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The Retail Report - Quarter 4, 2014

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Quarter 3 continued to show signs of improvement in retail, as we have seen throughout the year. However, certain pockets of the retail sector have accelerated faster while others have slowed sooner than we expected.

The quarter 4 slowdown in hiring activity is yet to materialise, and instead we are seeing an encouraging – though not massive – increase. Merchandise planning, marketing (especially e-commerce), property and retail operations experienced the highest recruitment activity across the retail sector in quarter 3.

This increase, combined with positive consumer confidence figures published by all the major institutions, paints an optimistic picture for the year-end, albeit not at record breaking levels.  

In line with these encouraging, though not groundbreaking results in 2014,the outlook  2015 is steady. If the results were more sharply impressive and consumer confidence was improving faster, a more confident outlook could be ascertained. The Christmas trading period will be the tell-tale sign.  

Richard Wynn
Regional Director - Retail
T: 02 8836 0743



The executive market remained steady across quarter 3 with much of the hiring activity coming from within the fashion sector.  With multiple international entrants opening their doors in 2014/15 there is certainly a need for top tier talent with international experience and a track record of portfolio expansion within the Australian market. The FMCG market saw increased hiring activity towards the end of quarter 3 and is expected to stay strong throughout quarter 4 as companies look to take advantage of an anticipated up-shift in retail trade across 2015.    

Candidate Profiles


  • Experienced COO/CEO level candidate with a strong QSR background across the Australian market.
  • Company owned and franchise format experience.
  • Diverse background in business development, marketing and operations at a very senior level.
  • Currently based in Melbourne and looking to relocate to Sydney.

Reference: 449728084

CEO Premium Lifestyle and Fashion

  • Exceptional CEO level retail executive with experience across the premium lifestyle and fashion sector.
  • International experience across more than 30 countries throughout APAC, EMEA and the Americas. 
  • An entrepreneurial business leader with extensive experience in business startup and portfolio expansion.
  • Currently based in Thailand and looking to relocate to Australia.

Reference: 449751345

Buying & Merchandise

The buying and merchandise market remained reasonably buoyant in quarter 3, driven by a strong demand for merchandise planners across all sectors. Local fashion/apparel retailers are continuing to invest in merchandise planning to improve their profitability, as the influx of international players forces them to remain competitive. This sector continues to be candidate-short for local talent however there has been a slowing of overseas talent both at the mid and senior levels.

The buying market remains flat at the junior and mid levels, particularly across general merchandise and FMCG. Many retailers are opting to offer internal promotions in order to retain key junior and intermediate buyers. Apparel retailers are delaying recruiting for non-business critical buying roles, due to flat sales results last quarter. The outlook for quarter 4 remains positive, with hiring activity across merchandise planning in particular expected to remain strong.

Candidate Profiles

Brand Manager/Buyer (VIC)

  • Well rounded retailer with experience in buying and merchandise planning.
  • Broad experience across fashion/apparel and general merchandise.
  • Experience in big box, mid tier and boutique retail.
  • Corporate and franchise experience.
  • Available immediately.

Reference: 449761646

Merchandise Planner (NSW)

  • Excellent tier one candidate with over 10 years of experience in merchandise planning.
  • Experience in a variety of general merchandise and apparel categories.
  • Strong financial/commercial skills with experience in Oracle, SAP, JDA, and Arthur Planning.
  • Responsible for a $150 million portfolio.
  • Bachelor of Business degree.

Reference: 449774142

Senior Merchandise Planner (NSW)

  • Excellent tier one candidate with seven years experience in merchandise planning.
  • Experience in general merchandise (hard goods) and FMCG.
  • Strong financial/commercial skills with experience in Oracle, Retek, SAP, JDA, and Arthur Planning.
  • Bachelor of Business degree.
  • Available immediately.

Reference: 449562626

Buying and Planning Merchant (NSW)

  • Well rounded retailer with experience in buying and merchandise planning.
  • Broad experience across fashion/apparel and general merchandise.
  • Strong people management skills developed through managing teams of buyers and planners.
  • Experience in big box, mid tier and boutique retail.
  • Good mix of wholesale and retail experience.

Reference: 449678529


Quarter 3 saw a significant increase in hiring activity across operations, with a number of the major brands going through significant restructures. Interestingly, despite increasing pressure on retailers to reduce COB, a number of brands added layers to their senior retail teams. The focus has shifted to increasing store standards and operations with many brands reducing direct reports to increase the focus on stores. There was continued demand for international talent at a senior multi-site level, particularly for retailers from mature markets such as the UK.

With positive retail sales and a continued increase in business confidence, we expect to see high recruitment activity over quarter 4 as retailers invest for 2015.

Candidate Profiles

State Operations Manager – Large Format Retail (VIC)

  • Senior operations experience covering multi states and a store portfolio in excess of 100 stores.
  • Broad background with senior experience across buying and merchandise, operations, projects and HR.
  • Expert in change management from design and concept through to large scale implementation.

