We are delighted to present our speakers for The Convenience Conference 2023.

Senior Consumer Insights & Project Manager
Punch Pubs

Currently the Senior Consumer Insight & Project Manager at Punch Pubs, after a background at McDonald’s and Ferrero UK, Brad Garner takes a data-led approach to ensure that the guests’ needs are at the heart of decisions made in the c. 1300 Punch Pubs in the UK. Working alongside the Marketing, Property, Training, Recruitment, Operations, Category and Sales teams at Punch, his aim is to maintain and enhance the guest-first mentality and understanding at Punch Pubs, to drive profitable business growth.

Head of Insight
Punch Pubs

James Gilbert leads the Insights, Projects & Strategy team at Punch Pubs & Co, one of the largest pub companies in the UK.

James joined Punch Pubs & Co in April 2020, and in his role, is responsible for helping the business make better decisions through the strategic understanding of the hospitality market and the consumer that frequents it.

His career spans 20 years having started as a ‘pot wash’ at the local pub in his home town of Berkley, Gloucestershire to running bars & restaurants in Sheffield, and a number of commercial and business development roles at Pernod Ricard UK, to his position now working with the UK’s best pub operators at Punch Pubs & Co.

James lives in south Yorkshire with his partner Hannah and their 11 month old son Jude. In his spare time James will be found spending quality time with his family or, on a bike in the Peak District.

Retail Allwyn UK
Phoenix 2 Retail / Vape Local
Singh’s Premier, Teynham
Fed National Deputy Vice President

Shahid Razzaq, better known as Mo, is an independent store owner from Blantyre, Glasgow, with more than 20 years’ experience in retailing.

He joined the Fed’s Scottish Executive in 2011 and has since gone on to be Scottish vice president in 2014 and president in 2015.

He is currently a member of the Fed’s National Council and National Executive and has been chairman of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) committee for Scotland since 2018, helping to drive forward DRS.

Mo has been heavily involved in the proposed DRS scheme in Scotland from the outset, taking part in regular discussions with all parties involved, including Circularity Scotland, government ministers, reverse vending machine suppliers and waste management companies.

As the Fed’s representative, he is committed to ensuring a DRS scheme that works for all concerned, particularly the members of the Fed in Scotland who will act as return points for the scheme.

Senior Insight Manager
Lumina Intelligence

A Senior Insight Manager at Lumina intelligence, Flora leads the company’s consultancy insight solution. By analysing consumer data and interrogating the trends, Flora supports food and drink companies with their strategies, recommending successful business decisions.

People Director, Culture & Colleague Experience
The Co-operative Group

Nick Speight is People Director, Culture & Colleague Experience for The Co-operative Group, working in their Manchester-based support centre and from home. Nick was previously Head of People Operations & Service and Interim Business Services Director at Co-op and has worked in Leadership roles in a variety of large organisations both in the UK and overseas. A graduate in German, Nick started his career as a graduate trainee with Sainsbury’s. After 10 years in operations (including spells in Bahrain and Germany), Nick chose to move to HR and hasn’t looked back since. In recent years, Nick has specialised in Shared Service, HR Technology, Business Services and optimisation. Outside of work, Nick is a father of three adult children, loves travelling and enjoys playing and watching sport. A loyal Manchester United supporter, Nick attends as many matches as he can. Nick is also Chair of Governors at Co-op Failsworth Academy, a role he finds incredibly fulfilling and Non-Executive Director for Belong Ltd, a not-for-profit North-West-based care village chain specialising in dementia care. Nick was recently recognised in the New Year’s Honours list, receiving an MBE for his service to the food supply chain during Covid.

Managing Director
Booker Group – Retail

Colm Johnson has over 30 years of experience in the wholesale industry. He started his career as a part time cash & carry assistant with Linfood Cash & Carry in Rochdale.

He progressed to Assistant Manager in 1988, which led to management roles across the North West, before leading the team that opened Booker’s flag ship catering branch in Stockport in 1997. Following the success of this new branch, Colm then turned around loss making branches in northern England.

In 2002, Colm moved to the buying role of Regional Trading Controller for Scotland and northern England. This focussed around understanding local markets, regional prices and customer satisfaction, as well as negotiating with suppliers to ensure the best possible value for both retail and catering customers.

Colm moved to Director of Trading – Impulse in 2006. Leading a team of over 20 people, he was responsible for buying all retail product, price, improving cash profit and customer satisfaction for Booker customers.

In September 2019 Colm moved to his current role of Managing Director, Booker Group – Retail. Colm is responsible for the development of the complete Booker Group retail business through Booker Wholesale, Booker Retail Partners and all independent, regional and national accounts.

Director of Trading
Notay’s Convenience Store

Currently running a c-store in Batley, West Yorkshire, business has been in his family since 1976, opened by Serge’s Grandparents. Serge has been working since the age of 11 in 1999 he took the reins and has been running it since with his Dad.

Constantly looking to drive Profit and footfall to the community store by looking to make a point of difference to make Notays a destination store.

Recently took on a delivery service with Snappyshopper and has seen a 25% growth in sales year on year.




