WorkingDads.com Flexible Working Interview

At WHSmith, we recognise the importance of flexibility in our workplace to support employees in balancing their career and family life. Here’s Working Dads interview with Scott Loudon – Group Recruitment Manager on why flexible working has helped him maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Happy #internationalmensday to all the working fathers out there.

Click here to read the full interview: https://www.workingdads.co.uk/whsmith-flexible-working/

#workingdads #flexibleworking #WHSmith

Flexible working policy concept. Piece of paper on table.

WHSmith Travel “Smithies”

Last week we celebrated our 2019 WHSmith Travel ‘Smithies’ Awards, recognising deserving winners within our Travel and International UK Head Office, all nominated and voted for by our colleagues in Head Office.

From over 150 nominations, we celebrated ten winners across categories awarding everything from Innovation & Creativity to Team Player, Stores Champion to Most Inspiring Manager.

Congratulations to all our winners and nominees, and thank you for all your brilliant work!

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WHSmith acquires Marshalls Retail Group (MRG)

We’re delighted to announce the acquisition of Marshall Retail Group (MRG), a fast-growing and highly successful US travel retailer, for $400m. This is in addition to the strong performance we’ve seen across the WHSmith Group, announced today.

The acquisition will significantly accelerate the growth of our Travel business overseas, and broadly doubles our international business. The US travel retail market is the largest in the world, worth $3.2bn annually. The combined group is ideally placed to compete across news, books, convenience, tech accessories and specialty retail in the US travel market.

MRG operates more than 170 North American locations and generates the majority of its revenue through the sale of news, gifts and convenience products. It has already won 36 additional stores, with 24 due to open next year.

MRG has a strong track record of winning tenders due to its differentiated approach, creating a strong sense of place for the consumer and landlord. We look forward to working with Michael C. Wilkins, CEO of Marshall, and his team to drive continued growth across Marshall, WHSmith and InMotion. Welcome to our new colleagues at MRG, we look forward to the exciting road ahead.

Follow the link below to view our corporate site annoucement:

http://www.whsmithplc.co.uk/investors/results_and_presentations/

MRG

From Finance Graduate to Trading Director – Al Aldous speaks to Rethink Retail!

From Finance Graduate to Trading Director. Our High Street Trading Director for Books, News and Confectionery, Alastair Aldous spoke to Rethink Retail to share his journey at WHSmith.

Al has been at WHSmith for 15 years, starting as a Finance Graduate and rising through the business to now being responsible for Books, News and Confectionery trading. click the link below to see the full interview and see how Al’s career has grown with him during his time at WHSmith and how he has taken each opportunity to try something new.

Al’s story is one of many in the business, so if you’re looking for a career that will challenge, drive and deliver for you; then we want to hear from you!

Full interview – https://lnkd.in/eN7ZD33

Al Re Think

Undergraduate Placement Year comes to an end…

This week see’s the end of Kate and Mikaila’s placement year here at our Head Office in Swindon, Wiltshire. Kate in IT and Mikaila in HR have been an asset to our teams and we would like to wish them every success with their return to uni. Thank you for all your hard work and we are pleased to hear that you have learnt a huge amount whilst with WHSmith. Good luck with your final year!!!

Mikaila and Kate

Introducing Preetha McCann…

“I’m delighted to have joined WHSmith, whose stores I remember spending a lot of time in when I was growing up.  I’ve joined the business as International Finance Director and am excited to be joining a fast growing business which continues to innovate in the year that it celebrates its 225th year anniversary as the world’s oldest retail chain.

I have substantial and varied experience of working at other retailers – John Lewis, Tesco and Sainsbury’s – as well as a professional services background in consulting at Accenture and at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

I live in Ealing in West London with my two sons who are aged 9 and 6.  I was born in India and lived in Tanzania, before my family came to the UK when I was 5 years old.  I seem to spend a lot of my spare time on my children’s interests – Chelsea FC, Justin Bieber, rugby and Harry Potter – but the grown up in me enjoys travelling, reading, cooking, visiting galleries and seeing friends.”

 

Preetha

Introducing Frankie Adams…

“I’m half French and half Welsh (an unusual combination!).  My mum, who is French, says she is disappointed with how English I have turned out.

I’m married with 2 kids – Ella (9) and Toby (5) who keep me on my toes.  My favourite thing is watching Toby’s football matches and Ella’s tennis matches, they make me proud!

I started my career on the selling side of things on the sales and marketing graduate scheme at Nestle. My first year was spent selling chocolates out of the boot of my car to small independent shops which was good fun and taught me a lot.  After 5 years at Nestle I then moved onto the buying side of things and I have spent 6 years at ASDA doing various buying roles and latterly 8 years at Wilko as Trading Director.  I like to focus on building ranges that customers love, delivering results, ensuring good processes and structures are in place, keeping it simple and having fun.

I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far. I particularly like the people and the culture and the way we pull together to get things done at pace. I’m especially impressed with our financial rigour which is the strongest I’ve ever experienced by a distance. I also want to make sure, in my team, that we talk about the customer more and spend more time in Retail.”

Frankie Adams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Tenacity, resilience and fantastic people skills”

I Joined in June 1999 as a weekend Sales Assistant in Peckham High Street Store. I applied to WHSmith as the brand appealed to me and initially only intended to stay for a short period of time…

After joining Peckham I was soon asked to deputise and run the store on Sundays, this was during my university time so the money helped. I graduated in Medical Biochemistry and Human Genetics and wasn’t really sure what I was going to do but knew I loved the WHSmith environment.

