Barry Whelan, CEO Excel Recruitment

New Year, New Career? 10 tips on how to reach your career goals in 2019

Here at Excel Recruitment we always see a sharp spike of people ‘looking at their options’ in January and this year is no different. New Year is always a great time to take stock and reflect on your goals for the year ahead, particularly your career goals . Whether you’re actively looking for a move or just want to reach your full potenial in your current job, CEO of Excel Recruitment Barry Whelan serves up 10 tips to help you make the most of your career in 2019.

January is a great time to assess your career and take steps to accentuate it. With an economy full of opportunity, why not focus the next few months on making 2019 your most successful career year ever?

Boost your essential job skills
There is probably a reason you were recruited to your current position; perhaps it is your management skills or selling ability. No matter what is the case, make an effort to ramp up the skills that make you good at what you do. You can take courses, attend seminars, or pursue a professional qualification to advance your existing talents.

Volunteer more often
Stepping up in your job really does set you apart from the pack. If you have shied away from volunteering in the past, make the coming year one in which you offer to take on more responsibility. It’s a great way to expand your horizons and send management the message that you are not afraid to offer to help and try new things.

Develop a skill that no one else at your company has
Why not make yourself a key player within your company? This will set the stage for a promotion – or at least give you job security. You may not be the only person at your company who is a good merchandiser or strong negotiator. However, if you work on developing a skill that no one else at your company seems to have, you will make yourself indispensable.

Get more feedback
Feedback can be tough; you don’t only get to hear the positive, but obviously also the negative. Nevertheless, it is hard to assess your own performance when you are deep in deadlines and tasks. If you want to take your career to an exciting new level in the coming year, you need to make a point of pursuing ongoing feedback from both your manager and peers. Figure out where you are excelling and where there is clear room for improvement. The more insight you get from those around you, the better positioned you will be to take action.

Take criticism graciously
While on the note of feedback, it is also not easy to be on the receiving end of criticism, even if it is constructive and helpful. Accepting that criticism courteously is a good way to set yourself apart from colleagues who are known to get defensive or ignore the feedback. Most of us are not perfect employees, but if you learn from your shortcomings and improve upon them tremendously, you’ll get close.

Work on your soft skills
Boosting your job-specific skills is important, but don’t forget about those general skills that apply to any given role, such as time management and organistion. The more you improve your soft skills, the more valuable an employee you will be, so think about the areas you are lacking in and try to do better.

Be a team player
Don’t underestimate the importance of being a strong team player. If you jump in when your colleagues need help or agree to collaborate on a project you would rather be running solo, you will show your manager that you’re agreeable and adaptable. These are qualities that could land you a step up the ladder.

Embrace risks
If you don’t take some risks, you’ll miss out on key opportunities to wow your boss and add real value to your company. Don’t stay quiet when a great idea comes to mind, and don’t hesitate to dive into a new project or initiative you feel will be a game-changer. Even if you don’t end up succeeding, there is a good chance your company will acknowledge your effort and courage.

Network

The people you know can be just as helpful, if not more so, than the things you know, when it comes to furthering your career. That is why it is always a good idea to expand your network. You can do so by attending conferences and industry events or asking your existing contacts for introductions. But don’t just network outside your company; get to know people from different departments and teams internally as well.

And…Don’t forget the mistakes of the past
Maybe you messed up a major project last year or tanked in a presentation you worked hard on. Rather than carry the burden of those mistakes with you into the new year, take some time to assess what went wrong and map out a plan to avoid a repeat during your next opportunity. Learning from previous mistakes without letting them hold you back not only shows tremendous growth, but courage as well.

JYSK opening in Ireland

Danish retailer JYSK planning to open up to 15 Irish stores

Danish homeware retailer and Ikea rival JYSK is set to make its Irish debut soon and has scouted 20 locations across the Republic as potential future locations for its planned Irish rollout.

The Nordic retailer announced today it will set up a head office in Dublin followed by the first official Irish store opening in April. The retailer’s first store Irish store will be located in Naas, Co. Kildare and the brand will start selling online and offer home delivery to Irish customers from 15 April. The retail brand, which sells homewares products like mattresses and living room furniture, will open two further locations in Drogheda and Navan during the month of May. A fourth branch in Portlaoise is scheduled to open by the end of summer. In total, JYSK – which is pronounced “yusk” – aims to open 15 stores across the Republic.

