Lee Reed - Store Manager

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One myth or stereotype that a few of my friends have mentioned is that if you work in a shop you're either filling up shelves or you're picking up clothes off the floor.

It's not all about picking clothes up off the floor and making them look tidy; you have to be a business manager, you have to think really tactically, you have to have a strategic mindset and think "what am I doing within the next month, or two months. Now it's August, but am I thinking about Christmas in enough detail to make sure that I make the most of that?"

As Store Manager, I am the acting general manager for the store I operate in so I look after everything from sales, customer service, the standards - both legally, and the quality of the standards with the store; the people. So I've obviously got a team in my store, of nearly 100 people which I manage on a day-to-day basis.

A typical day for me would be: I'd be out of bed from half six in the morning, trying to get into the store for half seven, eight o'clock at the latest. I'll do a store team briefing, so I'll brief  the team in the store on the daily actions on what we're going to do and any updates on the information that's come through. I'll quickly walk the store first thing to make sure the standards are in place, that we look good and look sharp for our customers. And then I'll go to have a management huddle with my team around half past nine. Following that, I'll usually try to have a little bit of breakfast! 

Try to have a bit of a break because it's usually a full-on hour and half or two hours in the morning. But then after that, depending on what day it is I can be doing anything  from having meetings, reviewing commercial documentation and looking for what opportunities I've got within my store to make a difference in terms of sales. But more importantly, it is about the people; about how you drive performance through your people within the stores as well. Because they deliver the rest of the results for you.

When you're a Store Manager, it's not just about your store sometimes. It can be about wider business issues. And it can be about wider regional issues in the region you work on. Most recently, it will be about doing a profitability piece of work and looking at how profitable are our stores across the region and how can we drive that profitability within our stores.

Within my career progression, within three years of coming out of university, life's completely changed from those student days. Within those three years, I now run a multi-million pound business with nearly 100 members of my team. I am responsible for absolutely everything on a month-to-month basis and delivering those targets within that business. I think that's something that not many other graduates schemes offer you: so much autonomy within so few years.

As a Store Manager, you are always very formal. So I will always make sure I'm wearing my best business suit. Daily, to work as well. From a point of  view, that  the rest of the team wear a uniform or some sort. It is quite a formal environment because you're portraying what the brand looks like. If you're in a small town centre like myself, it's a quieter atmosphere so it's not so busy, but there is plenty more hustle and bustle when you get near the city centre stores such as Marble Arch in London, which is our largest store.