After a quiet first couple of hours, giving a sense of opening night at the theatre, the BCSC conference has got off to a fantastic start with a busy first day.

The two big questions being asked are ‘what’s next in the retail development pipeline?’ and ‘what on earth are the police doing with fire extinguishers and bottles of beer outside the conference centre?!’

It’s been great to see so many retailers visiting our stand and it seems BCSC have got it spot on with the theme ‘evolve: time to think differently’ if the discussions going on about how to do things differently are anything to go by.

The retailer stands offer something  for every appetite especially ‘food store corner’ where Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, The Co-Op and Morrisons are all going strong with their stands.

Interesting to see the different treats being offered by the stands this year, there’s literally something for everyone with Asda handing out doughnuts, Morrisons decorating their stand with fresh vegetables and Poundland lining the walls with boxes of chocolates!

One trend we’ve noticed already is the number of towns taking the initiative to come along to BCSC and exhibit. Northwich, Daventry, Peterborough, Newport, Woking, Tallaght, Guildford, Stoke, Scunthorpe, Evesham, Coventry and Warwickshire all getting in on the action.

We see this as the start of a new trend for the future with towns developing their brand rather than relying solely on developers, lets watch this space and see how many are here next year! The Realis/ City Sentral stand being a great example of town centre promotion.

We’ve embraced all things digital on the C&W stand this year with a social media display giving the latest updates on BCSC and the retail industry from Twitter, intriguing to see the human side of the conference with everything being tweeted from people’s journeys to Manchester and rumours of celebrity appearances from Vanilla Ice and CBeebies!

The QR codes issued by BCSC in the show guide are a great step forward too and it makes us wonder what technology will be in use at future BCSC conferences and indeed in the shopping centres of the future.

Welcome party starting in a minute, everyone in the mood to party and do some business.