The new branches are set to feature a refreshed store concept launched by the brand last year, which includes a newly designed storefront and refreshed interiors. While there are no details currently on further planned locations. Ireland country manager Roni Tuominen told Fora the retailer is looking at locations that can deliver the highest footfall: “We are aiming to be close to the customer. Our target is to be where the customers are.”

JYSK will be joining Scandinavian rivals already well-established in the Irish market, Ikea and Søstrene Grene, which also sell affordable homewares products. Tuominen said “We’re working in 51 countries, so of course these companies are well-known for us. I think for the customers, competition is good and actually creates value,” he said. Jennifer Johnston, who is sales and marketing manager of JYSK Ireland, told Fora the retailer differentiates itself by rolling out new products on a more regular basis to cater for changing design trends. “One thing that we are very strong on is Scandinavian designed products. We are very good at launching new products regularly,” she said.

The 40-year-old brand, which is pronounced “yusk”, operates some 2,700 stores across 51 countries. It employs over 23,000 people around the world and reported sales of €3.5 billion last year.

Irish shoppers are set to spend over €1 billion on their Christmas groceries

Irish shoppers are set to spend over €1 billion on groceries throughout December for the first time as competition gets even fiercer between grocery retailers over the Christmas period.
According to research from Kantar World Panel, Irish households spent €968.2 million last December in supermarkets, and “all the signs so far indicate that this year Irish households will break the €1 billion threshold for the first time”

Overall the grocery market grew by 2.9% in the 12 weeks to 2 December according to Kantar’s latest figures. Dunnes Stores remains the largest grocery retailer, with a market share of 22.4% after seeing sales growth of 3.4% for the period. SuperValu’s sales rose by 1.3% over the same 12 weeks, cementing it in second place with 21.7% share of the market. Tesco is in third place with a 21.6% market share and growth of 0.3%, However, discount retailers Aldi and Lidl saw the strongest growth of all for the second consecutive period, with sales up 7% and 4.1% respectfully. Aldi now has 11.6% of the market, with Lidl on 11.3%. Aldi UK & Ireland Chief Executive Giles Hurley said the retailer is “delighted to be the fastest growing retailer in Ireland for the third month in a row,” adding Aldi has “opened new stores in Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Graiguenamanagh, Youghal, and Killaloe over the last month.”

Consumer Insight Director at Kantar Worldpanel Douglas Faughnan said of the figures: “Promotions continue to play an important role among the traditional retailers as they try to attract new shoppers and encourage customers to spend more in store. “SuperValu has performed strongest here, with the average value of a trip to the retailer increasing by €1.56 to €24.20 this period. As preparations for Christmas accelerate during December that figure is only likely to rise. “However, Dunnes’ long-running voucher programme means shoppers spend significantly more on each trip there than at any other retailer. Dunnes’ average spend per trip of €42.60 is one of the main reasons the retailer has retained the number one spot this period.”

Grocery Retail

Shoppers spend €65m across the border as Christmas spending begins

With Brexit continuing to dominate the news and the impact of a hard border still unclear, the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel show the value of cross-border shopping is at its highest level for five years. €64.5 million was spent shoppers from the Republic of Ireland in the 12 months ending in November 2018.

Over the past year just over one in eight households from the Republic of Ireland made at least one trip north of the border to do a grocery shop. That equates to more than 207,000 shoppers” says Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.

“While these excursions account for a relatively small percentage of each family’s supermarket visits – on average, eight out of 270 annual trips – they spend substantially more shopping when they cross the border. Shoppers from the Republic spent €38.50 on an average shop in Northern Ireland while the average spend back home is €23.70. This is likely to be because they want to make the extra effort worthwhile.”

One of the biggest attractions for shoppers looking for a cross-border bargain is alcohol. Douglas Faughnan explains: “Of the €65 million spent by Republic of Ireland shoppers in Northern Ireland over the past year, a quarter went on alcohol, adding up to just over €16 million. No other food or drink category comes close, with dairy products accounting for the next largest share of cross-border spend, at 5.9%.”

The strength of the euro against sterling over the past two years has made cross-border shopping even more appealing, but there have been benefits for those spending in the Republic as well. Douglas Faughnan explains: “The cost of importing products to Ireland from Britain has fallen while goods made in Ireland with British ingredients have typically been cheaper to produce. This has allowed retailers to pass savings on to their customers – vital in such a competitive market – and as a result, grocery prices in Ireland have for the most part been falling since March 2017.”

“However, for only the second time in 21 months, grocery prices have increased, suggesting the prolonged period of grocery price deflation may be coming to an end.”

