Last night I watched episode 1 of Saving Pound Stretcher, a fly on the wall documentary following the legendary Chris Edwards who was parachuted in as CEO to turn around the failing high street discount retailer.

Takeaway’s from Episode 1 so far;

The family business: I wrote an MBA paper on a third generation failing London business and really see the similarities, the younger leadership generation lack the experience and confidence of the patriarch and the patriarch won’t let go and isn’t open to change. The picture above gives an indication as to how this gig went for Chris.

Leadership: The new CEO understood the value of the retail teams on the ground and empowered them, it appeared the layers of management above lacked both the experience and engagement with C level to effect retail innovation.

Understanding the Customer: It appeared that whilst the company wanted to provide the customer with real value, this was never in any doubt they failed to grasp that there will always be a need for some core commodities / products to always be in stock and the trick is to innovate around this core.

What we did see is product innovation driven by price; some true bargains. Which the customer simply didn’t want, write off = loss

The need for good analytics: Above all it was clear that the leadership team were flying blind: Room for PowerBI here……

  • the buying team, greater focus on key commodities / products which drive edidta per shop and innovate the retail experience.
  • the buying team, level of write off linked to buying the wrong stock
  • product and store profitability, what good looks like and developing a playback around this.

I’m looking forward to episode 2

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