Retail Industry Expertise
> Retail Channel Expertise
> Retail Strategy Expertise
> Retail Growth Expertise
> Retail Turnarounds Expertise
> Retail Cost Management Expertise
> Retail Organisational Management Structure Expertise
> Retail Category Management Expertise
> Retail Marketing Expertise
> Retail Start-ups Expertise
Foley Retail Consulting is based on a straightforward concept: We focus exclusively on the retail industry, providing expert advice and retail management support at board level to classical retail store chains, internet businesses or multi-channel operators.
This emphasis on the retail business distinguishes us from big generalist consulting companies. In the field of retail we are large enough to deliver expert solutions but are small enough to care.
This is not a theory-based consultancy model, this is “been there, done it before’’ pragmatic advice which is tailored to the market your business is wrestling with. We follow this up by a genuine partnership with our clients during the implementation stage.
Our clients often face either the threat of or reality of highly professional multi-national corporations moving in on their markets. Alternatively, they may simply have the ambition to dominate the market segment in which they compete and are looking for the support of an experienced retail consulting company to help them achieve that.
Read more about our retail expertise in our case studies.
Retail Channel Expertise
The full retail spectrum
All partners and retail business consultants at Foley Retail Consulting have experience from classic high street multiple stores to out of town big box retailing or internet pure players. This impressive array of backgrounds was built up from both retail consulting projects and management and director positions held throughout lifelong careers in the retail business.
We have successfully carried out projects across the retail spectrum within:
- Food & Supermarkets
- Discount retailing
- Consumer electronics
- Do it yourself/ Home improvement stores
- Internet pure players
- Fast moving consumer goods manufacturing (shop in shops, category management projects, commercial due diligence, etc.)
- Fashion and shoes retailing
- Department stores
In this day and age it is impossible to speak about growth strategy without also speaking about the internet. The internet is the fastest-growing retail channel globally. Any business serious about growth must also think strategically about multi-channel retail operations. We at Foley Retail Consulting have now significant experience of helping traditional ”bricks and mortar” retailers build up a multi-channel strategy.
It is our opinion that retailers who invest in a multi-channel future will emerge the strongest from the digital revolution, which is now sweeping through the retail industry!
Successfully managing the digital age
We specialise in providing multi-channel retail strategies for traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses. The question of how to incorporate e-commerce into your business is currently a huge issue and presents many challenging problems for a business that first devised its concept before the internet changed everything.
CEE and the internet
The CEE region is currently experiencing tremendous growth in internet retailing. It is quicker and cheaper for new businesses to get started online and carries existing retailers into the 21st century. If your retail business is operating in the Central and Eastern European arena, and you don’t yet have a solid strategic plan for the growth of your online presence, now is the time to bring in professional retail consulting.
Already, most consumers are using the internet for at least research on the retailers they want to purchase from. Social media for example is stronger in Eastern Europe than in the West and can play a significant role in helping consumers make their purchase decisions. Adaption pace to the new channel is expected to be much higher than historically in the West due to the huge internet user base already existing in CEE.
It is the view of Foley Retail Consulting that in the coming three to five years the consumer will demand a multi-channel possibility for their regular custom, it is vital retailers start to plan strategically for this eventuality now!
Send us a request today! First consultation is free!
Read more about our retail channel expertise in our case studies:
- The rise and rise of Amazon!
- Click and collect – a great idea!
- Can the success model of discount be put online?
Retail Strategy Expertise
At Foley Retail Consulting we have found that many clients have grown so quickly over the past five years that retail basics have had minimum attention. We therefore carry out a thorough analysis into the key reasons why a particular retail business is in its current state of success or lack of such. When these reasons are clearly identified, a customised retail growth strategy can be developed to maximise the potential of the business and strengthen the fundaments on which profitable growth can occur.
Poor retail concepts!
Retail failures are mostly about poor concepts rather than just poor execution. Trying to execute a poor or out-dated concept normally just consumes huge amounts of money! Foley Retail Consulting has made a significant contribution to rescuing failing enterprises by refocusing their efforts in the right strategic direction, for example in Poland, Bulgaria, Czech and Russia.
Read more about our retail strategy expertise in our case studies:
- Carrefour needs rewriting!
- Why is Schlecker in so much trouble?
- Expansion strategy – specialist supermarket UK
- Bringing the discount food store to emerging markets
Retail Growth Expertise
Understanding of growth
For many retail businesses the most sought after goal is growth.
