Retail allows people to dream, Lew says

Australian retail veteran Solomon Lew has told the world’s retailers that their vocation not only fulfils needs but allows people to dream.

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Mr Lew became the first Australian to be inducted into the World Retail Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

During his acceptance speech at the 2016 World Retail Congress in Dubai, he waxed lyrical about what retail does for people.

“I believe retail to be a very special and important vocation,” he said.

“We fulfil people’s basic needs and also enable people to aspire and to dream.

“And, a strong retail industry is the lifeblood of a strong economy and society.”

Mr Lew paid tribute to the many collaborators behind his successful retail empire, which includes colourful children’s stationery chain Smiggle and designer sleepwear brand Peter Alexander.

Mr Lew said his companies’ senior managers valued what he calls an MWA (Management by Walking Around) over an MBA (a business degree).

“Hard to do in an online virtual store – but the concept of being close to the business and understanding how things really work as distinct from how they should work must never be lost,” he said.

He said he was also proud of his three adult children who have also become accomplished and successful retailers.

American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and British perfume entrepreneur Jo Malone, were also added to the hall of fame this year.

The hall of fame is an honoury rollcall unveiled during the World Retail Congress each year which has a different host city every year.

Zara founder Amancio Ortega, British designer Sir Paul Smith and Uniqlo’s Tadashi Yanai are among the many famous and wealthy entrepreneurs already inducted.