu is currently a fifth year Ph.D student in Marketing at NYU Stern. She is joining the faculty of University of Colorado Boulder as an Assistant Professor of Marketing in Summer 2018. Her research focuses on the intersection of marketing and machine learning, with a particular interest in areas related to visuals, such as visual marketing, product design, branding, and social media. Prior to Stern, Liu Liu worked at Google for three years as a Software Engineer, doing large-scale machine learning for the AdSense system. She received her bachelor's degree from Tsinghua University and master's degree from Carnegie Mellon University, both in Computer Science.

Shasha Lu, Assistant Professor of Marketing at University of Cambridge Judge Business School

She is an expert in the area of applying computer vision techniques to marketing problems, such as development of automated video recommendation systems. Her work has already been published in top journals in the Marketing area.

Victor Martinez de Albeniz, Professor of Production, Technology and Operations Management, IESE Business School, University of Navarra

Victor Martínez de Albéniz is professor of the Production, Technology and Operations Management Department and Director of Research Division at IESE. He joined IESE in 2004 after earning a Ph.D. at the Operations Research Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an engineering degree at École Polytechnique in France. His research focuses on supply chain management, where procurement, production and distribution decisions can help companies compete more successfully in the global arena. He is particularly interested in procurement and supply, where a balanced sourcing portfolio can provide low cost, flexibility and innovation opportunities. More recently, he has worked on retail topics, especially in the fashion industry. He has published his work in journals such as Management Science, Operations Research, Manufacturing and Services Operations Management, or Production and Operations Management. In addition, Prof. Martínez de Albéniz teaches IESE courses on operations management, operations strategy, logistics and new product development, both at the executive and MBA levels. He has also taught regularly at MIT.

Sridhar Moorthy, Manny Rotman Chair in Marketing, Professor of Marketing, Rotman School of Business, University of Toronto

Sridhar Moorthy holds the Manny Rotman Chair in Marketing, and is also a Senior Consultant at CRA (Charles River Associates). His expertise is in bringing economic perspectives to bear on marketing problems. Moorthy’s research focuses on strategic issues in advertising, branding, product differentiation, retailing, including the impact of the Internet on marketing practice. He is an Associate Editor (and past Co-Editor) of Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Associate Editor of Management Science, member of the editorial board of Journal of Marketing Research, and coauthor of the textbook Marketing Models (Prentice Hall). Moorthy has served as a Vice President (Education) of the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science, and provided expert testimony in a number of legal cases.

Mahesh Nagarajan, Professor and Chair, Operations and Logistics Division, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

Prof. Nagarajan is the Alumni Professor of Stochastic Optimization at the Sauder School of Business at UBC and the division chair of the operations and logistics group. His research spans areas in operations research such as cooperative game theory, stochastic optimization models in inventory, production and capacity management and health care operations.

Donald Ngwe, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Donald Ngwe is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Marketing Unit. He teaches the Marketing course in the MBA required curriculum. Professor Ngwe directs his research at identifying successful online and offline retailing strategies, particularly in the fashion and apparel industry. His current work in online retail concerns optimal website design and pricing policies. His work in offline retail focuses on customer segmentation through store location, tracking in-store shopper behavior through video processing techniques, and discounting.

Yi Qian, Associate Professor, Marketing and Behavioral Science Division, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

She is an expert in applying economic modeling techniques to address Marketing problems. A major strand of her work focuses on counterfeit goods, intellectual property, and luxury goods. She is co-editor of Journal of Economics and Management Strategy.

David Simchi-Levi, Professor of Engineering Systems, MIT, Editor-in-Chief of Management Science

David Simchi-Levi is a Professor of Engineering Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Co-Director of Leaders for Global Operations. His research currently focuses on developing and implementing robust and efficient techniques for logistics and manufacturing systems. He has published widely in professional journals on both practical and theoretical aspects of logistics and supply chain management. Dr. Simchi-Levi has been the principal investigator for more than five million dollars in funded academic research. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Operations Research, the flagship journal of INFORMS, the former Editor-in-Chief of Naval Research Logistics and a member of the board for several scientific journals including Management Science, Networks, Transportation Science and Telecommunication Systems, and a former Area Editor of Transportation for Operations Research. His Ph.D. students have accepted positions in leading academic institutes including Berkeley, Columbia U., U. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, U. of Michigan, Purdue U., Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech.

Kalyan Talluri, Munjal Chair in Global Business and Operations, Imperial College London

Kalyan Talluri is a Professor of Operations Management in the Department of Management. He obtained his PhD in Operations Research from MIT, a Masters in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad. He had previously taught at Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University and the Dept. of Economics at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. He also worked at US Airways for three years prior to that. He has held visiting positions at the Indian School of Business, New York University, INSEAD and Dartmouth College. Professor Talluri's research interests are in network and service design, data analytics, revenue management and pricing.

