Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Rt 2012 lr[2]
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Rt 2012 lr[2]

1,061

Published on

Published in: Business, Career
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
1,061
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
1
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Starting out in retail Retailers that worked their way up the career ladder The ‘workfare’ debate How the work experience controversy affected retail It’s a family affair Why family run businesses stand out from the crowd Promoting skills development in retailIssue10 2012 The rise of retail The retail sector shines as it joins the professional ranks In association with
  • 2. Jobs you want from the name you trust. Visit the new RetailWeekjobs.com today. A new range of retail jobs to fit your career The new RetailWeekjobs.com, the fastest way to find and apply for your next retail job. • More jobs than ever before – All levels, from sales assistants to senior directors • Get the best jobs first – Set up email alerts instantly and get the roles you want direct to your inbox • Simple application process – Apply for jobs in seconds • Go mobile – Not at a computer? Visit m.retailweekjobs. com. Fully optimised, giving you the fastest way to find a job on the go
  • 3. Contents Editor Joanna Perry Writers Gemma Goldfingle, Liz Morrell Production Editor Tracey Gardner Design forty6 design Ltd Publisher Tracey Davies For NSA for Retail Director of Marketing and Communications Kerry Burgess-Ayala Kerry.Burgess-Ayala@nsafortretail.com T +44 (0)7795 962 447 © Retail Week All material is strictly copyright and all rights were reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of Retail Week is strictly forbidden. The greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information in this magazine at the time of going to press, but we accept no responsibility for omissions or errors. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of Retail Week or Skillsmart Retail. Retail Therapy is printed by Headley Brothers Ltd. Ashford, Kent 4 Landscape International retailers flock to the UK; how independents can benefit from the Retail Apprenticeship Scheme; part-time work boosts retail employment; and we report on the latest Independents’ Day 14 Debate While the controversy over work experience schemes has died down, Retail Therapy discovers the effect it has had on retailers and jobseekers 20 In-depth The retail sector is often associated with low skilled and low paid work so professionalising it is crucial to the industry’s future success 25 People: Interview B&Q’s Joanna Robb explains how she is making her way up the multichannel retail career ladder 27 People: First jobs Six high-profile retailers share their experiences of how much they have achieved since their first job in the retail industry 30 Real life: Meet the Team Pets at Home has opened a new flagship store in Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh, where each employee has specialist skills 32 People: Family retailers We find out how some of the UK’s family-run retailers differentiate themselves from their competitors 34 Diary Dates for your calendar Jane Rexworthy, head of the National Skills Academy for Retail Welcome to the National Skills Academy for Retail’s magazine, Retail Therapy.With a network of more than 50 skills shops across the UK, the NSA for Retail has a truly nationwide offer.We have come a long way since we launched in April 2009 with just 18 skills shops. The services the skills shops have to offer, from careers advice and guidance, to bespoke training courses and qualifications, are more and more in demand. While recent reports have shown that the number of roles in retail has grown in 2012, the high staff turnover (about 40%) that has previously characterised the sector has dropped to 17.5% as people stay put in their roles. Fewer vacancies mean that ensuring your skills are the best they can be is ever more important in today’s retail jobs market. Candidates need to make themselves more attractive to employers through gaining additional skills and qualifications. The NSA for Retail’s network of skills shops can advise those working or looking to work in retail and offers a range of training courses, from pre-employment training and Apprenticeships to customer service. People are also considering setting up their own business and we examine some successful, family-run, independent retailers in this issue. The NSA for Retail also provides support for such entrepreneurs, with business courses in finance and business planning, marketing, buying and visual merchandising as well as support from experienced mentors. In this issue we also look at how both businesses and individuals have benefited from the many services the network has to offer, as well as how some of retail’s high fliers have carved out their paths to the top of a profession in which everyone has a real chance to shine. Foreword Contents 32 12 Issue 10 2012 3www.nsaforretail.com 14 Debate While the controversy over work experience schemes has died down, Retail Therapy discoversRetail Therapy discoversRetail Therapy the effect it has had on retailers and jobseekers 20 In-depth The retail sector is often associated with low skilled and low paid work so professionalising it is crucial to the industry’s future achieved since their first job in the retail industry 30 Real life: Meet the Team Pets at Home has opened a new flagship store in Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh, where each employee has specialist skills 32 People: Family retailers We find out how some of the UK’s family-run retailers differentiate themselves from their competitors 34 Diary Dates for your calendar 30 5
  • 4. 4 www.nsaforretail.com Landscape The National Skills Academy for Retail has committed to support towns and high streets that want to improve their retail offer. The health of the country’s town centres and high streets has come under scrutiny in the past year as many have suffered during the recession. The Government – working with TV star Mary Portas – has committed £1.2m in funding and a package of support to 12 areas to help rejuvenate their town centres. The NSA for Retail wants to make similar support available to all areas where local businesses and the authorities hope to improve and revitalise. Jane Rexworthy, head of the NSA for Retail, has already given two presentations in areas where the two bodies hope to deliver more training and support. The packed sessions in Liverpool and Stratford in London gave local retailers and The number of jobs in retail has grown in 2012, and retailers have also reported they are more posi- tive on the prospects of creating additional jobs this year. In the first three months of 2012, retail employment rose by 0.4% compared with the same quarter a year earlier, according to the BRC- Bond Pearce Retail Employment Monitor. This is the equivalent of an additional 3,011 full-time jobs. During April to June, the number of equivalent full-time jobs grew by 1.8%. other interested parties informa- tion on how the organisations can help to build more profitable and thriving retail sectors in their local area. The return to growth follows a period in 2011 when retail employ- ment decreased slightly. Although the BRC cautions that this upturn in the number of retail jobs is frag- ile due to the state of the economy, its measure of employment inten- tions became much more positive during early 2012. It reports that employment intentions improved significantly in the first half of 2012 compared with the same quarter last year. Business law firm Bond Pearce’s head of retail employment, Chris- Towns and high streets urged to invest in skills to thrive Rexworthy said: “There is a huge amount of work going on to revitalise high streets. But to do that you need skills and the right people to provide great customer service, as well as the right prod- ucts, well merchandised at the right time.” She continued: “We’ve recently launched our Retail Mentor scheme, which allows highly regarded retailers to come in and mentor high streets and town centres. Or we can provide packages such as our WorldHost customer service training. “Each location will have a different need, and we can pack- age the offer from a whole menu of support options.” tina Tolvas-Vincent,said:“This rise in retail employment year on year, in a quarter which has seen several well-publicised failures by retailers, presents a polarised view of the sector. There is a stark divide between those who are surviving and even growing and those that have become casualties of the market. The positive change in attitude towards staffing levels by retailers also reflects a trend for cautious optimism among those who are finding their feet in the current economic climate.” The NSA for Retail has a menu of training options – delivered through its national network of skills shops – that can be tailored to the needs of a local area. Retail employment intentions significantly improve NSA for Retail’s Jane Rexworthy gave presentations in areas that need support Those interested in hearing about the support available, contact tracy.duggan@nsaforretail.com. Details of local skills shops can be found at www.nsaforretail.com 15,659 Additional full-time jobs in the first half of 2012 compared with last year
  • 5. 5www.nsaforretail.com Issue 10 2012 International retailers opening new stores in the UK are providing many new job opportunities in the sector, particularly at store level. Names to have recently opened or be expanding in the UK include US fashion brands Forever 21, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gilly Hicks and Urban Outfitters. US sports brand Foot Locker also opened the first store of its new fascia, The Locker Room, in January 2012 at Brent Cross in London. Swedish fashion brand J Linde- berg is on the hunt for its first UK store and French fashion brand Chanel has opened a pop-up beauty store in Covent Garden. US fashion brand J Crew is also plan- ning London store openings. Manufacturers are using the UK – and particularly London – as a location to develop stores to promote their brand and engage with their customers directly. Japanese sportswear and running brand Asics opened its largest UK store to date in London in July this year, while Swiss coffee machine and capsule supplier Nespresso opened its first stan- dalone London flagship in the same month. And earlier this year, US leather goods brand Coach opened a London flagship on Regent Street. International retailers expand in the UK Gold standard Olympic initiative readies Dorothy Perkins’ staff International retailers The Locker Room and Nespresso opened in the UK this year Dorothy Perkins has revealed it prepared staff for the Olympics using a training course originally devised for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. The Arcadia Group retailer used the WorldHost programme to ready staff for an influx of shoppers at its London stores. Dorothy Perkins’ staff at stores in Westfield Stratford City, Stratford High Street, West One Bond Street, Marble Arch and Tottenham Court Road were trained in‘gold standard’customer services ahead of the Games. Nearly one million people have now been trained using World- Host in more than 20 countries worldwide. The National Skills Academy for Retail adapted the programme for UK retailers. It offers three different retail- specific programmes: The Princi- ples of Customer Service, Sales Powered By Service and Frontline Management Solutions. Dorothy Perkins senior learn- ing and development manager Paul Richens said: “The World- Host customer service training our staff have undergone means we will be offering gold standard customer service to go above and beyond our customers’ high expectations.” Young people not in employment, education or training will get the chance to run a high street pop-up store in a scheme launched by Retail Trust in conjunction with volun- teering charity vInspired. Those taking part, aged 16 to 25, will benefit from a 12-week skills development and volunteer- ing programme called Retail Ready People at one of 10 high street loca- tions between 2012 and 2014. Brighton and Hove City and the London Borough of Enfield are the first two locations this year. The National Skills Academy for Retail will offer training to support the programme through its skills shops. There will be 30 volunteers per location, who will take part in a series of training workshops before transforming empty shops into creative retail spaces. Terry Ryall, chief executive of vInspired, said: “Retail Ready People will create important opportunities for unemployed young people to become retail ready and make a positive differ- ence in local communities.” Retail Trust chief executive Nigel J L Rothband said the retailers taking part in the scheme will benefit through their staff’s development, giving them “new skills, confidence and the opportunity to bring those new skills back to your business”. Pop-up shops inspire new retail talent
  • 6. Better homes, better lives, better careers. Becoming Europe’s leading DIY home improvement retailer doesn’t “just happen”. It’s part of a bigger plan... a higher ambition. We have designs on helping people create homes to be proud of. Whether customers are trade professionals or enthusiastic amateurs, we believe in providing them with a first class customer experience, really helpful advice and great value for money. People are at the heart of what we do and it’s by developing good people that helped us become a great company. We believe in investing in people and their careers. We’re proud that many of our employees develop new skills and grow their careers within our company. It’s our policy to promote from within and develop existing teams, all of which creates the unique B&Q culture within which we all thrive. There are always new and exciting opportunities across all areas of our business. So whatever your passion, we’re bound to have the right job for you. At present we’re currently recruiting for Design Consultants nationwide. Our Design Consultants are responsible for creating inspirational designs and delivering our vision of ‘better homes, better lives’. These roles are perfect for service driven individuals with a passion for helping people and offer on target earnings of up to £40k! Inspiring people to fulfil their potential is what we do best, whether it’s in the workplace or the home - and it’s no accident. At B&Q we’re better by design. To find out more about careers at B&Q, visit: diy.com/careers Better by Design
  • 7. Landscape Issue 10 2012 7www.nsaforretail.com Part-time roles are driving levels of employment in the retail sector in 2012. Half of all retail employees work part time, according to Skillsmart Retail. And the boost to retail jobs in the first six months of 2012 mainly came from new part-time roles, particularly by supermarket employers, said the British Retail Consortium. This is important to the health of the overall economy, as retail is the largest private sector employer in the UK. The Office of National Statistics data shows that females are more likely to work part time than their male counterparts in the sector. ONS data for January to March 2012 shows that those working in wholesale, retail and the repair of motor vehicles (the way the indus- Part-time work boosts total employment in retail sector  Asda  Kingfisher (B&Q)  Tesco  Sainsbury’s  Marks & Spencer  Boots  John Lewis Partnership  Co-operative Group  Home Retail Group  Aldi Major retailers offering graduate trainee schemes in 2012 include: Despite the current high youth unemployment rates, retail contin- ues to show leadership in providing jobs for young adults at all levels. Several big retailers have revital- ised their graduate schemes in the past year to take advantage of new opportunities to engage young people in junior management roles. In July 2012, Asda announced a fast-track graduate scheme to become a manager in one of its smaller 175 supermarkets in 12 months, to complement its two- year management graduate scheme. Asda’s graduate trainees will learn how to lead a team of up to 30 colleagues, before taking up a permanent position in a store. Asda people director Hayley Tatum said: “Our trainees will not only be given first-class training and be exposed to every element of the Asda business, but they will also quickly be making decisions that will make a real difference to thousands of customers every week.” And Kingfisher – which owns B&Q in the UK – launched an inter- national graduate scheme this summer to fast-track young talent into commercial roles within the organisation. The first intake will spend one year at B&Q and another year at the group’s French business, Brico Dépôt, working in product buying, category management and brand management roles. Department store John Lewis has also shown an interest in graduates as part of the 50-strong recruitment drive in its IT department, which has taken place to support the expansion of technology’s role in the business. Debenhams encour- ages graduates to apply for its store management training programme; and Tesco has offered 20 different graduate schemes for the 2012 intake including a store manage- Retail provides real rewards for graduates ment programme and distribution management programme. Majestic Wine chief executive Steve Lewis has even said one of the reasons his business has grown through the recession is that it prides itself on recruiting graduates and training them well, so they can offerknowledgeableproductadvice. Asda’s scheme fast tracks graduates to become a store manager in 12 months Men worked on average 35.1 hours per week Women worked on average 24.4 hours per week Average weekly earning of £308 in May 2012 try is grouped by the ONS) worked on average 30 hours a week. However, men worked on average 35.1 hours a week, and women worked 24.4 hours a week during that period. Meanwhile, the average weekly earning for those in wholesale, retail, hotels and restaurants was £308 in May this year, up from £300 a week in the same month last year.
