The jobs merry-go-round rarely takes long to swing back into action in January and this year is no exception.
Amid a flurry of executive moves, one that might have flown beneath the radar, but is significant given the parlous state of the high street, is the appointment of Andy Cresswell to the role of chief retail officer at Bestway.
Last year, the wholesale and retail group swooped to acquire the former Conviviality Retail stable of brands that consists of Bargain Booze, Bargain Booze Select Convenience, Wine Rack and Central Convenience.
Until recently, management of the brands had been the responsibility of former Conviviality MD David Robinson; but with Robinson leaving to become chief operating officer of Pets at Home, Cresswell is the man tasked with revitalising the brands and ensuring they are fit for the future following a turbulent recent past.
Cresswell boasts a wealth of experience in the grocery retail sector having started his career as a trainee store manager at Safeway and spent the next decade in a variety of trading and management roles at Tesco and Somerfield.
He left Somerfield to join Midcounties Co-operative in 2002 and stayed for almost 15 years, progressing through a number of senior positions to become deputy chief executive officer.
Cresswell joins Bestway from Motor Fuel Group GB, the UK’s second largest independent forecourt operator, where he has held the position of managing director since December 2017.
There are plenty of reasons to believe Cresswell is a strong fit both culturally and technically for Bestway. His experience of working with franchisees is invaluable and should mean he is immediately accepted and respected by self-made retail entrepreneurs who do not always see eye to eye with polished executives from a Plc background.
Cresswell’s time within the cooperative movement, meanwhile, should help him adjust comfortably to a business such as Bestway, which has a strong family heritage.
“Far from stalling recruitment plans, retailers are even more determined to recruit the best people”
Most importantly, he is an excellent retailer with a proven track record in the convenience sector and will relish the task of growing the retail side of the Bestway business and unlocking synergies with its existing symbol group Best-one.
Despite the well-documented challenges in the retail sector, the jobs market remains strong. We had a record number of assignments in November, which continued into December, and January has already seen a large number of new enquiries.
Although Brexit continues to shroud UK business in a fog of uncertainty, far from stalling recruitment plans, if anything it is making retailers even more determined to recruit the best people.
With 2019 promising to be yet another challenging year, my hope and expectation is that your employees continue to be your biggest asset and help make the next 12 months as prosperous as possible.