Yajin Wang, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

Professor Wang received her Ph.D. in Marketing from the Carlson School of Management at University of Minnesota in 2015. Her research focuses on luxury brands and conspicuous consumption, and social/ interpersonal influence on consumer’s behavior. Her research has been published in Journal of Consumer Research and Psychological Science, and has been covered in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, BBC News, FOX News, and CNN. She teaches consumer behavior in the undergraduate program.

Industry Speakers

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Matthew Marchand, COO, ALDO Group Inc.

ALDO Group Inc.

A borderless world, a seamless marketplace; this is the vision of the ALDO Group, a family of brands custom-built to meet the demands of the modern international customer. Specializing in the design and production of quality, stylish and accessible footwear and accessories, the ALDO Group now covers all corners of the footwear market with three signature brands: Aldo, Call It Spring and GLOBO. This diverse, yet specialized approach has allowed us to develop knowledge and expertise in all areas of the shoe retail business, so that we have a deep and proven understanding of what our customers—whatever their age, taste, budget, location or lifestyle—are looking for. Combine this knowledge with a pioneering spirit and four decades of experience and you get a ground-breaking brand with limitless potential.

Rohan Deuskar, CEO, Stylitics


Founded in 2011, Stylitics is the outfitting and styling technology partner to the world’s leading retailers. Stylitics helps retailers deliver thousands of on-brand outfit recommendations to every customer, across e-commerce, emails, ads, and stores, through a powerful combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, algorithms, trend data, and stylist expertise. Since 2015, Stylitics has helped deliver nearly one billion outfit recommendations to shoppers, generating tens of millions of dollars in incremental revenue for clients.

Brian Keng, Chief Data Scientist, Rubikloud


Rubikloud empowers retailers to leverage machine learning and big data systems in meaningful ways. Founded in 2013 and based in Toronto, Rubikloud is an artificial intelligence (AI) company that has created the world’s leading, cloud-native, machine learning platform for retail. We started with three guys, and a puppy named Charlie, on a very beige couch in a very small apartment. Fast-forward to today and the couch and apartment are long gone. We’ve grown quickly to now include nearly 100 Rubikrew with expertise in AI and machine learning, enterprise software engineering, retail product development, and retail customer experience.

Jennie Perzon, Senior Manager, Sustainability Strategy, Josefine Olsson, Strategy Consultant, Technology Strategy Group, Accenture


Accenture solves our clients' toughest challenges by providing unmatched services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. We partner with more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500, driving innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. With expertise across more than 40 industries and all business functions, we deliver transformational outcomes for a demanding new digital world.

Steven Goldsmith, CEO and President, LXR&Co


LXRandCo celebrates luxury masterpieces: we truly believe that iconic handbags deserve new lives. Our mission is to connect people with modern vintage pieces, to bring fresh inspiration, and promote sustainable practice by giving renewed life to luxury handbags and accessories.

Andy Pandharikar, CEO and Co-founder, Commerce.AI


Commerce.AI was founded with the mission to harness the power of artificial intelligence to change the way commerce is done. We are training our AI to learn about all the products and associated consumer feedback in the form of natural language. When the AI starts to understand which product features work well, it can empower the humans to do what we are best at... to build great products and sell with confidence!

Brad Klingenberg, VP of Data Science, Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix is an online styling service that delivers a truly personalized shopping experience, just for you. Fill out your Style Profile and a personal stylist will hand pick pieces to fit your tastes, needs and budget—and mail them directly to your door. Each box contains five items of clothing, shoes and accessories for you to try on at home. Keep what you love, send the rest back in a prepaid USPS envelope. Shipping and returns are free—even for exchanges!


All events on Friday and Saturday take place in the Donald E. Armstrong Building, 3rd Floor (3420 McTavish Street)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Time Activity/Speaker & Topic Location
4:00 - 6:30 pm Registration

Desautels Faculty of Management

McGill University
1001 Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, H3A 1G5

Friday, April 27, 2018

Time Activity/Speaker & Topic
7:45 - 8:30 am Breakfast
8:30 - 8:45 am Opening Remarks
Dean Isabelle Bajeux, Desautels Faculty of Management
Professor Saibal Ray, Academic Director, Bensadoun School of Retail Management
8:45 - 9:10 am Designing the Future of Personal Fashion
Professor Ranjitha Kumar, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
9:10 - 9:35 am Out of Your League: Women's Luxury Products as Signals to Men
Yajin Wang, University of Maryland, Robert Smith School of Business
9:35 - 10:00 am Applying Artificial Intelligence at ALDO
Matthew Marchand, COO, ALDO Group Inc.
10:00 - 10:15 am Coffee Break
10:15 - 10:40 am Learning to Rank an Assortment of Products
Kris Ferreira, Harvard Business School
10:40 - 11:05 am Shipping Fees and Product Assortment in Online Retail
Donald Ngwe, Harvard Business School
11:05 -11:30 am AI in the Fashion World
Andy Pandharikar, CEO and Co-Founder, Commerce.AI
11:30 -11:35 am Short Break
11:35 am - 12:05 pm


