ThisIsRetail’s 2015 Wipe
posted: 22 December, 2015
It has been a pretty exciting year in the world of retail so, as we wave goodbye to 2015, it’s probably a good idea to run through what has been another special year at RMC.
Not every project neatly fits around the festive season and back in early January we were putting the finishing touches to the brand new UK Retail team we had assembled for a global software company operating in the space where innovation, technology and retail meet.
We were delighted to be invited to sit in on their first group strategy session and what an energetic, vibrant and exciting room that was! Within a few hours the drab office-grey walls were covered with luminous post-it notes as ideas sparked across the room. This was, of course, followed by an appropriate level of wining and dining to celebrate their first gathering and ended with a suitably passionate, but amicable argument over which is better – Irish Whiskey or proper Whisky (spelled correctly from Scotland)? Fortunately, both parties retired agreeing to disagree and endorsing the need for further research and product testing.
The start of the year also saw us taking on a new client in the shape of a city-based, local, independent hardware and trade-supplier chain. A great business, one that has stood the test of time and keen to take that next big step towards modernisation and expansion.
As is usually the case, going out to meet our client in their own stores, offices, warehouses or distribution centres was absolutely vital. Not just in securing the business (although I do like to think we’re pretty charming) but in getting a real feel for a company, its ethos, its quirks and its foibles, before coming to a decision on how we’d like to help. In this instance a blend of recruitment and consultancy services were decided upon to achieve our client’s strategic aims. We are delighted to have forged an excellent working relationship and look forward to collaborating with them again in the New Year, and for the avid RMC blog readers out there, I look forward to keeping you up to date on our progress.
Also looking forward into 2016, Azerbaijan’s first major super/hypermarket business is due to open in the early part of the new year with an RMC-placed Managing Director at the helm. A great business with a very strong vison, it’s one to watch among many in one of the fastest growing retail environments in Eurasia.
One of the things I have come to really appreciate and respect while working at RMC is the number of both clients and candidates with which we have a strong and established relationship, in some cases, spanning decades. Gaining that trust and the necessary understanding has taken enormous amounts of hard work over the years and as a relatively new addition to the team, I have done my utmost to protect and treasure these special relationships.
In the UK and Europe, we are very happy to count amongst these close and highly valued clients, several of the leading organisations in the European factory outlet and shopping centre sector. This year has been especially exciting for me personally, working on two projects for a first of its kind mixed used development in the Midlands which opened with a big splash in Autumn of this year. Also, in a first of its type project for our client, we placed a talented retailer to lead the rejuvenation of a key city-centre property. A really exciting assignment with the potential to do achieve great things for the community as a whole.
Further afield, my colleagues have had notable successes in mainland Europe and beyond. Tasked to find individuals at the top of their game in terms of leasing and commercial property development in northern Italy, we’re delighted to have placed several candidates with one of the world’s foremost operators and developers of shopping destinations. In North Africa, Joseph Leftwich has been instrumental in securing Libya’s first international franchise partnership. Their first store (in neighbouring Malta) has just opened in the first week of December and there are many more in the pipeline!
In the Autumn, we were enormously pleased to see Debenhams, the UK’s leading department store chain, open the doors to its new flagship store in Moscow. This was the second to open in Russia under a deal brokered by RMC, and, notably, was the anchor tenant of a landmark, super-regional shopping centre project, Aviapark, in the north of the capital.
As the Scottish Winter arrived, our MD, James Logie, jetted off to the sunnier climes of Cannes to attend MAPIC – the annual global retail real estate jamboree. They host a prestigious awards ceremony and we were delighted to see McArthurGlen’s new Vancouver Airport development scooped the coveted ‘Best Outlet Centre’ award. Having partnered with McArthurGlen since the mid 1990’s and having placed the centre manager for Vancouver, we’ll happily bask in some of the reflected glory there!
Appropriately, and to round off what has been a pretty exciting year for us, RMC was shortlisted for ‘International Business of the Year‘ award at this year’s Scottish Business Awards! We never need much of an excuse for a knees-up here and a star-studded evening of drinks, dinner and glamour in our nation’s capital was no exception.
We managed to restrain the ladies from invading the stage when George Clooney was speaking and somehow managed to restrain our sides from splitting while Rob Brydon was expertly hosting the actual awards, and I even bumped into Chris Evans. Literally, his security personnel were really very kind and understanding! This was a record breaking event, being the largest sit-down banquet in UK history, and raised a vast sum of money for a number of very worthy causes. Whilst we were pipped at the post for the award, it was a really great night and as they only announced the winner from each category, we like to think we came a very close second!
I’ve met some truly outstanding individuals during the course of this year and I know my colleagues feel the same way. Whether it’s franchising in emerging markets, finding the top retail operations specialists in middle England, advising niche retail chains or putting together your businesses strategic retail team, we really look forward to working with you again next year, and of course with new ones too. Thanks to all of our clients, candidates, contacts, friends, competitors and compatriots for helping make such a wonderful 2015, and we wish you and yours all the very best for a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2016.