‘Don’t be afraid of doing things differently,’ leading retailer James Timpson advises shopkeepers as the 2012 Independent Achievers Academy concluded in November.
The UK’s top independent news and convenience store operators were told to put their staff at the top of their businesses by James Timpson OBE, chief executive of the 962-outlet Timpson retail empire, at the Independent Achievers Academy 2012 gala in London last week.
Gathering in London at the end of this year’s eight month Academy programme to recognise the UK’s best local retailers, guests were inspired by Timpson’s story of how he has developed the family business he runs with his father. His secrets include only hiring great people, having an upside down culture where the people who serve customers are allowed to make as many decisions as possible, and a weekly bonus system.
“Only hire people who are happy and cheerful,” said Mr Timpson.
The aim of the gala is to recognise achievement and 13 awards were split between 11 retailers from all parts of the UK. “The Academy is focused on continuous improvement” said Kate Daw, IAA Project Manager. “We help retailers and suppliers work together to grow sales and profits in local shops”
Paul Mathers of Sherston Post Office and Stores in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, won the award for Shop Layout. “The IAA has taught us so much and has helped us to grow our business. We are very proud to be a part of the academy,” he said.
Roli Ranger of Londis, Ascot, Berkshire, won the overall award. He said that James Timpson’s views resonated with many retailers at the event. “And to top it all we won the BIG one! My team and I are still on a high.”
The Academy is supported by the UK’s 12 leading suppliers. “The IAA is unique; it is a yearlong of sharing of best practice through Retail Newsagent and Retail Express. There is something for everyone to learn from and there is an opportunity to really put people on a pedestal and demonstrate the best of the best”, said Jeremy Blackburn, Head of UK Communications, JTI, one of the 12 supporters.