  • 8. Landscape Issue 10 2012 8 www.nsaforretail.com The winners of the Skillsmart Retail RisingStars2012awards–organised by Retail Week – were announced in front of a packed crowd on September 5, 2012. The ceremony, held at Grosvenor House Hotel in central London, helps raise the profile of the sector’s future leaders as well as reward the hard work undertaken by staff in junior management positions. Shortlisted entrants travelled to London for the judging day in July, and were interviewed by a panel of experts (see right). After much debate, winners were decided, including the hotly contested overall prize for Rising Star of the Year. Skillsmart Retail would like to thank all of the judges, and congratulate those who were shortlisted, and entrants who went on to be highly commended and take each of the category prizes on the night. For more photos from the night, please visit www.retailweekrisingstars.co.uk The winners Buyer/Merchandiser of the Year Francesca Hewitt, New Look Online Individual of the Year Richard Johnston,Vodafone Store Support Manager of the Year Karl Steele, Ryman Marketing Team of the Year Christina Richardson, Claire Webber and Helen Buckle, A Suit That Fits HR/Training Individual of the Year Mairi Probin, Iceland Head Office Support Individual of the Year Joanne Dixon, Coast Customer Service Individual of the Year Claire Barron,Vodafone Store Manager of the Year - Midlands, Wales and Southwest Matt Fox, Pets at Home Store Manager of the Year - North of England Ian McEvans, Asda Store Manager of the Year - Scotland and Ireland Annie Campbell, Pets at Home Store Manager of the Year - Southeast and East Anglia Emma Taylor,Topshop Topman Area Manager of the Year Rachel Hornsby, Signet Skillsmart Retail Apprentice of the Year Jodie Donald, Next NSA for Retail Learner of the Year Rickie Strevens, Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe, Bluewater NSA for Retail Trainer of the Year Natalie Kay, Manchester Skills Shop NSA for Retail Ambassador of the Year Salina Gani, Paul UK Rising Star of the Year Francesca Hewitt, New Look The judges Sally Bailey, chief executive, White Stuff Liz Bell, group talent development director, Kingfisher Suzanne Burnett, HR business partner, Marks & Spencer Ryan Cheyne, people director, Pets at Home Michelle Dawson, community manager, Hammerson Sandra Dearling, head of training, Ryman Kara Groves, commercial director, Joules Andy Harding, director of ecommerce, House of Fraser Anna Lloyd, head of HR, New Look Nick McGlashan, apprenticeship manager,Tesco Neil Moss, head of business solutions, Skillsmart Retail Rebecca Murphy, director of human resources and marketing, Goulds Department Store Hamish Paton, commercial director, BrightHouse Dennis Reid, chairman, Retail Performance Specialists Nigel Rothband, chief executive, Retail Trust Lisa Templeton, head of HR, Signet Jessica Winwright, learning and development manager, BHS Nikki Zamblera, human resources director, Debenhams Retail’s next generation of talent in the spotlight New Look’s Francesca Hewitt (centre), with Retail Week’s Chris Brook-Carter (left) and comedian Chris Ramsey, was awarded the Rising Star of the Year accolade
  • 9. t 020 7550 5540 e careers@bloomretail.co.uk bloomretail.co.uk Use keywordsrelevant to whatyou want to do –let them see youspeak the lingo Ways to make yours a winner... Get a glowing CV Put your best foot forward BE HONEST THROUGHOUT!The interview will endpretty sharpish if theyrumble you and thinkyou’re blagging it! Be confident and SMILE! :-) Check for correct spelling and grammar – “retail is detail”! Be yourself! It’s important to not only answer the questions – dazzle them with your personality too. Research is key know some key facts about the business. Be sure to have visited at least one store, and studied the website. Create a SWOT analysis to go straight to the top of the class! Be early – but never by morethan 10 minutes.“Reception loitering” is a big faux pas. Keep it on-track...That babysitting when you were12, and the Saturday job at theflorists in 2007 are not of usein landing your dream job now,so chop it out.Don’t write long-winded cover letters – keep it short and relevant. And be sure to email your CV...snail mail is so not cool in 2012! Clear Layout • Use • Bullet • Points • Not • Lengthy • Paragraphs Nobody reads waffle How to nail that interview... Dress as if you already work there, reflecting the brand’s “look”. Keep it smart casual and FASHIONABLE. No suits, but no sloppy jeans either. And nothing too low-cut for the ladies please... Have a couple of questions toask at the end. Your develop-ment and training are goodtopics. Holiday entitlementand if you could leave earlyfor band practice (!) are notparticularly advised.
