CLOTHING retailer Zara is leaving Warrington’s Golden Square Shopping Centre – but it’s not that shoppers in north Cheshire aren’t fans of Zara’s clothing.
If anything, they found it too convenient. Staff explained that the Warrington store’s main use seemed to be for shoppers to return items that they had bought in Liverpool or Manchester at the weekend.
Zara has made its decision based on objective data – balancing the loss in customer service, and sales the store generated, with the savings from pulling out of Warrington.
It can be easier to see those choices more clearly in businesses other than your own. The cold facts are much easier to separate from the background noise, emotional baggage and the investment, in time and money, that has gone into an idea.
When Zara opened in a newly- refurbished Golden Square in 2007, the world looked very different – it’s as hard to imagine local retail without Liverpool One as it is the world economy without the credit crunch.
As they approached the break point in their lease, they appear to have decided that over the next five years it is unlikely that things will improve greatly.
Making time to assess the usefulness and potential of an aspect of business can be tricky in the day-to-day whirlwind of activity, but it is crucial.
Retailers usually have break clauses which can focus their minds while, as we are seeing at the moment, football clubs use the end of the season for a stark appraisal of their performance.
While clubs are rarely outstanding models of governance, huge levels of public scrutiny make it harder for them to ignore problems and hope they improve of their own accord.
The pendulum may have swung too far in terms of their ruthlessness in changing managers – as Liverpool FC has found by changing and Everton FC by not, different doesn’t always mean better – but their results-focused approach is unrelenting.
It is generally thought that Manchester City’s manager Roberto Mancini was two minutes away from being sacked, before his team’s remarkable, title-winning recovery on Sunday.
After nine months’ endeavour, he is being judged on those dramatic final two minutes. At least Zara gave it five years.