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John Herbert to speak at GCA conference

Published: 19 November 2015
The General Secretary of both the DIY-Retail Association (EDRA) and the Global Home Improvement Network (GHIN), John Herbert will fly in from Germany to speak at the Garden Centre Association's (GCA) golden jubilee event in January
John Herbert to speak at GCA conference
Mr Herbert said of his appearance: "I will be presenting on topics based on my lifetime experience in retailing and my presentation to delegates will be entitled: 'The huge difference - dedicated employees'.

"I will go through why some retailers are successful and others are not. How inspirational leadership can make the difference and where the family-owned business has a huge advantage over other retail conglomerates.

"I speak from personal experience having enjoyed managing a family business, Knauber, which was voted one of the best stores in the world by a USA leading trade magazine and then having worked in the world's fourth largest retailer, Home Depot EXPO Design Centre, as President, West Coast USA."

Mr Herbertt boasts a huge amount of experience in and knowledge of the retail sector. As part of his current role, Mr Herbert visits retailers all over the world and has been doing so for more than a decade, on average 35 times a year.

In his talk at the GCA conference, he plans to touch on how the internet will continue to effect shopping habits and what the stores of the future look like. He added: "In my opinion there are huge advantages for garden centres going forward."

The GCA's annual conference will be held at The Grand Hotel in Brighton from January 24 until 27, 2016. More than 300 delegates are expected to attend the event.

GCA chief executive Iain Wylie commented: "We're really looking forward to hearing what John has to say. He has a wealth of knowledge, having started his retail career as a trainee in retailing in York, shortly before his 15th birthday, almost 60 years ago."

Mr Herbert joined the army in 1962 and in 1965 joined NAAFI Germany as a trainee store manager, leaving as district manager in 1975. During this time, he was awarded the Queen's Commission. Mr Herbert then joined German Hypermarkets and, in 1977, was appointed director of Sainsburys/BHS first SavaCentre Hypermarket in Washington, which at the time was on the first of its kind in the UK.

In 1983, he joined Knauber as CEO and, in 2000, was appointed divisional president of the Home Depot EXPO for the West Coast USA.

By 2002 Mr Herbert was the managing director of the BHB, the German DIY Retail Association, and just two years later he took over the recently formed European DIY Retail Association EDRA, which became an independent Association in 2009.

He later founded the Global Home improvement Network, which became an independent association in 2015.

Mr Wylie added: "Today, John is the General Secretary of both the EDRA and GHIN with 127 of the largest home improvement retail companies from around the world as members operating in 99 countries with over 22,000 stores and members sales in excess of $250 billion."

To book a place at the conference and hear Mr Herbert speak on January 25, visit the members' area on the GCA website via

For further information call 0118 930 8918 of follow GCA on Twitter at


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