  • 10. Issue 10 2012 Landscape 10 www.nsaforretail.com Many of the largest businesses in the UK are reaping the benefits of having time and resources to set up and run Apprenticeship schemes each year. It gives them access to a pool of young talent committed to developing their skills and knowledge of the industry. And Apprenticeships are also being heavily backed by the Government as crucial to creating a committed and competent workforce in the UK. The National Apprenticeship Service points out that the mixture of on- and off-the-job training helps to ensure that apprentices learn the skills that are best suited, and of most use, to employers. Research by the University of Warwick Institute for Employment Research into the financial benefits of Apprenticeships found that programmes could be completed within a year,for a relative low cost, and retailers can expect a payback by the second year of the apprentice’s employment. However,for small independents taking on even a single apprentice can be a daunting task. In 2011, more than 11,000 retail Apprenticeships were completed in England alone, but despite accounting for 90% of retail businesses in the UK, very few of these apprentices were employed in independent shops.So the National Skills Academy for Retail has created the Retail Apprenticeship Scheme (RAS) to support such initiatives for retailers who employ fewer than 250 staff in England. Each apprentice is recruited, trained and employed by the Retail Apprenticeship Training Agency (RATA) to reduce the risk, cost and administrative burden on small retailers. In return, independent retailers must commit to providing a year’s job placement for a full- time role and pay a fee of about Apprentices for independents The Retail Apprenticeship Scheme has been created to make it simple for independent retailers to benefit from apprentices. Retail Therapy examines how the scheme works How the Retail Apprenticeship Scheme works One year placement of on-the-job training including 10 days of day release training begins RATA supports apprentice through monthly on-site assessment with the retailer Apprentice achieves a Level 2 Apprenticeship qualification after a year. Retailer has option to take on a fully trained employee £140 a week to cover agency and apprenticeship wage costs. The retailer should also provide a clear role and job description for the apprentice, and a supervisor or mentor for them while they complete their placement. The benefits of working with the agency include the possibility of a £1,500 grant to support independent retailers taking on an apprentice for the first time. In addition, as the apprentice is employed by RATA, then they commit to resolve any work- related problems while the apprentice is on their placement. Retailers will get support to ensure they recruit the right person. This extends to a promise that if the apprentice proves not to be suitable, or the retailer’s circumstances change, then the apprentice can be referred back to RATA and placed with another retailer. The first intake of apprentices began in September 2012 and involves independent retailers working with their local skills shop to select a suitable apprentice. To ensure that all candidates are work-ready, they undertake Skillsmart Retail’s Retail Works classroom-based, pre-employment programme. They further benefit from 10 one-day sessions throughout their one-year placement. At the end of the placement apprentices should have achieved the key numerical and communi- cation skills required to be a valuable retail employee, as well as a Level 2 Retail Apprenticeship qualification. Retailers that then want to take on their apprentice as staff are able to employ them without incurring recruitment costs and benefit from the year’s training they have already received. l Retailer places vacancy with RATA Offer position to successful interviewee RATA and retailer undertake selection process Apprentice undertakes Retail Works pre-employment programme for two weeks For more information please contact RAS on: E RAS@nsaforretail.com T 0844 264 0238
  • 11. Graduate Senior Team Manager Store Manager Regional Director Managing DirectorGraduate Senior Team Manager Store Manager Regional Director Managing DirectorGraduate Assistant Merchandiser, Home Merchandiser, Entertainment Merchandising Manager, Toys Head of Merchandising Merchandising Graduate Programme Our Commercial function is looking for graduates who would relish the chance to work in one of the UK’s most dynamic and constantly changing environments. Join us on our Merchandising Programme and you’ll be responsible for the large budgets of some of our fastest growing product areas from our general merchandise or fashion ranges. Working alongside the buying team you will deliver sales by ensuring that our products are in the right place, in the right quantity, at the right time. At Tesco we’re committed to developing your career from day one, because we know that to get where you want to go, every little helps. To apply for our Merchandising Graduate Programme, or to find out more about the other opportunities we offer, visit www.tesco-graduates.com
  • 12. Issue 10 2012 Landscape 12 www.nsaforretail.com Inspirational retailers and champion consumers rose to the challenge to make the second Independents’ Day a success. Created to highlight the impor- tance of diversity on the high street, and recognise the skills behind the shop fronts, the campaign encouraged everyone to buy at least one thing from a local independent store. Thousands of retailers took part in a huge range of activities including high street parties, shop- front barbecues, market stalls, street entertainment, product showcases, match-any-offer deals and customer discounts. Recent research from the National Skills Academy for Retail has revealed that consumers place a value on independent retailers too, with 51% of shoppers in the survey believing they receive a higher level of customer service from indies. Retailers in Bishopthorpe Road in York got together to organise a street party for the early evening on July 4. Bagel Boy in Bristol created an ‘Independent Boy’ bagel filled with bacon, tomato, cream cheese and guacamole. Meanwhile, Tamworth Market had a live music performance from duo Chloe and Barry Hunt. The Arcadia Delicates- sen in Lisburn, Belfast attracted a visit from the local Lord Mayor to its celebration. Proving that independent retail- ers can also thrive in even the biggest shopping centres, the MetroCentre in Gateshead backed the campaign to celebrate the inde- pendent retailers in the scheme. Meanwhile, fashion boutique Aurora in Dungannon, Northern Ireland offered 40% off its jewellery collection on the day. The indie scene Independents’ Day 2012 drew support from local retailers and consumers across the country to grow the impact of the event in its second year high streets, which can have an impact on the wider local economy. Jane Rexworthy,head of the NSA for Retail, said she was delighted to lead the campaign, as it raises awareness of the challenges smaller retailers face, as well as highlighting their importance to the local and national economy. There are estimated to be more than 171,000 independent retail businesses in the UK, and 91% of them employ fewer than 10 people. During 2011, more than 15,000 new independent stores opened, increasing the total number by 2.4%. The NSA for Retail survey also revealed that 42% of consumers choose to shop locally to boost businesses and 38% feel they are keeping local people in work. British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson added that the day should highlight the campaigns being undertaken to ensure high streets remain attractive to both retailers and consumers:“Successful high streets, where many independent retailers are based, are vital to local commu- nities and economies. “We continue to campaign for action to support them and all the retailers trading in them. That means keeping business rates and rents affordable and investing to make each town centre an attrac- tive place to visit, which is safe, welcoming and accessible.”● Wakefield-based indie Jam gave away a gift hamper to a customer after a Jubilee-themed prize draw. And fashion boutique The Dress- ing Room in St Albans took part in the celebration of independent retail, which also ran throughout July and proved that it wasn’t always necessary to offer discounts to bring customers into the store. The Dressing Room launched a competition, inviting consumers to tell them ‘Why do you shop Inde- pendent?’, with the best comment each week winning a prize. Offer- ing double loyalty points every Saturday throughout July also proved successful. The store’s owner,Deryane Tadd, said: “This had a fantastic effect, increasing footfall and boosting trade on Saturdays by 4% as a direct result of the promotion.” Behind the fun promotions there is a serious message. Consumers are being urged to use independent retailers or lose them from their Retailers were out in force to celebrate this year’s Independents’ Day on July 4 171,495 The number of independent retail businesses in the UK 91% of independent retailers employ fewer than 10 people For more pictures from the day, visit the Independents’ Day Facebook page at www. facebook.com/independentsday or follow on Twitter @Retail_IndieDay
  • 13. Find your local skills shop The National Skills Academy for Retail is a network of skills shops delivering training and business support across the UK North West Academy ONE, Liverpool 01516 501462 L1 3DN Cheshire Oaks Retail Academy 01513 559487 CH65 9JJ Cumbria skills shop 01228 822707 CA1 1HS Manchester skills shop 01616 117498 M20 2PQ Preston Retail skills shop 01772 225255 PR2 8UR Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire skills shop 01782 238492 ST4 1HH Trafford Retail skills shop 01619 524889 M32 0XH Warrington skills shop 01925 571105 WA1 1NN Wirral Retail skills shop 01515 517593 CH44 5TN North East Newcastle skills shop 01914 914175 NE1 7JB Sunderland skills shop 01914 914175 NE11 0SR Tees Valley skills shop 01914 914175 TS10 1DT Yorkshire and Humberside Leeds Retail Skills Academy 01132 162237 LS18 4QR The Source Lincolnshire, Hum- berside and the East Coast of Yorkshire 01142635600 S9 1EA The Source at Meadowhall 01142 635600 S9 1EA West Midlands Greater Birmingham skills shop 01216 787176 B91 3TA The Black Country skills shop 01384 344644 DY8 1QU East Midlands Derby Retail skills shop 03001 237890 DE1 2HR Futurestore, Nottingham skills shop 01159 415625 NG1 7LN Retail Skills Centre, Leicester 01162 625921 LE1 1FB South West Cheltenham and Gloucester 01633 674555 NP10 8FY Cornwall skills shop 0500 832300 NG11 6JZ Petroc Retail Skills 01271 338085 EX31 2BQ Retail skills shop Dorset 01202 205275 BH14 0LS Skills Centre South West 01173 122022 BS1 3LZ Swindon skills shop 01702 201070 SN2 2DY South East Brighton skills shop 01273 667788 ex 770 BN1 4FA Canterbury skills shop 01227 811113 CT1 3AJ Hampshire skills shop 07917 853678 PO6 2SA Skillscentre: Mk* 01908 398111 MK9 3ES Southampton skills shop 01590 625555 SO42 7ZE The Learning Shop, Bluewater 01322 624455 DA9 9SE London Heathrow Retail Academy 07843033255 TW6 2RQ South London skills shop 0208 2971132 SE13 5JX The Skills Place, Newham 020 8090 9719 E20 1EJ Uxbridge skills shop 01895 259854 UB8 1LH Wembley skills shop 0208 208 5420 HA9 0A9 West End skills shop 020 7208 1370 W1F 7LN Work Zone, Westfield London 020 8753 4693 W12 7SL East of England Bedfordshire skills shop 01582 569850 LU2 7BF Cambridgeshire skills shop 01702 201070 CB1 1PS North Essex Retail skills shop 01268 526924 SS14 1LL Norwich Retail Skills Academy 01603 773708 NR2 1SH South Essex skills shop 08455 212345 RM17 6TF Scotland Edinburgh skills shop 01315 573862 EH1 3SS Fife skills shop 01592 223300 KYI IEX Grampian skills shop (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) 07736 367964 AB11 6GY West Lothian skills shop 01506 427955 EH54 7EP Northern Ireland Greater Belfast Retail skills shop 028 9127 6781 BT20 4TD North West Retail skills shop NI 028 7127 6195 BT48 7AL Southern Retail skills shop NI 028 3025 9664 BT35 8DN Wales Acorn People 01633 674555 NP10 8FY Cardiff and Vale skills shop 02920 406509 CF24 3AD Coleg Llandrillo Retail skills shop 01745 345823 LL18 2HG * An approved specialist. Only provides some of the National Skills Academy for Retail offer For more information about skills shops, please visit www.nsaforretail.com
  • 14. 14 www.nsaforretail.com Debate N ewspaper articles describ- ing work experience place- ments for jobseekers as “workfare”, with terms such as “exploitation” and “slave labour” also being bandied about, shook the retail industry in spring 2012. Many retailers had been involved in the Govern- ment-backed Work Experience scheme, offering those under 25 on jobseeker’s allowance a six-week placement; with the idea of giving them enough skills and experience of work in that time to demonstrate their ability to do a job. It began with a Work Experience placement being incorrectly advertised as a job by Jobcentre Plus. Campaign group Right To Work took exception to the scheme being unpaid, and the possibility that those who took part might lose their benefits if they chose to take part in the scheme for longer than a week before pulling out. Retailers were pulled into the argument, and many quickly suspended or ended their involvement in the scheme as they sought to divert attention away from themselves. Six months later we want to examine what the longer-term effects of the critical media coverage have been, and whether it has reduced opportunities for jobseekers to be helped back into work by retailers. Positive prospects Skillsmart Retail chief executive Anne Seaman spoke up for retailers and their track record in helping people into employment at the time of the contro- versy. Six months later she is just as passionate about the issue, and says she doesn’t feel it has stopped retailers from offering work experience placements, though they may be going more under the radar. “Policymakers don’t understand business, you can’t just switch programmes on and off overnight that might have taken many months to set up,” she explains. Much was made of the fact that the programme didn’t pay, but as those joining were on benefits the only full-time work they could undertake was unpaid. Seaman says it is a shame the benefits system is not flexible enough to allow people to take steps into work while still being financially supported to some degree. However, as it stands, she says: “If someone is on benefits and that would be affected by being paid then it is perfectly legitimate to offer unpaid work experience. Your chances of getting a full-time job that would make it worth moving off benefits signifi- cantly improve with the work experience.” She believes that the idea retailers would join work experience schemes just to get free short-term labour for free is ridiculous. “Big companies are not just going to take anyone. They want to take people that they can train, recruit and keep.” The results of an ICM consumer poll from the time strongly support Seaman’s views, and show that the general public felt there was a reasonable chance for jobseekers to gain paid employment off the back of a work experience placement (see box). Experience for all At the time, Boots and Poundland said they were pulling out of the programme, and others including Maplin, Argos and Superdrug suspended their involvement. Tesco created a new scheme to sit alongside Work Experience, offering four weeks’ paid work experience followed by a job interview. A Tesco spokesperson explains to Retail Therapy: “We know that being unemployed at an early age can be particularly damaging, so we’re involved in a number of initiatives to help young people gain employability skills, get experience of working and ultimately find jobs. “In February, we decided to give people who wanted to do work experience with Tesco a choice. They could either remain on benefits within the Government work placement scheme, or be paid by Tesco, at the same rate as our other new starters get, with the guarantee of a job at the end if the place- ment goes well.” Sainsbury’s was never part of the official Work Experience scheme, yet its chief executive Justin King felt moved to speak out on the issue. Its stance has Most of us in work today had invaluable work experience in the early part of our working lives – this should not be denied to others Justin King, Sainsbury’s The controversy over work experience schemes has now subsided. Joanna Perry finds out what the fall-out has been for retailers and jobseekers Whatever happened about ‘workfare’?
