F&F aim to be Britain’s leading affordable fashion retailer. F&F is a truly global brand sold in 1,800 stores across 7 European markets, as well as 8 additional markets where they have franchise stores. They are able to use insight from customers to offer fashionable ranges at amazing prices and with great quality at the heart.
Since 2013, Carlisle has provided specialist clothing merchandisers to Tesco to support their F&F brand. F&F are a clothing brand that represents a core part of Tesco’s growth strategy. Our client faced the challenge of delivering sales growth, even when its own in-store staff were being deviated from their focus on specific ranges to work in other areas of operational delivery within the store (i.e. deal with deliveries or go onto the tills etc.). Not only did this impact sales, but it also meant that funds allocated to the section were not being utilised and therefore not delivering ROI.
Upon analysing the issue, it was clear that clothing required dedicated store operations staff who were not distracted by other job functions, which ensured they would stay focused on clothing and achieving its objectives. We also understood that our client didn’t need full store development trained merchandisers, but personnel with good retail knowledge and an understanding of clothing merchandising. The solution offered value for money and could meet diverse shift patterns (often 4-6 hours, overnight).
Results and Benefits
Through our branch network we targeted staff with retail experience and people looking for ‘lifestyle’ jobs (e.g. students or parents looking for a second wage). Comprehensive training documents were produced, which focused on core activities and lines. On their first shift, staff were inducted and trained by the store on core duties. The teams were fully supported by our regional management team and we were able to provide additional merchandising expertise as and when required.
We also introduced Timegate, our electronic time and attendance system, to provide the client with daily attendance updates and verification of the hours that had been delivered via the verification of attendance messages sent from each location at shift.
We now support our client with up to 500 clothing merchandisers across the UK during peak trading periods, which means the stores can flex up and down without increasing staffing costs on an annual basis.
Carlisle Retail’s model actually offers a reduction on in- house costs as travel and accommodation costs can beeradicated, whilst maintaining the presence of skills and knowledge offered by in-house teams. A mix of 25 years of store development experience and 50 UK-wide local branches provide a solution no other company can offer. By working with other budget retailers Carlisle Retail can utilise the same infrastructure to deliver similar benefits, and as more budget retailers experience this, Carlisle will be able to deliver greater value due to economies of scale.