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Harrods' three essentials for collaboration

simon finch harrods

Harrods director of distribution Simon Finch told the Drapers Operations Forum in London today that “breaking barriers” to collaboration has been fundamental to the luxury store’s progress.

Finch stressed that investing time in relationships with partners, suppliers and vendors has proved the “easiest” way to advance business, if sometimes the most “painful”.

“It’s important to be open and honest with your partners. It’s not just about retailers and brands, but also about opportunities in every bit of the operating model, including customers and corporate social responsibility,” he added.

Finch highlighted three drivers to meaningful collaboration: joining forces to resolve a problem; teaming up once an opportunity arises; and putting heads together on a day-to-day basis to strengthen existing relationships.

Separately, Finch said the referendum vote and resulting drop in sterling yielded a “fantastic” result for Harrods, but negotiations surrounding Brexit remain a concern.

“We’ve looked at it from all angles to figure out potential impact in these areas,” said Finch. “We’ve had to reconsider our operating model when it comes to how we can bring products in and how to deal with delays if customs will be affected. Product-wise it’s scary – we get a lot of product in from Europe.”

Additionally, retailers will need to consider whether they can become more organised to ensure brands are efficiently supplying data.

Finch said: “Retailers are always complaining about brands not supplying enough data but perhaps we’re also letting it down from our side.

“If we look to ask for data consistently, can we get brands to do the same thing?”

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