20 September, 2017

My M&S Life: Josie

Meet Josie. She’s Visual Merchandising Section Manager at our Cheshire Oaks store. Turn up at the store when it opens at 9am and you’re guaranteed that everything will be looking the best it can be. That’s because Josie and her team have already been in for a couple of hours.

“I arrive at 7am and the first thing I’ll do is say ‘hello’ to the team. I believe in forging personable relationships and this sets them up for the day,” Josie says. Then it’s a walk round with her Section Coordinator. “During this time, we’ll scrutinise standards and make sure that window displays will grab the attention of the passer-by. I also check on sales figures and footfall as these enable me to identify any areas that need additional visual focus.”

When the doors open at 9am, Josie will take a tour of the store with other managers, before a full management huddle to glean the important commercial information. At 10am, Josie will hold a quick team brief and that changes day to day to keep things fresh. “On Mondays we focus on any top lines, Tuesday on management updates. Wednesday’s brief is all around the customer and team energising. Thursday is a day for sales and buzz sessions, and Friday’s is called ‘tidy Friday’.” Josie believes implicitly in engaging her team by cascading down any key business messages, providing motivation on the shop floor and setting up team competitions during peak times.

By noon, after a quick but well-deserved break, Josie will be on the shop floor with her team where she’ll remain for the next few hours. “I make sure that my whole team is focussed on the customer and driving sales. That includes me as I believe in leading from the front.” During this time, she’ll spot things where improvements can be made which can provide useful feedback for her team.

The afternoon will often continue with projects or events that Josie is heading up. “As a Visual Merchandising manager I am extremely lucky as I am able to get involved in lots of extra projects, internal and external. This is also the time that I would utilise Yammer, the M&S social media page.” At 3pm, all the Section Managers will get together for an hour to discuss store KPIs and upcoming events.

Josie loves her job and she’s been working towards it since joining as a Christmas temp at our Chester store back in 2011. When our Cheshire Oaks store opened, Josie became Section Coordinator for Peak in Lingerie & Beauty. Then she applied to join our Trainee Section Manager Scheme and took on a Late Night Section Manager role looking after Womenswear, Beauty, Lingerie and Backstage, before moving into her current job. “M&S has a great career path including the newly launched apprenticeship scheme. The benefits and pay at M&S are remarkable, including the share save scheme, staff choices and the staff discount. And there’s a real family feel to the business.”

Josie strives to make every moment special for our customers – and has a great example to prove it: “I spotted a post on social media which said a customer had lost a comforter for her baby. The comforter had sold out everywhere online and in store; I managed to track the item down via Yammer from a Store Manager and hand-deliver it to the customer’s house.”

Above and beyond the call…

Find out more about Visual Merchandising opportunities available here.

Inside M&S