Halloween provided €30m boo-st

The four week run up to Halloween generated an uplift of almost €30 million for supermarkets. Supplies for parties and trick or treating were in high demand with confectionery sales up 4% compared with the same period last year. 17% of Irish households bought a pumpkin this Halloween, spending a collective €1.5 million on the seasonal vegetable.

Faughnan says: “With Halloween wrapped up and the arrival of the much-anticipated Christmas TV adverts this week, Irish shoppers are already getting excited for the festive season. In fact, more than 50,000 people had already bought a Christmas pudding by the 4th November.

€1.25m E-commerce fund for retailers open for applications

A new scheme meant to help Irish SMEs and retailers grow their e-commerce capabilities has opened for applications. The scheme, which is run by Enterprise Ireland, will allocate €1.25 million in funding to facilitate the acceleration of online retailer’s digital and e-commerce capabilities.

The scheme will see grants of between €10,000 and €25,000 awarded on a match fund basis with the specific purpose of supporting retailers to enhancing their online sales capabilities, ensuring they are better equipped to deal with increasing competition from overseas and help scale their businesses in international markets.

“Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting Irish companies to realise their global ambition by providing the mentoring and financial support necessary to scale in international markets,” said Stephen Hughes, head of consumer, Enterprise Ireland.

“Ireland’s retail sector is a primary contributor to our economy, both nationally and at a regional level but it is under significant pressure, particularly from international competitors with the digital means to extend their reach to Irish consumers. By delivering the Online Retail Scheme, we intend to support Irish retailers to innovate and through innovation, to increase their competitiveness and enhance their online presence.”

“While no single intervention will solve the challenge posed by the emergence of digital commerce in recent years to traditional bricks and mortar retailers, today’s announcement marks a significant step forward by Government in firstly acknowledging the challenge faced by the Irish retail sector and secondly by beginning to put in place supports for Ireland’s largest private sector employer,” said Thomas Burke, director at Retail Ireland, the IBEC group which represents the retail industry.

The Online Retail Scheme is open to applications from retail SMEs with 20-249 employees across the island of Ireland, and who have a retail outlet. Closing date for applications is 5 December 2018.

Further information on the fund and details on how to apply are available at www.enterprise-ireland.com/retail.

 

Grants to be given to retailers to grow online sales

A pilot scheme worth €625,000 has been launched to help Irish retailers grow their e-commerce abilities and grow their online sales.

The scheme, launched by the government and set to be run by Enterprise Ireland aims to help Irish retailers export more goods through their only shops. It is hoped the scheme will provide grants to at least 25 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the retail sector to help improve their online capabilities and compete better internationally. The grants will be in the range of €10,000-€25,000 and at least half of the total number of grants awarded will be reserved for retail SMEs with their headquarters outside Dublin.

The grants can be used for research, consultation, implementation and training costs and will be made on a matching funds basis meaning a grant of €25,000 will only be awarded if the company is also investing €25,000 in its online trading strategy.

The scheme was announced at a meeting of the Retail Consultation Forum, a grouping of retail industry and public sector bodies chaired by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys.

“Many retailers face increasing international competition on their doorstep and need to enhance their competitiveness,” the Minister said.

To apply

To apply, the retail companies must be Irish-owned with the potential to create jobs, generate sales growth and export. They must also have an existing online presence and employ at least 20 people in the Republic.

Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon said the organisation anticipated “a good response” to the pilot scheme from eligible retailers. “There is a strong need for Irish retailers to innovate through digitalisation,” she said.

Lorraine Higgins, chief executive of industry body Retail Excellence Ireland, welcomed the scheme.

“This is a hugely welcome development and a sea change in policy as the export potential of Irish retailers is now being recognised. Having an online sales channel is critical given the boundaryless nature of the industry and this pilot will certainly enhance the sales capacity of the successful applicants.”

She said the organisation looked forward to seeing the scheme expanded in the longer term.

Pope's Visit 2018

Pope’s visit ‘a disaster’ for Dublin retailers and restaurants

Dublin retailers and restaurateurs saw custom drop by up to 50% over the weekend of Pope Francis’ visit in what many are calling a ‘missed opportunity’. The weekend saw widespread traffic restrictions implemented across Dublin to accommodate the papal visit, with more than 50 road closures. Business groups representing both industries are blaming poor communication around the traffic restrictions for the dramatic fall in sales.

Retail Excellence chief executive Lorraine Higgins said: “There was a 35-40 per cent decline in sales as a consequence and when sales are lost to that extent they can never be made back up.” Ms Higgins said the closures could have been manageable with better information and there was a lack of regard for businesses in the planning of the event.

