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Rob Templeman, Chairman of the British Retail Consortium, delivered a keynote speech at the AIS Annual Conference in April 2012. He closed the Conference with a look back at his varied retail career and private equity experience. His insights into turning around Homebase, Halfords and Debenhams made for fascinating listening and demonstrated the clarity of thinking, analysis, management of change and single minded purpose required in such cases.

Rob-TemplemanThe 10 key lessons derived from these examples were:-

  • Create value by driving topline sales not just cost savings
  • Detail and operational effectiveness is as important as overall strategy
  • Listen to your managers and staff on the shopfloor
  • Spend time on the shopfloor listening to your customers
  • Look at the busines through the eyes of the customer
  • Invest in the business for the sake of tomorrow's profit
  • Trial and analyse and then roll out changes with pace
  • Marketing starts with product, merchandising and the store experience not with advertising
  • Cost control should be a culture throughout the business
  • Give management clear objectives and empowerment in an environment where it's OK to make mistakes

Even though these are proven within big organisations the core lessons apply across all businesses and were relevant to all independent retailers attending whatever their size.

The 2013 AIS Conference will have many other high quality speakers. It takes place on April 22nd and is open to AIS members to attend.