Managing a store relocation project
A Marks and Spencer case study

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Page 2: Why relocate?

Marks And Spencer 2 Image 6Paul explains some of the background to the project. “Kendal is a busy market town in Cumbria on the south-eastern edge of the Lake District National Park, which is a popular tourist area. The town is close to the M6 motorway and about 25 miles north of Lancaster. The map shows our current store in Kendal at 18-20 Stricklandgate.

It’s a prime location in the High Street, where we are at the heart of shopping activity and we pick up a lot of passing trade. However, there are a number of problems with the site. The selling space, at 9000 sq. ft, is far too small to exploit the sales potential available in Kendal - the sales per square foot performances we’re achieving clearly show we can support a far larger store. The narrow frontage doesn’t reflect the offer behind the doors, and the long narrow shape of the store and bottle-neck entrance don’t help either when you’re trying to create exciting merchandising. A worse problem is access to the rear of the store for deliveries - our lorries struggle to get down the narrow access roads and we pay a substantial rent for access rights across private land to get to our loading bay.”

“Last August the company decided it really must sort out the Kendal situation once and for all and relocation became the only real option. In 1993, I heard Fine-Food were under pressure from local competition and our acquisitions people in the Estates Department started seriously considering this site as an option. It is an unusual relocation choice, because we are effectively vacating a prime High Street site for a site that is off-pitch in terms of passing footfall and has to attract customers in its own right.”

“However, the site does have a number of significant advantages. For a start, it is the ideal footage we want, with the sales area all on one floor in a very workable footprint - which should lead to a significantly increased turnover but with proportionately less staff and management. The new site has a large car park (160 spaces, although 70 of these are underground) which is ideal for food shoppers. Access for deliveries is excellent, with a dedicated entrance and purpose-built underground delivery area.”

Project management

Mike explains his role in the project. “Because the Kendal scheme is relatively small, I have been delegated much of the project management responsibility on the construction side. My job is to ensure all the necessary building and fitting-out work is completed on time, within the costs that have been agreed and to the right specification.”

Katy explains her role as Store Planner for the project. “ We focus on ensuring new stores are designed in a way that meets the commercial requirements of the business, maximise sales in an attractive store environment and ensure stores are operationally efficient to minimise costs. I liaise with all departments that have an interest in the design, building and operation of the store. I must ensure that the final layout meets the needs of the Store Manager, Divisional Management and also the Buying Groups - they are my clients. My brief therefore covers a range of layout and design issues – looking at the way stock is moved around the store, positioning walkways to facilitate customer movement around the store, positioning fixtures such as food counters, fridges, tills and displays and deciding the width of gangways.”

“ I will also get involved later in the project to plan the loose merchandising equipment (racks etc.). We need to know what we’re doing on these things about 12 weeks before opening, because it can take so long sometimes to order some of the equipment.”

Marks and Spencer | Managing a store relocation project