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Editor's Comment: Adopt an agile culture to boost productivity

Alongside what seems like a constant stream of company voluntary arrangements, the industry is also experiencing a flurry of people moves, and there were two surprising announcements in the last week.

First, Missguided CEO of online Gareth Jones is leaving the business after just eight months, while former Mothercare chief executive Mark Newton-Jones will return to the role just five weeks after stepping down.

The increasing changes in leadership at fashion retailers reflect a wider industry trend. There is a growing level of uncertainty in the market, particularly in terms of setting the best strategy to drive a business forward. Some retailers are also unclear as to the best leadership skills needed to run a business in a multichannel world, where shopper expectations are higher than ever.

Increasing productivity in retail has extremely positive commercial advantages

One way some businesses are doing this is to adapt to new agile ways of working. Building a “fail fast” culture allows businesses to test and trial initiatives, innovations and technologies, and then quickly decide whether they work and should be rolled out, or if they should be dropped.

“Design sprints” are increasingly becoming part of an agile working culture and we investigate how these can work effectively in our feature on fail fast culture. Allowing individuals and teams the creative freedom and opportunity to put forward an idea and implement it through these quick tests can bring out some of the best initiatives from the most unlikely of places.

This is all part of the challenges that we are delving into at this year’s Drapers Fashion Forum, which takes place in London on 11 October. The premise of the event is to help retailers become fit for the future, and this year’s theme is focusing on increasing productivity.

As retailers strive to adapt to the changing market and evolving consumer behaviour, it has become more and more apparent that increasing productivity in retail has extremely positive commercial advantages.

The forum will look to the future and investigate what the fashion retail landscape will look like in a year, five years or even 10 years. Topics will include what retailers are investing in, how they are adapting organisational structures, streamlining supply chains and back-end operations, how the store will function alongside digital platforms, how future consumers will be shopping and on what platforms and, ultimately, how retailers can future-proof their businesses to survive and thrive.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Trouble is. Everyone talks agile. Even Marks and Spencer’s. This is far from new thinking. It’s just a symptom of this sector. Way behind on coming to the party. Drapers should have had this a forum topic years ago.

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