By Mark Davidson
Organisation, leadership and dedication are some of the skills required to successfully run a retail store, but what makes the best managers stand out? Retail Gazette spoke to Gail Bradley, an award-winning Store Manager at Gap in The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, to find out.
“It’s about involving the team, working with your people allowing them time to learn and make mistakes - you have to be open to new ideas because you can’t do it on your own,” Bradley explained.
“You also have to be a good listener and have the drive and passion for the business.”
The Gap boss recently picked up her company’s Fisher Award, which celebrates managerial success at the US-owned business, making Bradley well-placed to make a judgement on the role.
Others she beat to the prize include store managers at much larger Gap outlets across Europe such as the busy Oxford Street site in London, but she does not take all of the credit for her prize.
Bradley commented: “I couldn’t do what I do without my team behind me, when I’m out of the store they run the shop - we work together to achieve the best results.”
She also believes that empowerment of the team is an important part of being a successful retail manager, explaining: “It doesn’t matter if they are on a large contract or a small contract - team members don’t get treated differently.”
Having been at Gap for 19 years, holding a variety of roles including managing a number of different-sized stores and mentoring new managers, Bradley’s award, which was originally set up by Gap Founder Donald Fisher to acknowledge exceptional performance, appears much deserved.
The prize comes with a commemorative plaque and a £10,000 grant for a charity of the award winner’s choice, and the latest winner picked The Fountain Fund - a charity set up by The Mall to aid local organisations.
But what can other retail bosses learn from Bradley’s achievements? Getting the basics right and engaging employees seems to be the key to success.
In advice to other store managers, she said: “Keep things simple, put time into your team and make everybody count.”