  • 15. 15www.nsaforretail.com Issue 10 2012 been unchanged by hindsight, and Sainsbury’s refers us back to King’s comments from the time, which stressed that while not all work experience place- ments are necessarily equal, businesses such as his have much to offer through decent and fair schemes. Sainsbury’s has run its own work trial programme ‘You Can’ since 2008, for people who have previously faced significant barriers to finding work, including young people, the long-term unemployed or those with learning difficulties. The voluntary work trials of up to three weeks are always attached to a real job if the trial is successful. Sainsbury’s employed 4,300 people through the scheme in 2011, and says it has created a total of 12,000 job opportunities through its schemes since 2008. King implored: “Most of us in work today had invaluable work experience in the early part of our working lives – this should not be denied to others.” Further proof that retailers want to employ people that complete work placements with them comes from the success of the graduates of the Fashion Retail Academy. It encourages its students to take on work placements as an integral part of all its courses. In the 2011/12 academic year the academy secured 704 student placements, and 69% have been offered a job through the company that provided their placement. On their graduation day, 68% of students from the Level 4 Buying and Merchandising and Visual Merchandising courses had secured jobs. 83% of students who completed the Higher Educa- tion certificate in Fashion Merchandising have secured merchandise administrative assistant roles. Attention on Apprenticeships Tesco was the retailer that initially took much of the flak for the Work Experience scheme. However, Seaman says the retailer is doing much work with the young: “Tesco is growing the Apprenticeship schemes across a range of areas, as now it has a scalable model. It wants to bring young people into its business.” She adds that retailers can’t afford to keep reacting to the headlines, and shouldn’t be scared off similar initiatives. The Tesco spokesperson adds: “We are already the country’s largest private sector employer of The retail sector employs 10.5%of the UK workforce The public’s verdict Despite negative press for the Work Experience scheme, an ICM consumer poll conducted for Retail Week showed the public was overwhelmingly in favour of retailers offering placements to the unemployed. Some 73% said retailers should participate in Government work experi- ence schemes, 25% believed schemes could strongly boost the chances of an unemployed person finding a job, and a further 48% thought it might help. Only 22% said it wouldn’t help a jobseeker find employment.
  • 16. Debate Issue 10 2012 16 www.nsaforretail.com young people with 70,000 – almost a quarter of our workforce – under 25. Tesco offers young colleagues a chance to start a career, learning new skills at every level through our Apprenticeships, school leaver and graduate training programmes, and foundation degrees.” In the next two years, Tesco will offer 10,000 places on Apprenticeship schemes. Seaman believes that many larger retailers have focused their attention on Apprenticeships in the wake of the workfare argument. She explains: “We don’t have specific evidence yet, but we are speaking to senior people in retail who are focused on Apprenticeships and more structured programmes.” Waitrose launched a year-long Apprenticeship scheme in September 2012 – and has pledged to provide three Apprenticeship places in every new, large store it opens. Skillsmart Retail will issue 17,000 Apprenticeship certificates this year, up from about 14,000 last year. While Seaman admits that Apprenticeships have had some bad press, she says retailers can’t afford to have spare bodies on the shopfloor, and so those thinking about an Apprenticeship in the sector need not worry that they won’t be doing a ‘real’ job. She says: “In no time at all they are an essential part of the team. They are dropped in at the deep end and get on with it. For instance, they come back and tell us that they are quickly leading small teams within stores.” The National Skills Academy for Retail is looking at a pre-Apprenticeship programme as Seaman says “often young people aren’t well prepared for work”. Head of the NSA for Retail Jane Rexworthy says in addition to its pre-employment programme, it is now exploring the idea of a pre-Apprenticeship programme too. To highlight why this is necessary she gives the example of a retailer offering a programme that allows apprentices to train to be managers within the business. She says the retailer “had over 8,000 applications for 350 positions, and in Scotland had 1,400 applications for just under 30 positions”. She adds: “In the sifting process, many of the indi- viduals were not really work-ready. They needed support, training and development to get to the point where they could begin an Apprenticeship.” They also already have their Retail Works programme, though Seaman says it is hard to make this joined up, with individual skills shops working with whichever local organisations are prepared to get involved, such as colleges and Jobcentre Plus. Intern issue Justin King’s point about how people at all levels of retail have often undertaken work experience in order to get their foot in the door remains just as true for new management trainee recruits as it does for store staff. Aldi is one of many retailers that likes to see work experience on a new recruit’s CV, even for graduate positions. Speaking about its latest graduate programme, Aldi’s head of graduate recruitment, Richard Holloway, said: “We’re looking for outstand- ing candidates who can offer something beyond academic achievements. Strong personalities, work experience, hobbies and leading teams at university are key strengths that we have identified.” In fact, many graduates keen to get into different sectors are finding that unpaid internships are the only way to add experience to their CVs. On the subject of internships, Seaman believes retailers also try to be fair. “It may not be the best paid industry [in which to be an intern], but I believe that interns should be paid.” Arcadia has retrospectively paid dozens of interns who worked in the PR department at its head office up to a year after their placements ended. The retailer said the cheques had been sent out after an internal review of intern placements. And Kingfisher was also advertising a three-month paid internship in internal communications on a graduate jobsite for summer 2012. The issue of whether these longer placements should always be paid at minimum wage rates or better is likely to rumble on, with HMRC reported to have visited fashion houses to ensure all workers are paid what they are owed. Meanwhile, hopefully the arguments about work experience have been put to rest, and retailers can be confident that there is backing and support for those who want to offer placements and job trials to jobseekers as a stepping stone into employment. l School leavers heading for retail School leavers are being targeted as part of a new scheme by Tesco to help young people launch their retail career at its Hertfordshire head office. Tesco is offering paid jobs to young people, beginning with a two-year training programme, with roles in both its food and clothing buying or merchandising teams. For instance, successful applicants for the fashion roles will be given the opportunity to work on brands such as F&F, learning how to spot trends, source products and negotiate with suppliers. “Not everyone wants to go to university before they start working, and in a tough jobs market we want to help talented students looking to start their career straight from school, said head of commercial resourcing Justine Dinter. “We want to employ young people with a passion for retail who can spot trends and who can understand what our customers want.” The scheme will run alongside the existing store trainee management programme for school leavers and a further 19 graduate programmes already on offer. Tesco wants to bring young people into its business Anne Seaman, Skillsmart Retail
  • 17. Short Courses at the Fashion Retail Academy Why choose an FRA short course? At the FRA we offer a unique and varied programme of short courses related to careers in fashion retail and the fashion retail business. If you would like to develop new skills, pursue a particular passion, start your own business, or improve you career prospects there is a short course at the FRA for you. Courses are delivered in different formats depending on the subject, ranging from 3-day blocks or 1 week intensive, to the 6 week Advanced Course. Some of our courses are delivered in the evening as well as during the day to enable you to fit them around other commitments of work or study. Courses on Offer • Advanced Preparation for a Career in Fashion Retail • Introduction to Buying and Merchandising intensive • Introduction to Buying and Range Planning • Introduction to Merchandising • Introduction to Fashion PR and Marketing • Introduction to Visual Merchandising • Introduction to Fashion Styling FRA 15 Gresse Street London W1T 1QL T: 020 7307 2345 What to do next? For details of all FRA short courses, dates and how to apply, visit our website www.fashionretailacademy.ac.uk/ short-courses Apply online now!