Reference: 449639594

Senior Store Manager – FMCG (VIC)

  • Successful and experienced retailer who has worked for some of the biggest brands in the UK and Australia.
  • Managing store teams in excess of 300 and a sales budget of over $100 million in a single site.
  • Completed numerous secondments across various head office functions with a broad a holistic understanding of FMCG retail.

Reference: 449854733

Senior Store Manager – Big Box (NSW)

  • 20 years of experience in QSR industry, FMCG, retail and franchise operations.
  • Current leading a team of over 80 staff.
  • Fantastic experience in coaching and developing underperforming franchisees.
  • Strong engaging leader capable of delivering outstanding results through people.

Reference: 5084190

Retail Area Manager – Franchise (NSW)

  • Previously Franchise Area manager accountable for 25 franchisees across the NSW region.
  • During his time at McDonalds he proved to be a turn-around specialist working with underperforming stores and was handpicked by the former CEO of McDonalds Australia to run his franchise store.
  • Exceptional communication, influencing and negotiation skills.
  • Very confident in analysing P&L reports and able to translate strategies into everyday actions.

Reference: 4499308884


Quarter 3 saw an influx of international brands such as Uniqlo join big international players like H&M in Australia while  already established stores like Zara added new locations to their local offering. This meant there was a significant demand for experienced Store Managers and Cluster Managers to help navigate the openings. This hiring activity created buzz among jobseekers in retail. As in quarter 2, a number of businesses have seen restructures, as investment in operations is adjusted to the changing retail landscape. Hiring activity is expected to remain high in quarter 4.

Candidate Profiles

State Manager – Accessories (VIC)

  • Experience with some of the biggest fashion brands in the country.
  • Capable of managing multi-site managers and leading large teams across a portfolio of over 30 stores.
  • Previous National Manager reporting into the CEO, working across multiple brands.
  • Exceptional sales coach able to develop sales teams on a wide scale to increase key metrics.

Reference: 44956187

General Manager – Retail (VIC)

  • National level experience with a number of exceptional Australian and international brands.
  • Responsible for a huge business turnaround with a re-implementation of retail fundamentals combined with influencing key business stake holders to change ways of working.
  • Exposure to cross discipline functions including merchandise, marketing and human resources.

Reference: 165587

Boutique Manager (NSW)

  • Has extensive luxury experience having worked in leadership roles at Gucci, Burberry, Omega and Paspaley.
  • Approachable personality with an excellent ability to engage and build rapport and in terms of her leadership style very much leads from the front.
  • Ability  to take ownership of team training and development, with proven success in succession planning.
  • A self-directed individual who demonstrates exceptional communication and leadership skills.

Reference: 449948766

Senior Store Manager (NSW)

  • A proven track record of leading commercial business operations at a senior level with experience delivering results and profit objectives in a multi-site environment.
  • Multi-site retail experience at a national level within luxury fashion jewellery, prestige cosmetics and fragrance.
  • Her passion for people, retail and business improvement combined with her exceptional experience and drive ensure that her skills are very transferrable into multiple retail/service based environments.
  • She develops her business and staff to be empowered to make commercial decisions and drive sales - extremely results focused.

Reference: 45009250

Hospitality & Leisure

The hospitality and leisure market remained steady across quarter 3 with much of the hiring activity occurring at restaurant/store and area management level. However, many organisations are having difficulty sourcing top tier talent at this level There has been a slowdown in new entrants to the market and as such, jobseekers are looking for roles offering good career progression for their next move. The strength of quarter 3 combined with the seasonal nature and elasticity of the hospitality and leisure market is providing some additional comfort for an equally strong quarter 4.

Candidate Profiles

National Operations Manager – Food Franchise (VIC)

  • National accountability for a portfolio over 70 franchise stores.
  • Growth expert having worked on interstate and international expansion projects.
  • Developed new franchise models and improved recruiting process with exceptional results.

Reference: 4975530

Senior Franchise Business Consultant – Food Service (VIC)

  • Experienced consultant with accountability for a large portfolio across multiple states with state managers reporting in.
  • Key contributor to network growth.
  • Results oriented leader, managing the highest performing region consistently over their tenure.
  • Degree qualified.

Reference: 4756440

Restaurant Manager (NSW)

  • Experienced restaurant manager candidate with experience across the New Zealand market.
  • Food and wine enthusiast and a trained sommelier.
  • Strong financial acumen and a good grasp of hospitality based KPIs.
  • Currently based in New Zealand and looking for an Australian relocation.

Reference: 449948573

QSR Area Manager (NSW)

  • Excellent QSR Area Manager with experience across the NSW market.
  • Strong systems, process and structure implementation experience.
  • Experienced across both franchise and company owned store structures.
  • Has looked after up to 25 stores and looking for a step up role.

Reference: 449922688