The Fragrance Shop
Cowgill went on to discuss his new venture, The Fragrance Shop, where he is a non-Executive Chair, admitting that retail is “a drug” that he couldn’t resist getting back into.
“We’re trying to make it the first for fragrance [vs its key UK competitor, The Perfume Shop -Ed.],” explained Cowgill, as he outlined its growth plans online, and via its imminent London shop on the prestigious Oxford Street in the UK.
“Oxford Street grabs the attention of key suppliers and will have a lot of [test bed] innovation,” said Cowgill.
“If it’s successful we plan to roll-out the model to other key UK retail centres such as Manchester, the Meadowhall and Metro malls in Yorkshire and Newcastle, and so on.”
There are a number of similarities with his previous at JD Sports, maintained Cowgill, when pointing to the fact that both it and The Fragrance Shop are:
· Branded retailers: “This means you need to secure distribution from major brands that are protective of their brand identity,” explained Cowgill, while re-emphasising the importance of the imminent Oxford Street store in this regard.
· Service: is vital for a branded retailer. Even if people come in-store, or online, knowing what they want customer service is always a key fundamental.
Trends: working from home
In a concluding session with the packed audience at Retail Technology Show 2023, Cowgill took questions from attendees.
Many of them focused on if the new generation of workers are different or not, and require different management tactics to attract staff during an era of labour shortages?
“I prefer people to work in the office,” answered Cowgill frankly.
“However, you have to move with the times and perhaps be more flexible than we were in the past. Some work from home (WFH) tasks that demand concentration can perhaps be performed better at home, and childcare, less commuting and other benefits are evident.”
“But I prefer the office. I think it helps train up newcomers better, immerses them in the brand identity and transfers the energy and ambition of a company.”
About Neil Ainger
Neil is a hugely experienced freelance business and technology journalist. Further details here.