  • 18. Retail Apprenti Need an extra pair of hands and a fresh pair of eyes to help take your retail business to the next level? Could you give a young person their first step on the career ladder? Would you like an easy solution to recruiting new, young and ambitious, retail-trained staff? Do you own a retail business? To find out more go to www.nsaforretail. Then the Retail Apprentice Apprenticeships are the best way of training, particularly the younger generation. Get the younger generation into your business and show them your way of working and if they are interested and enthusiastic they’ll take it on board and be so valuable to you as a company, that you’ll want to keep them. Helen Murray, Manager, Monica F Hewitt Florist, Meadowhall, Sheffield “ Through the Scheme you would: be provided with a shortlist of suitable candidates to interview and be given support at every step of the way take on an apprentice for a year (or be buddied up with another retailer if you can only manage part of the year) be provided with on-going support by the Retail Apprenticeship Training Agency which manages the Scheme pay the Agency from £140 per week - you may be entitled to a Government grant of £1500 if you have fewer than 1000 employees and have not taken on an apprentice in the last year get expert advice and guidance throughout the process from your local skills shop - experts in the retail sector ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ “ Retail Apprenti Need an extra pair of hands and a fresh pair of eyes to help take your retail business to the next level? Could you give a young person their first step on the career ladder? Would you like an easy solution to recruiting new, young and ambitious, retail-trained staff? Do you own a retail business? To find out more go to www.nsaforretail. Then the Retail Apprentice Apprenticeships are the best way of training, particularly the younger generation. Get the younger generation into your business and show them your way of working and if they are interested and enthusiastic they’ll take it on board and be so valuable to you as a company, that you’ll want to keep them. Helen Murray, Manager, Monica F Hewitt Florist, Meadowhall, Sheffield “ Through the Scheme you would: be provided with a shortlist of suitable candidates to interview and be given support at every step of the way take on an apprentice for a year (or be buddied up with another retailer if you can only manage part of the year) be provided with on-going support by the Retail Apprenticeship Training Agency which manages the Scheme pay the Agency from £140 per week - you may be entitled to a Government grant of £1500 if you have fewer than 1000 employees and have not taken on an apprentice in the last year get expert advice and guidance throughout the process from your local skills shop - experts in the retail sector ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ “
  • 19. iceship Scheme Do you want an amazing career in retail? Want to earn while you learn? Want to get qualified and get experience in the workplace? .com/ras or email ras@nsaforretail.com eship Scheme may be for you! I never really liked school and struggled working in a classroom, so when I was offered the opportunity to do an Apprenticeship, I thought it would be a great way to learn more and develop myself. Since starting my Apprenticeship I have become more confident. Before, I didn’t like speaking on the phone or to customers face-to-face because I was so shy but now I love speaking to people and helping them choose the perfect arrangement. April Bell, Apprentice, Monica F Hewitt Florist, Meadowhall, Sheffield “ Through the Scheme you can: get a foot on the career ladder and gain a year’s workplace experience in one or more retail businesses work in an area that interests you, such as sport, fashion or music benefit from two weeks’ retail training before you start then get further training through day release gain a nationally-recognised qualification be entitled to an NUS card and loads of great discounts! get training and on-going support from experts in retail through your local skills shop to help you throughout your Apprenticeship ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ Delivered exclusively by “ iceship Scheme Do you want an amazing career in retail? Want to earn while you learn? Want to get qualified and get experience in the workplace? .com/ras or email ras@nsaforretail.com eship Scheme may be for you! I never really liked school and struggled working in a classroom, so when I was offered the opportunity to do an Apprenticeship, I thought it would be a great way to learn more and develop myself. Since starting my Apprenticeship I have become more confident. Before, I didn’t like speaking on the phone or to customers face-to-face because I was so shy but now I love speaking to people and helping them choose the perfect arrangement. April Bell, Apprentice, Monica F Hewitt Florist, Meadowhall, Sheffield “ Through the Scheme you can: get a foot on the career ladder and gain a year’s workplace experience in one or more retail businesses work in an area that interests you, such as sport, fashion or music benefit from two weeks’ retail training before you start then get further training through day release gain a nationally-recognised qualification be entitled to an NUS card and loads of great discounts! get training and on-going support from experts in retail through your local skills shop to help you throughout your Apprenticeship ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ Delivered exclusively by “
  • 20. 20 www.nsaforretail.com In-depth W ith almost three mil- lion employed within retail businesses in the UK, most of us know someone in the indus- try even if we don’t directly work within it ourselves. Yet despite the many thousands of highly skilled senior management roles across a variety of areas, often in businesses that are internationally successful too, the sector is all too often associated with low skilled, low paid work. It is for this reason that the issue of professionalisa- tion of the sector has become much more high profile. British Retail Consortium (BRC) director of business Tom Ironside says there has been progress in recent years in highlighting the importance of retail, but among those who are not familiar with modern retail businesses do continue in the belief that retail jobs are not as valuable as others. The head of the National Skills Academy for Retail, Jane Rexworthy, says the size and diversity of skills in the sector mean that it is crucial to the country’s wider economic success. This point is strongly supported by the BRC. Its report, UK Retail: Leading Globally, Serving Locally highlights how important the sector is to the health of the overall economy. The retail sector employs 10.5% of the UK workforce, and is the largest private sector employer. The profitability of the UK’s retailers has wider implications as they pay £4bn a year in dividends, about 5% of the UK total. These payments not only go into the pockets of individual share owners but also to the many pension funds that hold retail shares. And the profitability of retail businesses can be directly impacted by staff being appropriately skilled. Putting the skilled roles within retail on the same footing as other sectors such as law or accountancy is crucial to the industry’s future success A professional approach
  • 21. 21www.nsaforretail.com Issue 10 2012 Of the graduates going into management positions each year, more than 30% go into management positions in retail Jane Rexworthy, National Skills Academy for Retail Ironside says: “The link between skills and productivity is extremely important. The evidence suggests that UK retailers are becoming more productive compared with their European counter- parts. And they need to remain as productive and competitive as they can be.” Global competition But why the focus on professionalising the sector now? After all, hasn’t it continued to grow and thrive anyway? Rexworthy points out that multichannel retailing in particular is making the sector much more global. You only have to think of the number of big retailers that now sell to international customers through their websites, as well as the ones who have stores all over the world. An estimated 11% of global internet sales are from the UK, according to the BRC report. With an ecommerce sector that’s far more developed than many other major Western countries, UK retailers develop- ing world-class ecommerce skills have the opportunity to expand their possible customer bases and use the internet as a platform for international sales. Rexworthy says these global ambitions mean the time is right for retailers to be thinking about their skills and professionalism now. “The sheer opportunity of multichannel retailing means we have to attract the right individuals and explain the diversity of the roles,” she adds. Ironside believes that ecommerce in particular has created challenges and opportunities requiring retail businesses to look outside of the sector for talent. And he highlights that it is an attractive place for senior executives from other industries to move to. “You only need look at the breadth of people joining retail to demonstrate this,” he says. Indeed, recent moves and changes at the highest level have included Alex Baldock joining home shopping retailer Shop Direct Group as its new chief executive.He joins from a background in banking,and has a double first from Oxford University as well as an MBA from Harvard. And Selfridges’ new director of food and restau- rants, Brian Hannon, joins from pub chain Mitchells & Butlers, where he spent 19 years working in opera- tions. Others to make the move from different sectors include John Lewis chief information officer Paul Coby, who spent 10 years in the airline industry before making the switch, and Harvey Nichols new group fashion director Paula Reed, who joins from the fash- ion magazine Grazia. Professionalising the sector will not only attract more of these top-level executives, but create clearer career development plans for those already in the industry who want to get to the top. Well qualified “It’s about the value an individual places on being part of a professional sector; what they feel they have achieved,” explains Rexworthy, discussing why profes- sional accreditation of skills and experience would benefit those in middle management who are ambi- tious to progress their careers. She says for some roles in particular, retailers have to have specialist skills in multiple disciplines. “A store manager probably wears 12 or 14 hats, and needs to be specialised in each as part of their role.” Rexworthy adds that managers of larger stores are often running multi-million pound businesses in their own right, and this needs to be recognised. Those coming into junior management positions in the sector are increasingly likely to have skills that have been benchmarked. For instance, Morrisons has teamed up with the University of Bradford to offer a Foundation Degree in Retail Leadership and Management. Participants have their salary and tuition fees paid while working full time, and the course is open to 18 to 24-year-olds with at least three A-levels at grades BBC. The grocer is honest that the scheme benefits its business as well as the individuals on the course, telling potential participants that it expects them to use the skills they learn to ‘make Morrisons even better’. The sector is proving to be a resilient employer of graduates at a time when unemployment among that age group is relatively high. Rexworthy points out:“Of the graduates going into management positions each year, more than 30% go into management positions in retail.” Nearly all of the 10 largest retailers in the UK operate formal graduate training schemes each year,as do many others (see page 7 for more details of some of these schemes). However, compare the time and effort taken by firms in other sectors to attract the best graduates – management consultants and finance firms, for instance – and it is clear that retail could do more. Ironside is not sure that retail has the same profile during the graduate milk round process as some other sectors. However, he believes that education on the opportunities in the sector needs to start before students reach university. “I think it needs to The retail sector employs 10.5%of the UK workforce
  • 22. In-depth Issue 10 2012 22 www.nsaforretail.com be a very complete approach, so that they understand while they are still at school what could flow out of a retail career.” Career ladders But it’s not just graduates and senior management where professionalising the sector is important. Many of the arguments hold true for front-line staff too – whether they work on the shopfloor, in distribution centres or customer services roles. Rexworthy notes that retail remains one of few sectors where you can come in as an apprentice at 16 and end up as the managing director or chief executive of a company. So building clearly defined and easy-to-climb career ladders for those coming in at the bottom helps to improve the reputation of the sector too. She points out that training and development – particularly numeracy and literacy skills – support new recruits in all aspects of their life, not just their work, and is therefore particularly beneficial to them. The BRC report points out that retailers and whole- salers account for more than 12% of the total sum spent on training by employers each year. On average they invest £1,275 per employee per year on training compared with, for instance, just more than £800 in the financial sector. Retail employees who receive training spent six days a year being trained on average. Detractors often describe store jobs as “shelf-stack- ing”.However,not only are there roles for people at the front-line that require in-depth knowledge and skills – as our case study on Go Outdoors shows – but actu- ally shelf-stacking is a crucial store activity. Customers pretty quickly complain when shelves are allowed to become bare. Rexworthy adds:“You need to have good numeracy and literacy skills as a shelf-stacker as you will likely be following written orders, so you need to be competent to the requirements of the sector with GCSEs in maths and english.” Getting involved So how can retailers support the drive to professional- ise the sector? Rexworthy says it’s important that retailers and their staff understand how to access training and development, for instance through the NSA for Retail’s network of skills shops. In addition to this there is a clear PR job to be done to wider society. “We want retailers to champion themselves and the people in their business,” she says. Ironside agrees that retailers must keep communi- cation channels open on the issue, but the message must be unified and clear. “I think the sector is strongest when it works together on issues and takes shared positions that can be communicated clearly,” he concludes. l Case study: going professional Go Outdoors is to launch Level 2 and Level 3 NVQs in customer service and Institute of Leadership and Management courses to its staff as the retailer continues its own efforts to professionalise retail. HR manager Simon Clayton says it is vital to continue the chain’s aim of deliv- ering great service to its customers. “This is not just about giving them process and product training but the skills to go with that too,” he says. And it’s particularly required as Go Outdoors seeks to grow staff internally because of its rapid expansion. “It’s the growth that has driven the need to profes- sionalise retail for us,” says Clayton. “We have to develop our talent internally because trying to recruit 50 new people and embed culture each time is just not practical. The longer people can stay with us and the more opportunities we can expose them to, the better the chance of creating that culture,” he says. And to support the customer service training, the retailer has also, in the last two years, revamped the structure and scheduling of its product training. Staff are now trained up on products a month ahead of them coming into peak customer demand to ensure knowledge is current. Training is fed into each store’s training co-ordinator, who then cascades the training to staff. The following month’s mystery shop then includes a focus on that month’s product training to ensure knowledge has been embedded. For many staff a job at Go Outdoors is about working in a sector of retail they are passionate about. Clayton says his staff’s love of the outdoors – which is a require- ment of the job – ranges from general outdoor leisure fans to elite enthusiasts and that brings its own advantages because a generous staff discount ensures the products are all thoroughly staff tested. To encourage the best possible product advice and customer service the retailer also doesn’t operate commission-based selling. “As a business it’s not really a sell culture so the interaction with customers is based on a sharing of experiences and anecdotal selling. It’s about understanding their customers’ needs to help them make the right choices. The best thing is when one of our employees can say ‘yes, I’ve been there and this is what you will need’,” concludes Clayton.
