Summer School of the Drapers Chamber of Trade | OSS Retail Academy

Countdown to the 90th OSS Academy!

OSS Academy | 17th – 23rd August 2019 | Keble College, Oxford

In 1923, the iconic Wembley Stadium opened to the public, the Republic of Turkey was established, Warner Brothers was incorporated and OSS Academy opened its doors for the first time. The then titled ‘Summer School of the Drapers Chamber of Trade’ was officially opened by Tom Basson, Mayor of Oxford on Thursday 16th August 1923 at a reception at the Town Hall. We’re therefore delighted that on Saturday 17th August 2019, OSS Retail Managing Director, Dominic Prendergast is set to open the landmark 90th Academy Programme at Keble College.

OSS Retail was originally founded by the Drapers Chamber of Trade after they identified a lack of retail specific development for the industry’s talented leaders. The Chamber Members were concerned that talented leaders were being lost to other industries such as manufacturing, construction and finance. In order to protect and strengthen the retail industry they sought to create the highest quality development programme for the most talented leaders.

To ensure its strength the Chamber enlisted the support of top retail leaders and industry speakers to help shape the programme and create a unique opportunity developed by retailers for retailers.

OSS Retail Academy 2018

This focus has remained true as we create the conditions for our delegates to be at their best and to stretch their talents in a challenging work programme which is facilitated and coached by senior retail leaders. Our aim is to challenge their thinking and inspire them to manage the change they’ll see throughout their leadership careers.

Since 1923 we have welcomed over 20,000 delegates and for our 90th year we’ve added a key focus on wellbeing through the week and evolved the legendary ‘business exercise’ into the new ‘omnichannel exercise’. We challenge our delegates to produce a complete business strategy for a new retail business which will include a brand and customer proposition, profitable merchandise plans, a people and wellbeing strategy and finally a 5 year Financial proposal…..all in 8 hours! This tests the delegates agility and strategic approach, bringing together the leadership learnings from the week and putting them into practice.

We’ve also added an interactive Q&A with two former delegates who are now senior leaders at pure play retailers Thread and The Protein Works™respectively.

View the 90th OSS Academy speakers.

If you’re interested in finding more about the OSS Academy (17th – 23rd August 2019) and would like to attend one of our visitor sessions please contact Terry Lees on

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