Introducing the panel for LDC's 4th Retail and Leisure Openings & Closures Drinks Reception

March 16, 2015

Our 4th Retail and Leisure Openings & Closures Drinks Reception is only a few days away. With our panel confirmed we wanted to share their bio's with you. Feel free to find out more about each panellist below:

Chair - Samantha Fenwick – Reporter at The BBC



Samantha Fenwick is a reporter with You and Yours - radio 4's consumer programme with a specilism in retail and issues affecting the high street. Earlier this year she visited all of the first 12 Portas pilot towns reporting on the impact the Government grants were having. Samantha has been a journalist with the BBC for 15 years. She started in local radio before moving to Radio 4. For seven years she was a producer of Radio 4's flagship investigative programme, File on 4. While working on the programme she won an Amnesty award for an investigation into honour killing as well a bronze Sony Radio Award.


Keynote - Matthew Hopkinson – Director at Local Data Company



In 2009 Matthew joined Local Data Company (LDC) as its first ‘non-founding’ Director. At LDC Matthew has led the growth of the company’s revenues to 52% (CAGR – 5 years) along with developing the data insight and collection side of the business, which has resulted in winning high profile clients such as the John Lewis Partnership, HSBC, Facebook, Alliance Boots, Tesco, PwC, O2, Henderson Global Investors and Experian. Most recently he has pioneered the delivery of Data Visualisation and Aggregation into the retail and leisure sectors. He has undertaken joint research in all aspects of the retail and leisure market with leading universities including Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Loughborough, Stirling, Manchester and Cardiff. He is the recognized expert on all matters regarding the ‘High Street’ and ‘UK retailing’. His reports and commentary regularly appear in the national, local and industry press. He is also a regular contributor to the BBC (TV & radio), Sky, ITV and Bloomberg news outlets. Matthew was part of the team that wrote the ‘Alternative future of the High Street’, which was led by Bill Grimsey in September 2013. He regularly tweets on @matthehopkinson and blogs at


Panellist - Mathew Ditchburn - Partner at Hogan Lovells LLP



Mathew is a Partner in Hogan Lovells’ Real Estate Disputes team, providing wide-ranging advice on all aspects of property litigation. He has particular expertise in insolvency matters, acting for lenders, insolvency practitioners, corporates and landlords. Recent experience includes representing Ernst & Young as administrators of the Luminar nightclub chain and KPMG in relation to retailers Peacocks and Bon Marche. He has also advised landlords on high profile insolvencies including Stylo Barratt, Comet, Game and HMV. He is a member of the British Property Federation’s Insolvency Working Party and an associate member of R3 (the association of insolvency professionals). Mathew's other specialisms include commercial landlord and tenant and development disputes, with clients including Prudential, Barclays and Russell & Bromley. He regularly acts for lenders in claims against negligent valuers, and recently represented a major UK bank in multi-million pound proceedings arising out of mortgage fraud. He is a member of the Property Litigation Association's Law Reform Committee. Chambers and Partners recommend Mathew as a key individual in real estate litigation and the Legal 500 directory praises him for his "unflappable" approach. He is a regular contributor to the real estate and insolvency press and speaker at industry conferences.


Panellist - Michael Weedon – Director at British Independents Retail Association



Michael Weedon recognised very early in the life of the LDC that its huge and frequently updated database brought something new and unique to the economic and political landscape of Britain - like an MRI scanner for commerce. He continues to advocate data-driven government, just the way that big business operates. Michael is a trade association director, publisher, commentator and lobbyist - so he relies on LDC to be sure he knows what he is talking about.


Panellist - Allan Lockhart - Property Director at NewRiver Retail


Allan Lockhart is Property Director at NewRiver Retail, one of UK’s largest owner/managers of shopping centres. A leading and specialist REIT, NewRiver Retail focuses on UK food and value retail with a £813 million portfolio comprising 29 shopping centres and further nationwide high street and retail warehouse assets. Allan has over 26 years of retail property experience since beginning his career at Strutt & Parker in 1988 through to his appointment as Retail Director at Halladale in 2002 before co-founding NewRiver Retail in 2009. Allan has been responsible for the acquisition and asset management strategies of over 70 shopping centres as well the acquisition and completion of several profitable retail developments.


Panellist - Nick Young – Director of Estate Strategy at Mitchells & Butlers



Nick is Director of Estate Strategy at Mitchells & Butlers. He has over twenty five years experience in the leisure sector in acquisitions, estate strategy, location planning and operations. Mitchells & Butlers is a leading operator of restaurants and pubs with more than 1,700 businesses throughout the UK. Its portfolio of brands includes Harvester, Toby Carvery, Miller & Carter, Vintage Inns, All Bar One, Browns, Nicholsons and Ember Inns. Over the last ten years Nick has played a number of key roles in acquiring and developing Mitchells & Butlers property portfolio. This has included the acquisition of both individual sites as well as several sizeable portfolios of pubs and restaurants and converting them to Mitchells & Butlers’ brands.


You can register fo the Drinks Reception by clicking here.



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