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Homebase investing in next generation of store managers

Home enhancement retailer Homebase is continuing with its major redevelopment programme as it targets the next generation of store managers.

The programme, which was announced at the end of last year, includes investment in stores and services that are designed to offer home and garden inspiration to customers. Stores like the newly transformed Battersea store showcase how the retailer is finding new ways to help people live in a home they love.

The Battersea store, like Ruislip, Solihull and Aylesford, Kent before it, has undergone a major refit with a new decorating centre including touch screen technology to help inspire customers to transform the look of rooms in their homes. The stores also offer a free interior design service where City & Guilds trained decorating consultants can help customers create personalised mood boards using swatches of flooring, tiling, wallpaper and paint materials.

Graham Heald, retail director for Homebase said: "Investment in our stores and the increasing use of technology is a vital part of our long-term plan to offer a customer experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

"We’re also passionate about customer service and colleague training, which is a key part of the new store format and a major part of Homebase’s development.

"That’s why we are keen to attract new Store Managers who can inspire and encourage their teams to deliver this exceptional customer experience."

Successful candidates who are employed to work in the next generation of Homebase stores will have a natural understanding of people and the confidence to know that service quality is every bit as crucial as the sale. They will also know how to use the technology in Homebase stores - which includes some high-tech ways of getting instant customer feedback – and make it easy for customers to understand. Stores like Battersea will be Wi-Fi enabled and colleagues have been equipped with tablet devices and headsets to help communication and customer service.

Staff will also need to have a strong commercial sense as well as the ability to coach their colleagues, many of whom will be trained as experts in decorating or horticulture to City and Guilds levels, to be ‘Customer Champions’.

Apart from the decorating centre, Homebase’s new store formats feature kitchen displays from exclusive brands Odina and Schreiber and furniture ranges presented in inspiring room sets. Homeware and lighting ranges are also set to inspire and provide those all-important finishing touches, alongside made-to-measure curtain and carpet services. To help customers complete their projects, the store also features the products required for every day repair and maintenance.

The inspiration continues into the garden centre with Qualcast, Garden on a Roll and ranges inspired by the retailer's Gold winning Chelsea Flower Show designer Adam Frost. Concession ‘stores within a store’ from Habitat and Laura Ashley are also present in many locations.

Craig Parris, a Homebase store manager, said: "It is an exciting time to join Homebase and lead a team in one of our new format stores. The experience has completely lived up to my expectations, and enables me to build on my previous experience at other large retailers including Marks and Spencer and B&Q.

"I feel I have the autonomy to coach and develop my team to give their best and deliver results, and the tools to help make this happen.

"It’s a fabulous opportunity to lead a fantastic team, be bold, and get results."

Source : The Retail Bulletin

13 August 2013
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