  • 23. Jewels kindly supplied by RM Weare & Company Ltd Endof summer subscription offer Subscribe todayand save30% Subscribing is easy. Simply visit subscription.co.uk/retailjeweller/reml or call 0844 848 8859 quoting priority code REML RJ099
  • 24. People: Interview Issue 10 2012 25www.nsaforretail.com Channel building T here are many preconceptions about what people who work in ecommerce and multichannel do in their roles. But speaking to B&Q’s Joanna Robb (pictured, centre) – who won Online Individual of the Year at the Skillsmart Retail Rising Star awards in 2011 – it’s clear that her priority is exactly the same as retailers in other kinds of retail roles. Getting into the mind of the customer is the most important element of the head of multichannel devel- opment and strategy’s job. “You need to know the customer and think like them rather than yourself,” she says. However, in today’s world that task is becoming increasingly difficult. “Generation Z are more in-tune with technology,” she says. “My two-year-old niece can already use an iPhone better than I can. Catering for this new genera- tion of customer is challenging the way we think.” She says consumer behaviour is changing at such a pace that it makes long-term projects near impossible.“We were working on a year- long project focusing on desktop computers and realised it would be completely superseded because of the number of people shopping on mobiles.” Multichannel is becoming increas- ingly vital in every retailer’s organisa- tion as more and more customers use websites to either buy or order to collect in store. Online now accounts for 12% of all retail sales, and is growing apace. However, things were different when Robb first joined B&Q in 2004. “Back then people didn’t really know what our division was or where it should sit. Now we’ve got someone representing multichannel sitting on the board.” The rapid growth of online retail has left a big skills gap in the indus- try with experienced operators such as Robb hard to come by. Robb fell into ecommerce when she graduated from a literature degree at the University of East Anglia in 1997. She says:“I saw myself as a bit of a creative when I left uni and wanted to be in the heady world of advertising. Online was such a burgeoning industry, it wasn’t anything that I would ever have considered. I didn’t even own a computer until my last year of uni.” However, she took a temporary role in a local agency, and ended up working in its new media department, a move which kickstarted her career. Her time there was spent working mainly for financial services companies. “That’s where people were spending money in online back there.Retail was behind the curve,but it’s where all the exciting stuff is now,”she says. She’s not wrong. From stores built solely to pick up online orders, such as the House of Fraser click-and- collect stores in Aberdeen and Liverpool, to virtual shopping walls, where consumers can scan items on their phone and get them sent directly to their home, retail is a hotbed for ecommerce innovation. Despite 15 years in the industry, Robb insists she is no IT geek. “My boyfriend thinks I’m a technical moron,” she laughs, although her partner is head of ecommerce systems at Waitrose. She insists you don’t have to be an IT expert to go far in this industry. “I’m a business person. I listen to the board’s objectives. They give me a picture and I colour it in. It’s my job to find out how it should work and feel for the customers. I then hand that vision over to our programmers.” Unlike her unplanned entry into the industry there are many more structured routes to become an ecommerce profes- sional with qualifications including MScs, Econsultancy courses and business studies with digital marketing, according to Robb. However, she urges new recruits not to specialise too soon in their careers.“You need to be generalist enough to have an end-to- end conversation on anything from mobile to logistics.” She says enthusiasm about new things and the urge to ask‘why?’is critical to forge a career in her industry. “It’s about being passionate about the customer and making sure we’re fulfilling their needs.”● The career path of B&Q’s Joanna Robb should inspire others looking to make their way up the multichannel retail career ladder. By Gemma Goldfingle says. However, in today’s world that task is becoming “Generation Z are more in-tune with technology,” she says. “My two-year-old niece can already use an iPhone better than I can. Catering for this new genera- tion of customer is challenging the way we think.” She says consumer behaviour is changing at such a pace that it makes long-term projects near impossible.“We were working on a year- long project focusing on desktop computers and realised it would be completely superseded because of the number of Multichannel is becoming increas- ingly vital in every retailer’s organisa- tion as more and more customers use websites to either buy or order to collect in store. Online now accounts for 12% of all retail sales, and is growing apace. However, things were different when Robb first joined B&Q in 2004. “Back then people didn’t really know what our division was or where it should sit. Now we’ve got someone she graduated from a literature degree at the University of East Anglia in 1997. online orders, such as the House of Fraser click-and- collect stores in Aberdeen and Liverpool, to virtual shopping walls, where consumers can scan items on their phone and get them sent directly to their home, retail is a hotbed for ecommerce innovation. Despite 15 years in the industry, Robb insists she is no IT geek. “My boyfriend thinks I’m a technical moron,” she laughs, although her partner is head of ecommerce systems at Waitrose. She insists you don’t have to be an IT expert to go far in this industry. “I’m a business person. I listen to the board’s objectives. They give me a picture and I colour it in. It’s my job to find out how it should work and feel for the customers. I then hand that vision over to our programmers.” Unlike her unplanned entry into the industry there are many more structured routes to become an ecommerce profes- sional with qualifications including MScs, Econsultancy courses and business studies with digital marketing, according to Robb. However, she urges new recruits not to specialise too soon in their careers.“You need to be generalist enough to have an end-to- end conversation on anything from mobile to logistics.” and the urge to ask‘why?’is critical to forge a career in her industry. “It’s about being passionate about the customer and making sure we’re fulfilling their needs.” I’m a business person. I listen to the board’s objectives. They give me a picture and I colour it in Joanna Robb, B&Q
  • 25. It’s easy! Download the app or visit today Introducing the new iPhone app Search for rewarding jobs when and where you like Mobile Alerts Be the first to know when the perfect job appears Offline access Save your searches and browse at your leisure Easy application Store your CV and apply for jobs on the go
  • 26. People: First jobs Issue 10 2012 27www.nsaforretail.com Starting points G etting your first job in the sector where you end up making your career is a defining moment in any- one’s life. It can influence your working life and the career path you take. Those early days can help determine whether an employee loves the buzz of the retail sector and decides to build a career within it. First jobs also provide lessons that can stay with an employee for life. For retailers, many of whom have their closest contact with customers when they start their careers on the shopfloor, the early lessons are especially important. Retail Therapy asked a number of the UK’s leading retailers for their memories of their first job in retail and found out what lessons they had carried through from the start of their career to the boardroom today. Andy Street, managing director, John Lewis John Lewis managing director Andy Street jokes that more than 25 years on he is still in his first job because he has never worked anywhere else but the department store giant. “I joined John Lewis as a graduate trainee in 1985, and have been with the company ever since,” he laughs. However, he also reveals his career could have taken a different turn: “My first job could have been with Marks & Spencer – I applied for their graduate scheme but was turned down,” he says. But the role wasn’t necessarily his first choice of career: “I’d originally thought of becoming a social worker, but the broad opportunities of retail caught my eye at a graduate career show and John Lewis seemed particularly innovative,” he says. He explains how he learnt to listen to customers. “Seeing directly what customers want and how to respond has informed my career from the very beginning to my current role as managing director,” he says. David Shepherd, chief operating officer, Arcadia Most retailers start their working life in retail and get so hooked on the buzz and immediacy of the sector that they don’t want to leave. However, it’s rare that someone’s first job is at the chain they will one day end up running. But for David Shepherd that was exactly what happened. “I was 16 years old when I started in retail as a Saturday boy in Topshop, Oxford Circus,” he says. He got the job through a friend that worked there, combined with an already keen interest in fashion. Following college he worked as an assistant manager on the concessions department of Chelsea Girl – the chain later rebranded as River Island – before overseeing the expansion and growth of Topman, which is owned by Arcadia. He was promoted to the role of chief operating officer earlier this year. He says he learnt to never cross peers. “I learnt not to upset anybody, this is a small industry and you never know when your paths may cross again.” Andy Street, managing director, John Lewis managing director Andy Street jokes that more than 25 years on he is still in his first job because he has never worked anywhere else but the department store giant. “I joined John Lewis as a graduate trainee in 1985, and have been with the company ever since,” he laughs. However, he also reveals his career could have taken a different turn: “My first job could have been with Marks & Spencer – I applied for their graduate scheme but But the role wasn’t necessarily his first choice of career: “I’d originally thought of becoming a social worker, but the broad opportunities of retail caught my eye at a graduate career show and John Lewis seemed particularly innovative,” he says. He explains how he learnt to listen to customers. “Seeing directly what customers want and how to respond has informed my career from the very beginning to my current role as managing David Shepherd, chief operating officer, Arcadia Most retailers start their working life in retail and get so hooked on the buzz and immediacy of the sector that they don’t want to leave. However, it’s rare that someone’s first job is at the chain they will one day end up running. But for David Shepherd that was exactly what happened. “I was 16 years old when I started in retail as a Saturday boy in Topshop, Oxford Circus,” he says. He got the job through a friend that worked there, combined with an already keen interest in fashion. Following college he worked as an assistant manager on the concessions department of Chelsea Girl – the chain later rebranded as River Island – before overseeing the expansion and growth of Topman, which is owned by Arcadia. He was promoted to the role of chief operating officer earlier this year. He says he learnt to never cross peers. “I learnt not to upset anybody, this is a small industry and you never know when your paths may cross again.” Six high-profile retailers prove how much can be achieved when starting on the bottom rung of the retail career ladder. By Liz Morrell
  • 27. People: First jobs Issue 10 2012 28 www.nsaforretail.com Vince Gunn, managing director, Crocs Europe Vince Gunn’s career has covered a variety of sectors in retail and included stints at Mothercare as retail operations director, bookstore Blackwells as chief executive and today managing director of footwear specialist Crocs Europe. However, his first role in retail was as a sales assistant in his family’s greengrocer and florist chains in the West End of Glasgow. “All family members were ‘expected’ to earn our way through life, therefore any school holidays and so on we were working from an early age,” he says. That first role provided a “fantastic foundation” for his future career, according to Gunn. “It was everything from dealing with people on a personal basis − particularly the Glasgow public – to stock management, buying and merchandising, store operations, wholesale, quality control and a fair bit of family politics,” he says. “That was combined with an ethic to work very hard for results and rewards,” he says. Gunn lives by the same lessons today. Stephen Marks, founder and chairman, French Connection Stephen Marks, founder and chairman of fashion retailer French Connection, was an entrepreneur from the start: “My first job was delivering groceries when I was 12 years old,” he says. That was followed by a stint in a petrol station as a dishwasher and then in his father’s hairdressing salon. But initially those roles weren’t simply born from a love of retail but a passion for sport instead. “All of these jobs were to earn money so that I could play tennis while I was still at school,” explains Marks, who even won a plate at Junior Wimbledon. His first full-time job was as a trainee in a manufacturing company before what he regards as his first “actual retail job” when he opened his first shop on South Molton Street. His early motivations were to make money, but he soon realised that required hard work. “The lesson I learnt was to be first in and last to leave,” he says. Lee Bagnall, chief operating officer, Go Outdoors As a youngster, Lee Bagnall helped out with deliv- eries for his