Having spent the past four months managing the Milton Keynes branch and the four months before that in Watford, I have now made the permanent move to become manager of the Birmingham Bullring store. After commuting to the South for so long, it’s good to be back in the Midlands. And great to have the challenge of looking after such a high-profile shop.

I’m really looking forward to getting to know my new colleagues. The size of the shop and the volume of customers mean it’s a bigger team than I have worked with before. A lot of the staff have joined since Christmas, so one of the key challenges for me will be to get everyone up to speed while we’re trading so hard.

Being based in a shopping centre on a high street is a big change for me, having worked in retail parks for the past four years. There is a lot more competition nearby – and I’ll have to keep a really close eye on what they are up to so I can make sure we’re better at all times.

One of my first tasks will be to launch the summer book collection. As ever, we have some really great titles that we hope will draw in the customers.

There is no doubt the general retail environment is a lot tougher. However, there is a lot of optimism in store. The feeling is that we will have a good summer this year (last year’s never seemed to arrive) and that the sunshine will transfer to the tills. The potential of this store is huge – and I hope to be able to realise that potential. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in.

Store manager’s diary by Mike Rawling, Borders, Bullring, Birmingham

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