Location The Charlotte Street Hotel, London 6pm
PODCAST: Get the inside track on what it’s like to run the UK’s premier department store chain.
Martin Schofield joined Harvey Nichols in 2003 as Head of IT and embarked on major systems and business process change. Following successful implementation of new merchandising, POS and DC systems Martin was promoted to the position of IT & Logistics Director in July 2006.
Martin was promoted to Retail Operations Director from April 2009 and, whilst retaining control of IT and Logistics, now has direct control over all Harvey Nichols regional stores as well as being the prime contact for overseas licensee stores.
Department stores in focus
The department store sector came to a virtual halt in 2008, with 0.1% growth. The core department store shopper, the 45+s saw their incomes cut by falling interest rates, and were hit by pension worries, declining house prices and fuel and food inflation. In 2009 we expect the market to be even tougher, falling -2.6% to £13.95bn.
In 2008 and 2009 together, the sector is set to increase its floorspace by 5.6%. This extra capacity is coming into a market with consumer demand in steep decline. As a result, average sales densities per square foot will decline by 5.7% in 2009 alone, to £353 per sq ft, putting operating profit margins under severe pressure.