And to most retailers, pursuing a growth strategy means expansion, more stores, more products, or more ideas. This is, of course, key to building up a large successful organisation and should therefore be carefully planned.
It has been the experience of Foley Retail Consulting that with regard to management of human and financial resources many retailers overlook the importance of these two areas with disastrous consequences!
Here are two examples:
– If your business loses a key person at the wrong time or rapid expansion and consequently rapid hiring of staff weakens performance ratios, the company as a whole suffers dramatically.
– Many retailers have found rapid expansion very expensive and not always an immediate repetition of existing business results, this can quickly translate into a cash flow problem.
All these problems can be avoided with experienced planning. At Foley Retail Consulting we can help and advise on avoiding these pitfalls.
Hidden growth potential
Growth does not always have to come in such visible form as more stores or products. If your retail strategy is improved, existing stores can be nurtured into impressive growth.
As retail advisors, we at Foley Retail Consulting have learned from experience that this improvement in retail strategy is where hidden retail growth lies. It often can be achieved with little or no extra cost and therefore provides instant profits making classical expansion more affordable!
Read more about our retail growth expertise in our case studies:
- Russian food retail market and its “low hanging fruit”
- Expansion strategy – specialist supermarket UK
Retail Turnarounds Expertise
Foley Retail Consulting are experts in evaluating and implementing turnaround situations. We know how to conserve resources, we know how to restructure overheads and teams and we know how to identify new strategies, which will set a retail business going in a positive direction.
If a business is unfixable, we will say it at the preliminary investigation point!
An objective unattached view of what needs to be changed, coupled with hands on experience means Foley Retail Consulting is capable of creating a solid strategy and forming a project management team to lead the turnaround or supporting existing management to ensure change is driven through.
Retail failures are mostly about poor concepts rather than just poor execution. Trying to execute a poor or out-dated concept normally just consumes huge amounts of money! Foley Retail Consulting has made a significant contribution to rescuing failing enterprises by restructuring the whole organisation, for examples in Poland, Bulgaria, Czech and Russia.
Often the need of a retail turnaround arises after a retail acquisition or merger of two businesses. Our references indicate that we are an ideal partner for Private Equity businesses investing in retail opportunities. Find out more about our due diligence services.
Read more about our retail turnarounds expertise in our case studies:
Retail Cost Management Expertise
Foley Retail Consulting most frequently requested project is to streamline retail operations. A combination of business process reorganisation, strict measurement of all tasks and ideal organisational structure allows for a staffing model to be built which will in most cases increase labour productivity and therefore save cost.
Arguably the best retailer on the planet for cost control is Aldi, as two of the partners at Foley Retail Consulting have a background at this prolific retailer, we have a track record second to none at reducing operation expenses!
The expertise relies on streamlining processes to the lowest level of complexity possible, creating a benchmark for how much resource is required and measuring the execution in a way that ensures constant improvement.
Creating constant comparison measurements keeps the new levels of cost under control. In the case of labour productivity and staffing costs organising an incentive for management to constantly improve on past performance ensures this vital area of cost is managed to a world-class level!
Read more about our retail cost management expertise in our case study Business process redesign and cost reduction programme – health & beauty retailer Ukraine!
Retail Organisational Management Structure Expertise
Many organisations outgrow their management structures several times in the life of the company. This is not so easy to see if you’re preoccupied with operational tasks! Foley Retail Consulting have several times been asked to assess the suitability of the organisational structure of a retail company when those responsible for the business are unconvinced of the company’s fitness for the future.
The current size of the organisation and what growth is planned presents an organisational challenge for every retail company. Finding a balance between an affordable management cost and being able to absorb growth smoothly requires very good planning. Major activities like rapid expansion, marketing including the new age medias, category management best practice, e-commerce and customer centricity mean that retail board structures have changed shape and average age dramatically in the last 15 years.
Foley Retail Consulting understands best practice in management structures for differing retail concepts, we can deliver logical reporting structures with a detailed responsibility matrix that allows both empowered teams and good controls. Different geographies have developed management structures in quite different ways in the past 10 years, for example emerging markets tend to hold financial control at more senior levels than more mature markets, however FRC has understood enough about differing business cultures over the years to be both progressive and cautious at the same time, when reorganising retail management structures.