father’s furniture retailing business, but his first job in retail was one he took in order to earn extra money while at college. At the age of 16 he worked in an independent Shell petrol station as a petrol pump attendant. Despite his tender years at the time he says the role taught him a vital lesson in retail almost immediately after he persuaded the owner of the garage to let him open up on Christmas Day − at a time when no one else did − in order to sell a limited range of products over the festive period. “We opened for four hours and took more in four hours than we would usually take in a full weekend,” he says. He adds: “I learnt you have to be there when the customer needs you. It’s a lesson that’s still as applicable today.” David Wild, former chief executive, Halfords Like many retailers, the industry is in former Halfords chief executive David Wild’s blood: “I was brought up in a shop. My dad ran a newsagent and I helped out,” he says. His first step on the career ladder, however, was when he joined Tesco as trading director for fresh fruit and vegetables. “It was a fascinating time when supermarkets were changing the face of retail and Tesco, in particular, was seeking to differentiate itself through the presentation, value and quality of its offer,” he says. Both roles taught him to remember the customer is king. “Listen to your customers and provide the products and services they want. Even small improvements can make a big difference,” he says. “In my dad’s store we’d stay open late if needed and provide popular products, like toys, even if it meant paying full retail prices to source them.” limited range of products over the festive period. “We opened for four hours and took more in four hours than we would usually take in a have to be there when the Stephen Marks, founder and chairman, French Connection a petrol station as a dishwasher and then in his father’s hairdressing salon. But initially those roles weren’t simply born from a love of retail but a passion for sport instead. “All of these jobs were to earn money so that I could play tennis while I was still at school,” explains Marks, who even won a plate at Junior Wimbledon. His first full-time job was as a trainee in a manufacturing company before what he regards as his first “actual retail job” when he opened his first shop on South Molton Street. His early motivations were to make money, but he soon realised that required hard work. “The lesson I learnt was to be first in and last to leave,” he says. David Wild, former chief Like many retailers, the industry is in former Halfords chief executive David Wild’s blood: “I was brought up in a shop. My dad ran a newsagent and I helped out,” he says. His first step on the career ladder, however, was when he joined Tesco as trading director for fresh supermarkets were changing the face of retail and Tesco, in particular, was seeking to differentiate itself through the presentation, value and quality they want. Even small improvements can make a big difference,” he says. “In my dad’s store we’d stay open late if needed and provide popular products, like toys, even if it meant paying full I learnt you have to be there when the cus- tomer needs you. It’s a lesson that’s still as applicable today Lee Bagnall, Go Outdoors
  • 28. People: First jobs Issue 10 2012 28 www.nsaforretail.com Vince Gunn, managing director, Crocs Europe Vince Gunn’s career has covered a variety of sectors in retail and included stints at Mothercare as retail operations director, bookstore Blackwells as chief executive and today managing director of footwear specialist Crocs Europe. However, his first role in retail was as a sales assistant in his family’s greengrocer and florist chains in the West End of Glasgow. “All family members were ‘expected’ to earn our way through life, therefore any school holidays and so on we were working from an early age,” he says. That first role provided a “fantastic foundation” for his future career, according to Gunn. “It was everything from dealing with people on a personal basis − particularly the Glasgow public – to stock management, buying and merchandising, store operations, wholesale, quality control and a fair bit of family politics,” he says. “That was combined with an ethic to work very hard for results and rewards,” he says. Gunn lives by the same lessons today. Stephen Marks, founder and chairman, French Connection Stephen Marks, founder and chairman of fashion retailer French Connection, was an entrepreneur from the start: “My first job was delivering groceries when I was 12 years old,” he says. That was followed by a stint in a petrol station as a dishwasher and then in his father’s hairdressing salon. But initially those roles weren’t simply born from a love of retail but a passion for sport instead. “All of these jobs were to earn money so that I could play tennis while I was still at school,” explains Marks, who even won a plate at Junior Wimbledon. His first full-time job was as a trainee in a manufacturing company before what he regards as his first “actual retail job” when he opened his first shop on South Molton Street. His early motivations were to make money, but he soon realised that required hard work. “The lesson I learnt was to be first in and last to leave,” he says. Lee Bagnall, chief operating officer, Go Outdoors As a youngster, Lee Bagnall helped out with deliv- eries for his father’s furniture retailing business, but his first job in retail was one he took in order to earn extra money while at college. At the age of 16 he worked in an independent Shell petrol station as a petrol pump attendant. Despite his tender years at the time he says the role taught him a vital lesson in retail almost immediately after he persuaded the owner of the garage to let him open up on Christmas Day − at a time when no one else did − in order to sell a limited range of products over the festive period. “We opened for four hours and took more in four hours than we would usually take in a full weekend,” he says. He adds: “I learnt you have to be there when the customer needs you. It’s a lesson that’s still as applicable today.” David Wild, former chief executive, Halfords Like many retailers, the industry is in former Halfords chief executive David Wild’s blood: “I was brought up in a shop. My dad ran a newsagent and I helped out,” he says. His first step on the career ladder, however, was when he joined Tesco as trading director for fresh fruit and vegetables. “It was a fascinating time when supermarkets were changing the face of retail and Tesco, in particular, was seeking to differentiate itself through the presentation, value and quality of its offer,” he says. Both roles taught him to remember the customer is king. “Listen to your customers and provide the products and services they want. Even small improvements can make a big difference,” he says. “In my dad’s store we’d stay open late if needed and provide popular products, like toys, even if it meant paying full retail prices to source them.” limited range of products over the festive period. “We opened for four hours and took more in four hours than we would usually take in a have to be there when the Stephen Marks, founder and chairman, French Connection a petrol station as a dishwasher and then in his father’s hairdressing salon. But initially those roles weren’t simply born from a love of retail but a passion for sport instead. “All of these jobs were to earn money so that I could play tennis while I was still at school,” explains Marks, who even won a plate at Junior Wimbledon. His first full-time job was as a trainee in a manufacturing company before what he regards as his first “actual retail job” when he opened his first shop on South Molton Street. His early motivations were to make money, but he soon realised that required hard work. “The lesson I learnt was to be first in and last to leave,” he says. David Wild, former chief Like many retailers, the industry is in former Halfords chief executive David Wild’s blood: “I was brought up in a shop. My dad ran a newsagent and I helped out,” he says. His first step on the career ladder, however, was when he joined Tesco as trading director for fresh supermarkets were changing the face of retail and Tesco, in particular, was seeking to differentiate itself through the presentation, value and quality they want. Even small improvements can make a big difference,” he says. “In my dad’s store we’d stay open late if needed and provide popular products, like toys, even if it meant paying full I learnt you have to be there when the customer needs you. It’s a lesson that’s still as applicable today Lee Bagnall, Go Outdoors
  • 29. THE BEST RETAIL LEADERS ALL STARTED SOMEWHERE I learnt more about myself and business in a week than I have in the last 5 years. Darren Russell, Staples UK Oxford Summer School is a tiered development programme built for retailers, by retailers. It has been nurturing talented retailers for 90 years and is cost-effective professional retail development. Life changing - and I MEAN it! Peter Gibbons, Notcutts Garden Centre A fantastic opportunity and a real sense of achievement; I am a better manager for it. Victoria O’Neill, Matalan Such a memorable experience that was current, relevant and stretching, which will help me as an individual to embrace, respond and adapt to the ever changing retail environment. Amy Elliott, Marks & Spencer 18 - 21 February 2013 1 - 5 July 2013 17 - 23 August 2013 Book today for early bird discounts Call 01295 713 391 for your free 2013 prospectus or visit www.oxfordsummerschool.co.uk
  • 30. Issue 10 2012 Retail life: Meet the team 30 www.nsaforretail.com A t Pets at Home a love of animals is a given. It has a motto of employing pet lovers to serve pet lovers and more than 90% of Pets at Home employees own a pet. In December the pet specialist opened a new flagship store in Fort Kinnaird Retail Park in Edinburgh. The store comprises an extended pets and product offer as well as a ‘groom room’ and joint venture vet surgery. At 11,000 sq ft of retail space it is one of Pets at Home’s biggest stores in Scotland. So hitting the ground running with a newly established team was vital for store manager Annie Campbell. She heads a team of 19, which includes three other managers − deputy manager Steven Gibson and assistant managers Louise Barden and Craig Faill − all three of whom started as part-time staff. The assistant managers have been promoted through Pets at Home’s internal rising star programme. The management team lead 11 full and part-time colleagues, and Claire Nixon manages a four-strong groom room team. With previous experience at JJB Sports and TK Maxx before joining Pets at Home in 2008, Campbell worked as a store manager designate for a number of stores before running the company’s Pentland and then Fort Kinnaird stores. Her team was formed from staff new to the business and employees plucked for their experience from the Pentland store. “When we opened we needed a mix of old and new staff to make the team an effective team because working at Pets at Home you need a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge,”she says. Pulling that team together to a cohesive unit fast was vital to the success of the opening – especially with the store’s flagship status. Solid training was also key. “The training is one of the most important things for us so we had our recruitment process and recruitment day, and then held work days and trials and so on. We have a ‘steps to success’ programme and the training was much more intense because these guys had to have the knowledge on opening,” says Campbell. And for Pets at Home such training doesn’t just include process training, but specialist product train- ing, which allows everyone to play an individual role in the business. The retailer has recently introduced nutritional consultants in its stores and Campbell talks proudly of her deputy manager’s role as the nutritional consultant for the north and his role in training up new consultants in the area. “Everyone brings something different and that’s what makes the team work so well – for example we have nutritional experts and reptile experts as well as microchippers. We also have SQP – suitably qualified persons – in store, who offer things such as Frontline flea treatment advice. There are no heads of department but instead we have so many different specialists in store and so many avenues in which staff can develop in Pets at Home. One of the reasons my team works so well is that everyone recognises the value of the team and their progression within the business,” she says. Of course a good team plays as hard as it works and Campbell says the social aspect has also been vital in gelling her new team and has included team bonding events, staff buddying as well as social events. Daily tasks such as putting out product and clean- ing and feeding the animals are completed between 6am and 9am, in time for the store opening. “From 9am we are serving customers on the shopfloor because they are our absolute priority,” she says. Daily shoals – or teamtalks – led by the duty manager focus on the previous day’s sales, new targets, jobs for the day and communication from head office. Walk rounds of the store and warehouse bring to light additional jobs that may need doing within the business. Seven months on from the opening of the Fort Kinnaird store Campbell is proud of the team she heads and says they share that pride in store. “They want to drive the store forward. We have a number of values within the business and we try to live by those but we absolutely do make it fun,” she says. l Everyone recognises the value of the team and their progression within the business Annie Campbell, Pets at Home Every colleague has specialist skills, according to the team at Pets at Home’s Fort Kinnaird store in Edinburgh. Liz Morrell reports The team includes many specialist staff to ensure that there is a lot of experience and knowledge Animal magic