What's the Next Supply Chain for Fashion
Marshall Fisher, The Wharton School

12:05 - 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 - 1:55 pm The Estimation Problem of Dynamic Pricing
Kalyan Talluri, Imperial College London
1:55 - 2:20 pm Forecasting and Optimization Models for Fashion Garments
Mahesh Nagarajan, University of British Columbia, Sauder School of Business
2:20 - 2:45 pm Building a Real-World Product Recommendations Engine for Fashion and Beauty Retailers
Brian Keng, Chief Data Scientist, Rubikloud Technologies
2:45 to 3:00 pm am Coffee Break
3:00 - 3:25 pm Leveraging Visual Data in Fashion Retailing
Shasha Lu, University of Cambridge, Judge School of Business
3:25 - 3:50 pm Advertising Strategy in the Presence of Reviews: An Empirical Analysis
Sridhar Moorthy, University of Toronto, Rotman School of Business
3:50 - 4:15 pm Co-created Innovation Spells the Future of Fashion
Jennie Perzon, Accenture, Technology Strategy Group
4:15 - 4:30 pm Coffee Break
4:30 - 5:00 pm


Online Resource Allocation with Applications to Revenue Management
David Simchi-Levi, MIT

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Time Activity/Speaker & Topic
7:45 - 8:30 am Breakfast
8:30 - 8:55 am Enabling Feedback Loops to Power Data-driven Retail
Brad Klingenberg, VP Data Science, Stitch Fix
8:55 - 9:20 am Frustration-Based Promotions: Field Experiments in Ride-Sharing
Maxime Cohen, New York University, Stern School of Business
9:20 - 9:30 am Short Break
9:30 - 10:00 am


Topic TBC
David Bell, The Wharton School

10:00 - 10:15 am Coffee Break
10:15 - 10:40 am Visual Listening In: Extracting Brand Image Portrayed on Social Media
Liu Liu, NYU, Stern School of Business
10:40 - 11:05 am Hiring Retail Leaders who are Passionate about Customers
Steven Goldsmith, CEO and President, LXR&Co
11:05 - 11:30 am Peer Effects and Social Norms in Environmental Behaviours
Bryan Bollinger, Duke University, Fuqua School of Business
11:30 - 11:45 am Coffee Break
11:45 am - 12:10 pm Fast and Furious: The Impact of Delivery Lead-Times on Online Buyer Behavior
Victor Martinez de Albeniz, University of Navarra, IESE Business School
12:10 - 12:35pm Can inspiration be automated? Delivering personalized fashion and style advice at scale
Rohan Deuskar, CEO and Founder, Stylitics
12:35 -1:00 pm Mobile Commerce
Nitish Jain, London Business School
1:00- 1:05 pm Closing Remarks
A packed lunch will be provided.


Registration is now closed

Any questions about registration can be directed to nathan.yang3 [at] (subject: 4th%20Fashion%20Operations%20Conference%20) (Nathan Yang) or sk162 [at] (subject: 4th%20Fashion%20Operations%20Conference%20) (Sumit Kunnumkal).


Delta Hotels by Marriott MontrealDelta Hotels by Marriott Montreal

Address: 475 Président-Kennedy Avenue, Montreal, QC H3A 1J7
Phone: 514-286-1986

Delegates will receive a discounted rate by:

  • calling central reservations at 1-844-860-3753 and giving the corporate/promo code: GU0
  • visiting the website and entering the corporate/promo code: GU0

Other Possible Accommodations

Hotel Omni Mont-Royal Hotel Omni Mont-Royal

Address: 1050 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3A 2R6
Phone: 514-284-1110 ***Mention McGill Rate***

Residence Inn by Marriott Montreal DowntownResidence Inn by Marriott Montreal Downtown

Address: 2045 Rue Peel, Montreal H3A 1T6 Canada
Phone: 514-982-6064
*** Mention McGill Rate***
Rate: $161

Château VersaillesChâteau Versailles

​Address: 1659 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3H 1E3
Phone: 888-933-8111

*** Mention McGill Rate***


The 1st edition took place at IESE in Barcelona on March 26-27, 2015, the 2nd edition at Koç University in Istanbul on May 12, 2016 and the 3rd edition took place at the IESE Business School in New York City on February 14-15, 2017. See more information from previous editions.

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