Busy period for us retailers

Published by Matthew Deaves on Friday, 08 Nov 2013

It is a busy period for us retailers with Christmas preparation building momentum. I’m sure many of you are aware that outside of Oxford Summer School I am Managing Director of the Irish department store Clerys. I am pleased with the direction the company is heading and the team have been tremendously supportive and positive. This has been challenged with the recent storm damage experienced on 25th July and the store has remained closed up until now. We will be opening on 21st November in time for the Christmas rush and everyone involved are all enthusiastic with our ‘new’ store and cannot wait to welcome back our loyal customers and of course, the new.

But I digress, 2013 has been an exciting year for OSS in which we have found a home for the Foundation school at St. Catherine’s College. I was encouraged to read through the delegate and company feedback forms from the Foundation and Academy and I’m delighted to say we received our highest feedback score to date! Support from the retail industry, be it through companies with Group Directors, tutors or speakers themselves have really helped solidify our motto of run by retailers for retailers.

All of this has come in only the Foundation’s second year of existence. The training programme aimed at developing up and coming retail managers to reach their full potential has established its place in our offering. Huge thanks must also go to those who volunteer their time, in particular, the Chairman, Neil Phillips of Marks and Spencer, who has stepped aside to let Vice Chair, Kim Kimber of Morley Stores take the position in 2014. We are excited to bring in her former place, David Ramcharran, Head of Retail Ops at Historic Royal Palaces, of who I’m sure will continue the team’s success.  Thanks also go to Tracey West of Cath Kidston who has created a fantastic foundation (no pun intended) of a programme from which our new Programme Director, Rob Husband (Space2Think Ltd.) will be continuing.

It has been a busy period for us the last few months launching the 2014 prospectus, executive and main board meetings, company meetings and confirming speakers for the programmes to list but a few. I am happy to confirm Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher plc, Alan Giles, former Chairman of Fat Face and Tom Joule, founder of Joules as the three industry leading guest speakers at the Masters programme who will impart their vast experience on attendees surrounding ‘Understanding Your Market and Developing Strategies’. I’m sure places to the Masters will fill up soon, especially with our early bird offer when bookings are placed and paid for before the end of the year, so I’d advise to get in early to avoid disappointment. Check out www.oxfordsummerschool.co.uk/masters for more information.

Well that about sums it up for now! It’s full steam ahead for OSS in 2014! Initially I implied to my wife my new position in Ireland would take me away for around three months, now a year on, I’m pleased the kids are home from university to keep her company whilst I’m busy!


Managing Director, Oxford Summer School

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