Fashion retail is in a tough place, and it’s becoming tougher. Sales are more difficult to achieve, margins are under pressure from rising costs, and the weather is being no more predictable with every season.
Just like most retail business, the largest cost for fashion retail is the labour line so we are very surprised when we review a retailer’s wage and productivity model to see how much we can help them save.
Typically, the science behind the allocation of hours to stores is not based on fair and balanced decisions, or in fact, any science at all. The flag ship store is given an easier ride to help it stand out under the gaze of customers and stakeholders. All this does, however, is create an unbalanced and unfair wage model. Addressing this unbalance and getting all stores to work equally hard is a valuable place to start saving cost.
It is not just about redressing the balance; many retailers are carrying out non-value adding tasks too. It is amazing when sales are slowing, retailers can busy themselves with tasks rather than serving their customers. There are only so many times you can count the change float.
By helping retailers review these tasks, changing or improving the processes and therefore the efficiency, we have helped retailers save millions of pounds a year.
One of the most common places to find ‘tasks for tasks sake’ is in the store room, often labelled the engine room of the store. Unfortunately, this engine room is saddled with complexity, confusing and time-consuming processes that are expensive and ineffective.
Fashion retailing is not rocket science. When we are given the opportunity to help a fashion retail business cut through the task-treacle and get back to a simple retailing formula, we not remove unproductive processes, we also leave a fitter fashion retailer with lower costs and more to invest in its future.