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How I got here - Stuart Brown

Tesco’s F&F franchise merchandise planning manager’s broad experience has helped him progress.

What does your diary look like today?

This role has quite a broad remit and there are a lot of meetings involving many different departments throughout the business. For example today I have a risk and opportunities conference call with our Saudi partner talking about their stores, how they’re trading, helping them to maximise the profit return for their stores.

I also have a meeting with our IT department covering future requirements to support growth. Finally we have a trade review with a couple of our core teams, sharing information and ideas to help offer better ranges to our customers in our franchise markets. My role involves working with our franchise partner to ensure their stores are fully stocked with the most relevant range for their market, and to do that I have to liaise with the buying teams here in the UK. We make sure we select the most suitable range for the market.

What meeting are you most looking forward to today?

The risk and opportunities meeting. Coming from a merchandising background you always wish to deliver better ranges to customers. That’s the sort of meeting I enjoy most. It really allows us to see what our ranges are doing in store, how the customer is receiving them and how we can improve them. It’s great to see sales reactions and customers really liking what we’re doing.

How did you get to where you are today?

I left university and I had a real passion for fashion retail. I’ve taken quite a standard route through merchandising. I started as a merchandising admin assistant and I’ve worked my way up. I’ve been lucky to work on a number of different product categories, and for smaller retailers to bigger ones like Arcadia and Tesco. That’s given me a real breadth of experience and helped my progression.

What has been your career highlight?

The main one would be here at F&F. It’s being part of a massive global brand and going into the franchise role, which has so much scope for expansion.
It’s really now a case of watch this space for F&F worldwide.

Who is your mentor?

The majority have been merchandise directors, all of whom I’ve had a lot of respect for. You look up to them in their position and you look to them for guidance. I can say that here it’s been Mark Laxton [Tesco’s merchandise planning director]. He’s just been a great support, pushing me and challenging me to achieve more.

What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you?

To set goals for myself, to remain focused, to consult others for advice, and make my career what I want it to be.

How do you see your career progressing?

Hopefully here at F&F. I want to build my merchandising background further and become a broader retailer by experiencing other functions.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Don’t be afraid to take on new responsibilities. And above all be honest, hard-working and get on with people.

Salaries for this position range from £45,000 to £65,000 (estimate provided by Quest Search & Selection)



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