Philippe Chainieux, managing director of, speaks to Retail Week about his life working in retail.

What was your first job in retailing?

It was at Fnac, a French music and technology retailer. I helped set up Fnac online in the early days of ecommerce.

Which retail company do you admire most and why?

Definitively Amazon. It continues to innovate despite the size of the company.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

I can be a little bit impatient when I get excited by new projects.

Who have you learnt most from in your retail career?

I’ve learnt the most from customers.

What advice would you give someone starting out in retail?

Be clear on what is your differentiation and get your operations right at the very beginning.

What keeps you awake at night?

My young kids.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

When I spend time every week with the customer care team reading the messages from customers.

What’s your proudest achievement?

To have built fantastic teams of highly talented people.

What job would you have done if you hadn’t become a retailer?

I have worked outside of retail before when I previously managed across Europe. I have somehow helped generate hundreds of thousands of love stories.

What’s your favourite shop and why?

The Apple store on Regent Street. It offers a very special retail experience.

What was your last purchase?

I bought a new suitcase from Amazon.