  • 31. r e t a i l - w e e k . c o m RW158 *Saving of £30 off the standard annual subscription price (£299). Wanttoseewhat youaremissing? subscription.co.uk/retailweek/sanu +44 (0) 844 848 8859 quote saNU identifybusinesscriticaltrends Understandyourcompetition access newopportunities onlywith exclusive offer SAVE £30 *
  • 32. People: Family retailers 32 www.nsaforretail.com Keep it in the family I n today’s retail world many of the UK’s best loved names are corporate bodies that answer to shareholders and analysts. Customers, and indeed staff, can sometimes view such retailers as faceless corporate entities with which they have little personal affinity. However, the dynamics change dramatically for both staff and customers when it comes to working for some of the many family run retail businesses in the UK. The family connection often means a greater respect between customer and retailer, or staff and boss. So what exactly marks out family retail businesses from their competitors? Family name David Elliott is the former chief executive of Bentalls, which was later sold to family department store chain Fenwick in a sale that many believe happened because of a lack of heir at the chain. Today he is managing director of Voisins – the family run Jersey department store.“Working within a family business is quite unique,”he says.“The bene- fit is people trust names they can relate too and there tends to be a lot more heritage and a real history with family businesses,” he says. “You also get a greater degree of consistency and that is very reassuring for staff,” he adds. Mark Hastings, director general of the Institute of Family Businesses, agrees that is important. “The main benefit of a family business is that they show a long-term vision of where they want the business to go and how they are going to develop it. There is also a different risk profile because there is a determina- tion to invest for the long term, so family run retailers don’t take the risks that others do and are therefore more robust in times of recession,” he says. Heir apparent But, of course, what makes a family business is the family itself, and in retail there are many such exam- ples. Hastings says in 2011 family businesses in the retail and wholesale market turned over £500m. Gary Grant, managing director of toy chain The Entertainer, started the business with his wife by opening a toy store in Amersham in 1981. Since then the chain has grown into almost 70 stores. Of his four children, two work within the business − his son Duncan Grant is director of multichannel and another son Stewart Grant is buying director at the chain. He says the benefits of family retailing include free- dom.“We are able to steer our own business.We aren’t beholden to shareholders or private equity.” Grant believes family run retailers attract a different type of staff and engender greater loyalty because the atmosphere of such a business differs.“We have more than 80 staff who have worked for the business for more than 10 years,” says Grant. “A lot have joined us because they are supporting us as a family. Family businesses do attract slightly differ- ent people because you are not so bureaucratic or rigid and it’s a bit more of a free environment,” he adds. Hussein Lalani, managing director of 99p Stores, is a second generation retailer after his father Nadir Lalani set up the Europa Foods and Whistlestop chains. He works alongside his brother Faisal Lalani, who is buying director at the chain, and his sister who, as well as running her own internet retail business, helps out with admin. Having originally trained to be a lawyer, Hussein worked in the Whistlestop head office in the early 1990s before setting up the 99p Stores chain. He says the family link is vital and that their close- ness is what helps to drive the business. “Every family is very different but in our case the most important thing is we have complete trust between the three of us. There is no ego within the business and we all have our own skills,” says Lalani. Hastings says that is vital to success. “Family run retailers need to recognise the value every generation brings and the important thing for the younger generation is to go and learn skills outside of the business too.” But sometimes recognising those skills, and defin- ing roles, in a family run business can be a challenge especially between parent and son or daughter. Blurred boundaries At Courtyard Bridal, a bridalwear store in Kettering, which recently featured in the family business series The Fixer, the blurring of family and business boundaries was a problem because roles hadn’t been clearly defined. Family businesses do attract slightly different people because you are not so bureaucratic or rigid and it’s a bit more of a free environment Gary Grant, The Entertainer Working for a family run business has its challenges, but it can also mean a stronger relationship between customers and staff. Liz Morrell finds out how some of the UK’s family retailers stand out from their competitors
  • 33. 33www.nsaforretail.com Issue 10 2012 Home Bargains Run by managing director Tom Morris and his brothers Joe and Ed Morris Dunelm Founded by Bill and Jean Adderley in 1979, their son Will joined the business in 1992 and today is executive deputy chairman Lakeland Brothers Sam, Martin and Julian developed an idea originally founded by their father, Alan Raynor Barker and Stonehouse A third-generation furniture retailer now run by managing director James Barker Specsavers Founded by husband and wife Doug and Mary Perkins, their children also work in the business Mamas and Papas The birth of their first daughter, Amanda, now product development director, inspired David and Luisa Scacchetti to set up the chain where their second daughter Olivia also works as creative director Other family businesses The business was set up 10 years ago by Anne Preece, with her two daughters, Rhiannon Moore and Bethan McCall, eventually joining her. At the time of The Fixer, in which The Hotel Inspector star Alex Polizzi tried to fix broken businesses, the retailer was struggling. “We were not getting on great as a family,” says McCall. “In a normal business you have a very differ- ent defined hierarchy but this is a business where you have the mother hierarchy. Also when you are siblings the older one will automatically be above you in the hierarchy but not necessarily in the business and that can be a struggle.” The Fixer identified a number of areas, including setting more defined roles within the business – something that worked well. “It’s made us much more business smart. We are more aware of everything and my sister and I get on great again, and we are looking to take over the business from mum,” she says. First generation bosses – the mums or dads – have to be able to let go, delegate and believe in their children to do the job but even the most professional of retailers still act as parent sometimes. “Working with your dad can be challenging because there are certain times he steps into ‘dad’ mode,” laughs Lalani. Grant admits that when his children joined the business he felt they might think they knew better. “When my eldest son joined he and I joked that he would tell me how I should have done it but I’ve actu- ally learnt so much from him,” says Grant. And when the business/parent boundaries do blur, Grant says he does the one thing any parent would do – he calls in the boss to referee. “Because it’s worked out so well it’s not too contentious, but if I think we are heading for a difficult conversation I will bring Cath [my wife] in and she will look at things with a slightly different view and get me to back down if needed,” says Grant. Family businesses are driven by personal motiva- tion.“You are more personally driven than if you were just an employee. You want to do the best you can because family is number one,” explains Lalani. But getting the balance right can be tough because of this.“There has always been tension between work/ life balance,”concludes Grant.“My wife challenged me once 25 years ago and said you need to be at home more for the children because you are pouring your- self into the business. I said our standard of living depends on our business and she said we will change our standard of living then,” he recalls. Family retailing isn’t just a day job but truly is a way of life. l The Entertainer’s Gary Grant (above) works with two of his sons; The Lalani family run 99p Stores (left)
  • 34. Diary Issue 10 2012 34 www.nsaforretail.comwww.nsaforretail.com August 2013 September 2013 July 2013 July 2013 Oxford Summer School - Academy Level The Academy level caters for delegates that have been identified as having high potential by their employers.The course helps to prepare them for promotion to senior management. Speakers at the 2012 school included the managing director of John Lewis’ Peter Jones department store,TonyWheeler,Google’s Peter Fitzgerald and Dame Ellen MacArthur. Retail Trust offers free scholarships to the school’s Academy level. www.oxfordsummerschool.co.uk Rising Stars Awards 2013 Organised by Retail Week, the annualawards ceremony for young talent in theretail industry continues to showcaseand reward their hard work andself-improvement. Entered by their employers, shortlistedretailers are invited to London for a judgingday, where they are probed about their roleand achievements by a panel of expert judges.Winners are then decided and announcedon the night at a ceremony where entrantscan let their hair down and celebratetheir success. Retailers to make the 2012 shortlistincluded Iceland, Oasis, New Look,Sainsbury’s,The Body Shop and Debenhams.www.retailweekrisingstars.co.uk July 4 Independents’ Day After the success of the campaign in its first two years, Independents’ Day is due to run again on July 4, 2013. Consumers will be urged to make sure they support their local indie retailers that day, and retailers can make use of the marketing collateral created to promote the day. In 2012, many retailers ran special events on the July 4, and in some areas groups of independent retailers came together to promote their high streets to local customers with street parties and other celebrations. www.retailindieday.com March 13 to 14 Retail Week Conference The conference always plays host to some of the biggest and most inspirational speakers in the UK retail industry. Past speakers have included Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland, John Lewis chairman Charlie Mayfield and Amazon.co.uk managing director Chris North. Held at London’s Hilton Metropole, the two-day event concludes with the annual Oracle Retail Week Awards ceremony, where more than 1,000 people pack out the Great Room of the Grosvenor House Hotel. www.retailweekconference.com Oxford Summer School - Foundation Level The second year of the foundation level training programme for retailers hopes to build on the success of the launch year. It is tailored to graduate apprentices, first appointment store managers, head office and large store department managers who want to develop or reposition their careers. The objective is to reach individuals not yet senior enough for the other courses, and develop their first line management skills. www.oxfordsummerschool.co.uk September 2013 July 2013 Diary February 2013 October 2012 February 18 to 21 Oxford Retail Masters Forum The forum is suitable for retailers that already have a high level of responsibility in their job, and are at a career stage where their decisions impact or influence the business. The programme, which will be held at Egrove Park, Oxford, takes delegates beyond the day-to-day issues of running a business and gives them the opportunity to consider the broader picture and network with other retailers. Respected industry leaders and retail professionals are on hand to offer their expertise and advice to delegates. By looking at threats and opportunities, which they can profit or protect themselves from, the course ultimately helps senior managers become more effective. www.oxfordsummerschool.co.uk October 16 to 18 Retail Apprenticeship Scheme launch The Retail Apprenticeship Training Agency developed the Retail Apprenticeship Scheme as its main business operation. The scheme is delivered exclusively by the National Skills Academy for Retail and its network of skills shops with the aim of matching independent and small retailers and young people aged between 16 and 18 years old. The Retail Apprenticeship Scheme is a risk- free way for retailers to employ an apprentice. Foryoungpeopleitisarouteintoaretailcareer. The scheme will be officially launched at three regional events across England. ● Oct 16, Midlands, Birmingham Bullring ● Oct 17, South, London, MIC Euston ● Oct 18, North, Sheffield,The Source March 2013March 2013 Sainsbury’s,The Body Shop and Debenhams.www.retailweekrisingstars.co.uk October 28 to 29 The Independent Retail Show, NEC, Birmingham Organised by the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN), IRS 2012 is the response to the challenges brought about by radical changes to retail. The show supports independent retailers and helps them compete more effectively against the growing threat from online and multiple shopping. www.independentretailshow.co.uk
  • 35. The New Lookook The fastest Looking to recruit? Drapersjobs.com is also the perfect place to make your next fashion industry hire Call +44 (0)20 7728 5514 or +44 (0)20 7728 3516. Email Laura.Gee@EMAP.com and Annie.Hogan@EMAP.com To celebrate the 125 year anniversary of Drapers, Drapersjobs.com has got a chic new look making the search for your perfect fashion job even more enjoyable. Visit the new look today Not at a computer? Download our iPhone app and search for jobs on the go Get the best Set up email alerts instantly and get the roles you want direct to your inbox Get headhunted Upload your CV and let recruiters Simple search process Find your perfect job in seconds The Niche Job Board Award

×