WHSmith offered me to join the Stores Graduate Programme which I snapped up for the next 12 months. On completion of the Graduate Programme I was offered a Business Accounts Manager role which entailed me dealing with all business to business sales out of London stores – I managed to increase these sales to ¼ of a million pound for the business which was a great achievement. Throughout this role I gained an understanding of bad debts and how we dealt with these as a business which led to me after one year of being offered a position within our Travel Head Office based in our Loss Prevention team.

After a short stint in the Head Office I went back to stores and took on our High Street store in Elephant and Castle as a Store Manager for approx two years, managing a team of approx 15 people. I was then offered the Store Manager position for our flagship High Street Store on Oxford Street Plaza which was daunting for me because of the profile of the store, but I took it in my stride and managing a team of c.50 had a successful Two years there.

I then moved onto our Lewisham High Street Store as SM for about a year. At this time in my career I had decided that with family we would be relocating to Bristol, I approached my line manager at the time and expressed I didn’t want to leave the business and WHSmith supported me fully in finding a role suitable within my desired location – South West.

I was offered our High Street, Bath store which was at the time was in our top 20 performing stores in the UK. So this was a big achievement and I felt honoured that the business supported my relocation and believed in my development and success. I managed a c.60 strong team in Bath for a couple of years and this increased my curiosity further about the wider business and my development opportunities.

I took a position as Stores Operations Manager – General Merchandising, Books and Marketing within our High Street Head Office to gain exposure to our HO environment and also develop my experience within the HO environment. Over this period I managed to network and build my profile across other areas of the business and through doing this after a couple of years, I was offered the opportunity to become an Area Manager for Post Office. This was huge for me as I had managed to progress throughout my career and now had the opportunity to take on my own region, which is what I had dreamed of! I was responsible for about 30 Post Offices across a large region.

Following this I came back into Head Office and led a project for British Book Shops acquisitions which again exposed me to other areas of the business and developed my skill set. It was in this role that I started to enquire about our Travel business as that was going through rapid growth and I managed to secure an Area Manager position for the South West for our Travel business.

This was a complete change and I didn’t anticipate the different challenges I would be faced with. It was like moving to a completely different company; however I loved it and had the support behind me from the business all the way. It taught me lots of new skills and felt my grounding in High Street certainly helped with the transition. I did this role for three years and then got asked to take on the Regional Business Manager role for Central London – which entailed taking on some huge businesses – our mainline stations! After a year I also gained Greater London and this is where I am working now.

My proudest achievement throughout my career so far is, well I have two: 1. my consistent career development which I never anticipated when I joined the company 2. Winning ‘Store Manager of the year for High Street’ in our Bath Store.

I think to succeed in WHSmith stores you need tenacity, resilience, fantastic people skills, and entrepreneurial attitude and have the ability to balance; dealing with analysing figures and hitting sales targets whilst building on strategy and your people’s development and alongside all of this managing the day to day running. You have to be on board with genuinely putting customers at the heart of what you do, especially in challenging environment like Travel.

Ryan Richardson – Regional Business Manager

Responsible for 57 stores and counting

I completed work experience at WHSmith whilst at school, leading to a permanent weekend job. After my degree, I joined on a full-time basis and completed the Supervisor Development Programme, which led to a Supervisor role in our Derby store.

It wasn’t long before I was managing a small store of my own. Moves to bigger stores followed, along with a field-based secondment in the Stores Trading Losses team. I then took the step up to Store Manager of the High Street flagship store, Meadowhall, in Sheffield. Company development programmes also meant I got to work on regional projects, including the roll-out of our Cardmarket stores; all of which helped me to get to where I am today. Throughout my career, people have supported my progression.

You don’t need qualifications to advance – you just need self-belief.

Deb Proud – Regional Business Manager

“A happy team who feel appreciated”

I joined WHSmith travel in May 2009, my background was in catering which I was made redundant from and as my mum at the time was working for WHSmith she encouraged me to apply. I was looking for flexible hours due to being a parent and WHSmith offered me a 16 hour contract as a weekend Supervisor into Kings Mill Hospital. This soon increased to a 24 hour contract as I was enjoying what I was doing and could take on more shifts. We went through some tough times and staff costs were being cut and redundancies were happening, however I secured my role and actually got the opportunity to step up temporarily to cover sickness. In recognition of this I was promoted to Team Leader of the store and deputised as Store Manager to cover any sickness etc. A short while after this and due to the current SM retiring, I was given the opportunity to become Store Manager.

Within my first year as Store Manager our store was awarded ‘Regional Store of the Year’, this is something that made me so proud, not just of my achievement but also the whole teams and the fact that senior management recognised us. We then secured a new regional manager who saw potential in me as an individual and encouraged my development, which without that I wouldn’t have pushed myself.

I was asked to support East Midlands Airport as they had no manager for a short period of time. This was a complete eye opener as it was so different to my hospital store, for a start it had multiple stores and also I had to build and maintain a strong working relationship with the landlord. I improved standards within the store and couldn’t believe the profile of our airport stores, so this taught me a lot, we used to get mystery shoppers from the landlord!

After successfully supporting East Midlands I was asked to support with Lincoln County Hospital alongside my store to help with some improvement areas and I then also supported Derby Rail, again to support with improvement areas and help build the landlord relationships.

Working in the different formats in Travel has really helped my development as a Store Manager. It’s really important to me to ensure I have a happy team and that they feel appreciated. Working in hospitals requires such empathy as your customers are far different to those you experience in an airport!

My biggest achievement was gaining the ‘store of the year’ award and we were given a voucher which we all went out for a nice meal with as a team!

Sarah Draycott – Store Manager