The secret is always to put the right structure in place and populate it afterwards not the other way round. Sometimes an impartial outsider who understands the requirements but has no emotional attachment to the people can more easily manage that.
We at Foley Retail Consulting always attach KPI’s to any new structure and have on two occasions put a bonus scheme together to really motivate high performance. For example, the bonus programme with a consumer electronics company we have created in Belarus was an outstanding success with a 12% increase in sales occurring very shortly after implementation! On another occasion, we have developed a discount food retailer scheme, which has been well accepted but is at the time of writing this still only a few weeks old.
Finally, job descriptions are the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle in this arena. Often a topic that can be overlooked in importance! A good clear and up-to-date job description can be an ideal tool for management to constantly bring themselves or their subordinates back on track in terms of priorities. Well-written short and concise job descriptions are also essential for shaping training requirements and forcing the whole organisation to focus on the activities that bring the greatest business results.
Get in touch today for a free health check on your structure! Click here for a contact form!
Retail Category Management Expertise
“The absolute defining success factor of an individual retailer is: what it sells! In other words, its range of products and services. Everything else is support or window dressing.” Paul Foley, 2009
Modern Category Management (CM) is the best practice method to determine strategically what the range should actually look like, at any moment in time. Its major goals are to increase revenue and -profit, to reduce stock investment and space required. In addition, it represents a system easily adaptable to changes in competitive environment, customers’ needs or any other external factors.
The introduction of Category Management to a retailer usually starts with “reminding” them about their basic concept: who is their customer, why do they choose this particular retailer, what are and will be their needs in the future? The implementation process of modern category management usually takes 6-9 months, in order not to overload the current commercial team.
Category management best practice is about deep, regular and thorough analysis tools, which examine the role every product plays as part of a retailers assortment.
Foley Retail Consulting has recently successfully executed the implementation of a modern category management in Belarus with tremendous success. Here is an excerpt of the KPIs achieved within only 12 months: gross margin increase from 21 to 23%, SKUs count reduction from 64,800 to 48,500, cash flow increase by 48%, stock holding reduction from 38 to 31 days total stock.
For more details about our retail category management expertise, see our presentation on Category Management!
Retail Marketing Expertise
Successful retailing requires a relevant and corresponding retail marketing support programme creating the external communication to the target customers.
Having performed projects for retailers coming from various branches, geographies and market conditions, we have a good feel for what makes a successful marketing retail strategy. We are do not replace a retailers own marketing department or market ourselves as an external marketing agency, but we will assess current strategies and support our clients with the evaluation of new concepts. A big part of our contribution is to analyse if marketing concepts are, or can be, properly executed on the shop floor which is surprisingly often not the case, even with big retailers!
One particular example of our marketing expertise is illustrated by FRC’s engagement in either the development of new or the adaptation of existing customer loyalty programmes. In turbulent times with retailers facing increasing competition and higher concentrated markets, it is getting more and more important not only to acquire new customers, but to defend and keep the existing ones. Loyalty schemes are a powerful tool in this regard. Firstly, they facilitate getting to know the customers and their needs much better. Secondly, a good retail loyalty program can create far more targeted marketing campaigns and as a result increase the customer retention.
Lots of retailers in emerging markets attempt a loyalty programme which ends up in a pure discount card. This doesn’t bring the customer intelligence needed to run a proper loyalty scheme. The only thing achieved is an effective reduction of margins with no real value behind it.
Read in our case study how we have helped a hypermarket operator to successfully manage the transition from an ineffective discount card scheme to a fully functioning efficient retail loyalty programme.
You will find more about our retail marketing expertise in our case studies:
Retail Start-ups Expertise
Foley Retail Consulting has supported a number of start-up retailers in the following markets: South America (Colombia), Europe (Russia, Belarus, Poland), Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Oman) and Asia (Thailand). By providing a market entry concept and strategy, including a detailed economic and business plan, a precise recommendation on retail format, product range, distribution, branding, store locations and business targets for the first five years we have supported our clients with really accurate knowledge of the real costs and efforts needed to launch a new retail or FMCG business. This has often been used by our clients as support for initial fund raising at an early stage of the start-up venture.
In a further longer-term project (12-18 months) FRC has supported the detailed implementation of these plans for the development of a retail chain, accompanying the investor up to the first wave of store openings and beyond.
For further details, see our case study “Bringing the discount food store to emerging markets”.