Drapers gives you an exclusive sneak peak of our Close-Up interview with Tesco clothing chief executive Jason Tarry, ahead of the full interview in this weekend’s edition.
In July your role was expanded to include the UK to your existing responsibilities for central Europe. You’ve since combined the European and UK design teams. Why did you do this? A trend is a trend, isn’t it? And, if we’re talking about the fact that the world is becoming smaller, I think without any shadow of doubt there are global trends and therefore it makes sense for us to be able to focus our resources. It means that we can do a better job for customers, because we don’t have to set up two design departments and spread our resources, we can set up one. It makes more sense on lots of levels – from customer perspective making sure we are capturing the right trends, and from an efficiency perspective as well.
This year you’ve been pushing ahead with international expansion, having partnered with Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair & Co (SJSC) to launch a new franchise model. Are you tailoring your products to specific markets?
What we find is that the positioning of the brand works everywhere. The international brand has got the same handwriting - good quality, contemporary, broad appeal fashion at great prices - which seems to work everywhere. We do have quite a lot of range overlap between the different regions. So for example, the UK and Irish ranges are exactly the same, and the ranges across central Europe and Turkey are exactly the same. And then between them there is the opportunity for more overlap.
As a fast-moving supermarket fashion retailer, how are you ensuring that you create a special shopping experience for customers at F&F? I think there is still a big opportunity to develop a real distinct look and feel for our F&F clothing branded offer. We already have quite a different fixturization in our larger clothing mats, and you will see a different flooring and lighting. However, I still think there is a good opportunity for us to be able to take some of the ideas that we’ve developed with our standalone business, or with our department store business [both in central Europe], to try and take that a bit further. I think it is quite important for customers that we provide the right environment for them be able to shop for clothing in.
Who has been your mentor?
I have been really lucky at Tesco in that regard. Throughout my career I have had a number of people that I have been able to work for or with who have really helped me. My advice to anyone else would be that whoever you work for, and whoever you work with, you can always learn something from them to help you to be the best you could be.
Read the full interview in this week’s August 18 edition.