“Businesses suffered as a consequence of a lack of communication around the papal visit. The understanding among the general public was that Dublin city centre was closed for business,” she said. “ “While there were restrictions on private cars, public transport was still running and it is a great pity that message didn’t get through….I can appreciate the efforts the various authorities have to go through, but the fact of the matter is the Pope wasn’t going through the city centre until some time after 4pm on Saturday, so retailers could have had almost a full day’s trading.”

Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins said the visit was a missed opportunity to highlight what Dublin city centre had to offer. “With so many international media in Ireland this could have been a great showcase for the city, but instead it was a monumental disaster for businesses with people seeing losses of 30 to 50% depending on their location.

” Business organisations had attended a meeting at the start of August with representatives of the Garda, the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the World Meeting of Families organisers, but Mr Cummins said no further information came until the information packs were sent out to businesses and residents last Thursday. By that stage it was too late.” There was no excuse for the lack of communication, Mr Cummins said. “It’s not as if the Pope announced at the beginning of August that he was coming in three weeks’ time, the logistics surrounding this and the communications and liaison with businesses, that should all have been squared off three months ago.”

Dublin Chamber of Commerce spokesman Graeme McQueen said it had been a “tough weekend” for businesses. “This should have been a bumper weekend for retailers with kids going back to school, but it will have been even harder for the non-retail sector – cafes and restaurants – because the loss of business over those two days can’t be recovered.” The level of traffic restriction was “a little bit over the top” but the lack of information made the situation worse.

“Businesses were a bit of an afterthought, and the lack of information for customers meant they either left Dublin, or stayed put in their houses. This could have been a real festival event, and hopefully lessons will be learned for future events.”

 

Good weather equals good news for many retailers, while others felt a chill

Retail sales grew 3.4% in the second quarter of the year according to the latest report by Retail Ireland

The arrival of June’s heatwave “a good news story” for certain retail categories, such as grocery, DIY and hardware. But, for some retailers, the heat led to a decline in footfall as consumers were more inclined to headed to the park or the beach rather than the shops.

Supermarkets and convenience stores were some of the biggest winners, with the volume of sales up 5.5% in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2017. The good weather boosted the purchase of treats and “little and often” shopping and increase demand for barbecues, garden furniture and ice-cream, but hot weather also put people off shopping,

The Fifa World Cup, while not as lucrative as it might have been if Ireland had qualified, also contributed to strong sales of alcohol, soft drinks and party food sales in June, said Retail Ireland, a Ibec representative group for the retail industry.

Strong demand for gardening products, outdoor furniture and barbecue products benefitted DIY and hardware stores, which saw sales volumes rocket 10.2% year-on-year in the second quarter.

According to Retail Ireland, it was a “solid” quarter for Irish pharmacies, with the weather driving strong demand for hay fever treatments and suncare products. However, beauty sales slowed for the same reason.

“While many retail categories have been boosted by the long dry spell, other sectors such as department stores, fashion, footwear and hairdressing have reported lower than normal footfall and declining sales in the period,” said Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke. Cinema tickets, homewares and sales of electrical items and computers were also negatively affected, he added.

Women’s clothing sales were hurt by both lower footfall in June and consistently cold weather in April and May, the industry group said. Despite this, department stores have still managed a 4.1% rise in the volume of sales year-on-year, while fashion, footwear and textiles saw the volume of sales rise 2.

Stores in the wider books, newspapers and stationery business recorded a 5.9 per cent lift in sales volumes in the second quarter compared to the same quarter in 2017, with the books market also performing well.

Barry Whelan Excel Recruitment

7 Things To Think About Before You Leave Your Job

With unemployment at near perfect and companies crying out for great talent, more people than ever are on the move and wondering if the grass may be greener somewhere new. Barry Whelan, CEO of Excel Recruitment takes you through the things you need to think about before you make a move

In Excel Recruitment, we see a lot of people come to us desperate for a move or eager to make a change, go through the often long recruitment process, only to stay with their current employer. From salary to progression opportunities to just plain hating their boss there are many reasons people start looking for their next job. But before you request your p45, make sure you’re clear on the following points-

  1. Know your reasons

Assess why you want to make a move and figure out whether they can be fixed by less drastic measures than moving jobs. Want more responsibility or a salary increase? Ask for it. Feeling overworked or overwhelmed? Discuss the situation with your manager, assess your time management or drop something from your workload. What might seem like an overwhelming problem might actually have a simple fix that could save you time and effort doing up your CV and attending interviews.