Chief Executive

James Lowman was appointed ACS Chief Executive in November 2006. He has led ACS on political and policy representation, driven a unique research programme that informs ACS’ policy work, launched an industry-leading assured advice scheme in partnership with Surrey County Council, created a new and unique events programme, and increased membership and engagement from all parts of the industry. He has been recognised for his work with outstanding achievement awards from HIM, Palmer & Harvey, YIGA, and the Retail Industry Awards. James is a member of ministerial advisory groups including the National Retail Crime Steering Group and the Retail Sector Council. He also sits on the boards of Community Alcohol Partnerships, the London Food Board and the High Streets Task Force. James joined ACS in 1997. He has a degree in Politics from the University of Essex, and an MBA from Kingston Business School.

Ash's Stores

Currently running a c-store in Cambridgeshire, business has been in his family since the 1980's, Amit took over in 2017 and has been running it since. Developing profitability and changing the operational model from family run to staff run. Amit has a focus on operational efficiency and is particularly keen on the future growth of disruptive products.


Costcutter Epsom

Have been in retail for many years and have run an award winning forecourt in Surrey before taking on this store at the height of the last recession. My husband and I co own and employ 15 full and part time staff. The store is in an area of with a large number of families with young children and also a significant amount of seniors. Our emphasis is a lot on fresh foods and it has seen a significant growth in our overall business. A vibrant food to go offering with freshly baked goods, Cost coffee, slush and gelato give everyone a welcoming ambience. We also provide parcel drop off, free to use cash machine and bill payment services.



James Bielby is the chief executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, the trade association for food and drink wholesalers serving retailers and out of home. FWD represents the sector to government, suppliers, customers and the outside world, aiming to create favourable trading conditions for members by lobbying for policy change and defending against regulatory burdens; advises members on potential political opportunities, threats and requirements; and works to create a safer trading environment. FWD also provides a meeting place for wholesalers and suppliers on non-compete issues.

James is a member of the Food and Drink Sector Council, the National Retail Crime Steering Group, and is a school governor.


Director-General | Vape Industry Consultant
UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA)

John has a strong background and reputation in the European e-cigarette industry having held senior executive positions in some of the US and Europe’s biggest companies. As managing director of Dyflin Group Consulting, he advises many leading industry analysts, financial institutions and media organisations looking at the vaping sector. John is also Director-General and one of the founders of the UKVIA, the UK’s largest vaping Industry association and has advised the UK government All Party Parliamentary Group on Vaping as well as giving evidence before the UK Science & Technology Committee investigation into the Vaping industry, the Australian and Irish Parliaments review on vaping. John regularly appears on national television, radio as well as national and international print media. John is a popular guest speaker at many of the world’s leading conventions.

Managing Director
The Paul Stone Group of Companies

Paul Stone owns five SPAR stores in the centre of Manchester, each catering to the needs of their customer. Paul’s store on Princess Street won the prestigious industry award - Best Independent Convenience Store - at the 2019 Convenience Retail Awards. His Oxford Road store undertook a huge £220,000 refit in just 11 days at the start of January. Paul is a Director of the National Guild of SPAR and is Vice Chair of the SPAR Northern Guild where his responsibilities include identifying future retail opportunities for independent SPAR retailers. Paul was a former Vice Chair of the ACS.


One Stop

I have been a retailer for over 35 years, my background is software development, I run 3 stores under the One Stop Banner in the East Midlands.

My passion is retail and processes, I love my gadgets at home and work, and my best mate is Milo, my dog.

My spare time I am always looking for new ideas for the future, or even new technologies to help me drive my day to day work life and also anything to automate my home.

My role in my business is to support the managers to help them drive the business forward, I don't drag my team on a journey I always take them on a journey this way I feel we get more out of the day and the week, nothing is impossible it's just a mind set, the key for me is to ensure that everything is process driven this allows more efficiency for everyone.

My team will tell you that I am a person of detail, after all retail is detail.




Appointed as editor of ConvenienceStore.co.uk in 2020, Aidan previously worked on the brand between 2008 and 2015 as a reporter and products editor. Aidan grew up in the retail industry, with his parents running a convenience store in Dublin. He is most excited about best practice ideas and knowledge sharing amongst retailers that helps the entire sector grow.

Director Village Stores Local
Morrisons Daily Mickleton

The day job 2 retail sites, the side hustle property development in Airbnb, and the hobby Landlord of the Masons Arms.


Trudy Davies, Woosnam & Davies News

Trudy Davies was brought up and lived in Llanidloes for the majority of my life and she’s a super passionate retailer about promoting ‘Llani’ locally and nationally as well! Owner of Woosnam And Davies News, & The Store Cupboard.

I’ve been in retail for 40+ years. I pride myself on community focus approach and have won many awards due to this (I’m always the crazy Welsh lady talking about all things retail & how you should shop local at the events & on her social media). She's been involved in many organisations in the town over the years also a town councillor and am always looking for ways we can help small businesses. Woosnam and Davies is a local newsagents/Aladdin’s cave of everything - I always say if we don’t sell it, we probably know somewhere that does! The Store Cupboard is a low/zero waste shop looking to help people be as sustainable as possible with toiletry, cleaning and food refills.

She is always looking for ways to be more sustainable & her thinking outside the box approach has seen her introduced many solutions to this.

I’m completely community focused and do everything I can to fundraise and give back to the community that has supported me and my family. ‌