Page 3: Research
Paul explains, “In the case of Kendal, the whole process really got underway once the Estates Department had kicked off serious interest in the Fine-Food site on 9th August 1993. I was involved from the beginning when we were doing the feasibility research, arguing vigorously in favour of the resite. A lot of research went into estimating the turnover and a host of factors were considered – existing sales performances, the proposed selling space available, the local customer profile, the size of the catchment population, local competition and so on. ”
Mike has been closely involved in the planning activities at Head Office and he picks up the story. “At the start of September we then went through to the preparatory planning stage, during which the scheme was subjected to progressively more and more detailed examination and had to pass through a series of Project Boards before it could gain approval to proceed to the Capital Evaluation Committee (CEC) in early November. The preparatory planning stage started with probably a month’s work by a skeleton design team drawing up a broad outline of the proposed scheme. Once this had been agreed by the Project Board, we then studied the scheme in detail.
Our Architects, Corporate Designers and Store Planner produced detailed plans and layouts, even down to walkways and the location and size of the main sales departments. We needed detailed layouts at this stage because of the implications for costs and plant requirements. Once the final Project Board was happy with these we could then go to the CEC for approval for the funds and the go-ahead.”
“After the initial feasibility research in August, we went into negotiations with Fine-Food and we had to do the background planning in strict confidence. We had to be careful not to spark off any rumours of our interest in the site, which might upset the existing Fine-Food staff, until everything had been settled.”
“The project was approved by the Capital Evaluation Committee within a couple of weeks. All the research showed the Kendal scheme would achieve the required returns, so the Directors gave us the okay on the expenditure without a problem. As soon as we had approval we went to tender on the design and build contract for the store.”
Paul Mellor has also been involved throughout the planning process. “I’m making sure that I have an input on the internal design of the store, because of my commercial management interest. The sales floor plan is mainly developed by Store Planning, who work to a successful design formula. Throughout the preparatory planning stages, I fed in my views on the location and sizes of departments and on the positioning of customer service desks, tills, telephones and so on. I also want a canopy over the entrance - it rains so much in Kendal I can see staff getting very wet whilst they open with their bags to get through the card swipe.”