  1. Know your goals

Similar to the first point, make a list of what you want, why you want it and why you can’t get it with your current employer. Then divide these into absolute necessities and points that are less important to you. By setting these out before you start looking for a job, you’re far less likely to waste your own time or make a rash decision and end up in another job that’s not right for you.

  1. Know your plan

Never leave a job without a job is advice our consultants dish out a lot, but for a good reason. Leaving a job suddenly or without a job to go to can look like an impulsive decision and gaps in your CV can be difficult to explain at interviews.

If you are planning on taking time off between roles or taking redundancy, make sure you’ve done the maths on how long you can afford to live without a regular salary and make sure you have a deadline for when you are going to start jo hunting again- the last thing you want is to wait too long and feel pressured to take the first job offer that comes along.

  1. Know your industry

Researching your industry, the current market and your competitor’s businesses will give you greater insight into what your next move should be and where you see yourself. It’s also a good habit to get into for when you eventually start attending interviews. You will be prepared and able to show that your research has been done. This has the added bonus of giving you a lot more confidence when selling yourself to the interviewer.

  1. Know your worth

In the same vein, knowing where your salary sits within the market is vitally important in order to ensure your applying for the right jobs and pitching yourself at the right level to prospective future employers. Research salary surveys for your industry or look at the salaries advertised on job ads looking for your level of experience to see what they’re offering. Again, do the maths to figure out whether you’re willing to take a drop in salary for your dream job or whether you’ll only consider a move for a boost to your pay packet.

  1. Know your benefits

Assess your current situation and ask yourself what you have to gain, and what you could potentially lose from your current benefits package. Does your current employer let you leave early on Wednesday for yoga class? Do you have extra holiday days built up over years of service that a new company may not match? Ask yourself the same questions about sick leave, pension, etc. and ensure you know what you want to gain, what you can’t live without and what you don’t mind losing for the right role.

  1. Know what works for you

Similarly to the above point about knowing your benefits and what you could stand to lose if you make a move. Factors like location, commute time or working environment are all important parts of overall job satisfaction but can often be forgotten about when you start chasing more money or a bigger company. Before you start sending your CV to companies, ask yourself how much of a pay increase you’d need to be happy giving up your 10-minute commute?

 

BBQ sales see Tesco soar to 1st place in grocery wars

Tesco have captured 22.5% of grocery retail market share thanks to their emphasis on their BBQ and chilled meat ranges during the recent heatwave.

Tesco were also the only retailer to increase their market share during the 12 weeks ending 15 July 2018. The supermarket brand’s extensive ‘Grillin’ and Chillin’ marketing campaign saw it make a big push on key barbecue items, with products like ice cream, chilled poultry and chilled burgers all performing strongly and resulting in shoppers putting, on average, 4.7% more items in their baskets on each trip.

SuperValu achieved overall sales growth of 2.6%, they’re biggest jump since October 2016. The retailer traditionally performs well in summer categories as its store network is convenient for shoppers making more frequent top-up shops during the key barbecue season. This year has been no exception, with chilled burgers, fresh fish, and fresh lamb all recording double-digit sales growth.

Dunnes Stores now accounts for 21.2% of grocery sales in Ireland, thanks to sales growth of 1.9% this period. The average Dunnes basket now features 20 items, a 5.7% increase compared to the previous 12 weeks and more than any other retailer.

Meanwhile, Lidl and Aldi have 11.9% and 11.5% market share respectively, with both posting sales growth in the most recent 12 weeks. Aldi was the only retailer to see a slight rise in shopper numbers this period, with the impact of its current Swap & Save campaign potentially contributing to increased shopper penetration.

Across the market, the recent rising temperatures and the World Cup saw sales soar by 3.1% with two of the biggest winners being lager and bottled water. Water sales rose by 27.3% while lager sales saw growth of 11.6% or the equivalent of an additional 7 million pints. This was as a result of both increased shopper numbers and shoppers buying larger quantities.

There’s a number of factors contributing to the spike in water sales according to Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel “A number of things may have influenced the surge of bottled water sales in Ireland – in particular the recent weather, speculation surrounding water shortages and this month’s hosepipe ban. Irish shoppers bought bottled water on 1.8 million more occasions in the latest 12 weeks compared to the same period last year, helping sales grow by over a quarter. Furthermore a Europe-wide shortage of CO2 may have stifled sales of carbonated water, which grew at a third of the rate of still water, with retailers and manufacturers shifting their focus to stills where necessary.”