Specific projects and initiatives

Ann Summers

Financial Year July 2007 / June 2008

At Ann Summers we were able to grow like-for-like sales by 8% in one year. Several factors attributed to this growth, including ensuring the field teams’ focus was on sales, redefining their ‘ways of working’ (with their agreement) which included such issues as frequency of visits, store visit format, etc. Alongside this we reviewed their KPIs to ensure they were driving the business and bottom line profit which included footfall conversion target setting and average transaction value.

Working in conjunction with the head of marketing we agreed a promotions programme that focused on driving sales whilst protecting margin. We also worked closely with the merchandising team and the visual merchandisers to establish space management templates across all stores to ensure space density and product participation was both effective and commercially viable.

We implemented a performance management strategy across the retail estate to ensure the right calibre of manager was employed in the correct role.

Working within a £210k retail operations budget we redefined incentives for the store and field teams that were engaging and competitive. We set up a weekly live webcast to all stores via the extranet, during which great performers were recognised and company initiatives highlighted.

Ann Summers employed only two field trainers, so in an effort to drive product awareness and training in the most economic way possible, we established a project group to review product training. The outcome was the establishment of training videos for new product launches delivered via a webcam. The video was then published to the stores’ extranet system for all staff to view.

Additionally, focus was given to the top 15 turnover stores to ensure the business potential was being maximised. Each manager was coached personally across all the top 15 stores to optimise commercial opportunities. As well as bespoke incentives for this group, weekly conference calls helped share best practice across the business.

There were several initiatives which transformed loss-making sales channels, thus raising overall profitability, including a review of the store portfolio which identified three loss-making stores. Their closure resulted in a bottom line saving of £228k.

Working closely with the head of property, we defined a 4-year refurbishment programme. The aim was to further enhance the brand by identifying which stores in the portfolio would meet the ROI requirements of the board and drive the greatest sales and profit uplift. During one financial year, 22 stores were refurbished which resulted in a like-for-like uplift of 21%.

We also redefined the allocation of payroll to stores resulting in a reduction in payroll of £400k. We improved the process for allocating hours, having identified that some allocated hours were unstructured. We set up a robust process for allocating hours which was both consistent and fair taking note of sales, square footage, remote stockrooms etc.