“We work with our speakers on a daily basis and are confident that the vast majority will be in person,” another NRF spokeswoman wrote, noting that attendees will have virtual access to some of the sessions. It added that more details about the schedule and virtual components will be released next week.
Speakers at the Big Show include Target CEO Brian Cornell, Matt Bayer, Macy’s Chief Digital Officer and Customer, and Vivian Chang, Head of Growth for DTC at Clorox. Jessica Alba, founder and chief creative officer of The Honest Company, a kids-focused brand, plans to close the conference with a keynote presentation on January 18. Best Buy CEO Corey Barry is scheduled to speak Jan. 17; The electronics retailer pulled out of its planned activations of its rebranded advertising business at CES earlier this week due to a spike in COVID cases; A Best Buy spokesperson did not respond to an inquiry about Barry’s appearance at NRF.
In fact, CES, which takes place in Las Vegas this week but has been cut short by a day due to a spike in infections, has seen waves of cancellations that have included recalls of the likes of Google, Twitter, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft. Several programs were removed from the agenda, while planned speakers such as Paris Hilton failed to appear. Conference issues can provide a preview of what the NRF might expect next week should COVID-19 continue to emerge.