In the UK’s ever-changing retail landscape, it’s a case of ‘adapt or die’ for many domestic brands.
The past two decade were arguably characterised by the ‘space race’. Big retailers sought out larger and larger stores – often 100,000 square feet or more – in huge out-of-town locations. But with the recent boom in omni-channel consumer culture, the future of these monster stores is increasingly under threat. Commercial studies suggest that a 60,000 sq ft store will turn over the same as a giant predecessor as long as both its product mix and navigational flow are right.
Society are proud to partner with B&Q on their executive recruitment. We assist them in a diverse range of senior hires to meet the ever-changing demands of their business. When Ian Cheshire, Kingfisher’s Group Chief Executive, publicly stated that he felt B&Q was 20% over-footed, the ball was already in motion to change the retailer’s portfolio.
How does a retailer divest commercial (often landlord-controlled) space without making a loss or impacting its valued customers? That was the question. The answer was a specialist team of Asset Managers, with not only the traditional development experience, but also divestment and commercial partnership credibility. B&Q tasked Society with recruiting this team of professionals. One successful placement was Matt Cloke. Previously Matt had worked amongst the property team at Tesco and had made an impressive name for himself as a solution architect. Having worked on the repurposing of a large proportion of the supermarket chain’s estate, Matt was ideally placed both in terms of experience and, crucially, landlord credibility.
Matt joined the B&Q team at the beginning of 2014 and has quickly delivered the goods. The pipeline of stores preparing to have a special overhaul and refurbishment has grown, and B&Q continue to invest in delivering the very best consumer experience they can in their store portfolio. The near future will see huge leaps in their routes to market and the interface between omni-channel and their store estate.