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Independent retailing in NI is of the highest standard

Nigel Maxwell, regional retail manager, Nisa Retail

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BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY TO DATE

I have worked in grocery retailing for 36 years since I was a part-time student at 16. I’ve worked for Dunnes Stores (NI), Sainsbury’s (England), Iceland Frozen Foods (NI & RoI), Russell’s/Shop4You (NI), Musgrave (NI) and now Nisa Retail.

WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE?

It’s a head-of-sales role really but actually it is all about the retailers, Nisa’s partners, who we work with. They’re what make us tick and drive us on to be successful. Their desire to succeed inspires us to deliver an excellent proposition that is a win-win for us and them. So, it’s important I bring them solutions to problems and work with them to generate ideas to grow the business. An example being, we gather a lot of intelligence on market trends and consumer behaviour and adjust our range as appropriate; so, I’ll check if it’s being implemented instore and encourage the sharing of best-practice.

WHEN DID YOU TAKE UP THIS POST?

I am very new to this role, starting officially on January 4, 2022.

WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?

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It is very early days but what I will be doing, and am really looking forward to, is getting out and engaging with our partners to have a good in-depth discussion about what is working well and what the opportunities are for further success. So, on an ongoing basis, the best part of my role will be interacting with the partners. I’m not so keen on admin, albeit necessary sometimes.

BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY

I intend to spend three or four days a week out in stores, meeting with retailers and their teams and that could involve a couple of hours travel there and back so getting away in the early in the morning suits me. When visiting a store, I’ll take time to walk the floor and get a good feel for the offer and to check that Nisa product is well represented and displayed. Then I’ll spend some quality time with the owner to discuss how we can work together for our joint benefit. Some visits could last an hour, some three or four hours. That’ll get me home at some point in the evening ready to recharge for the next day!

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED WITH THE LOCAL RETAIL INDUSTRY?

There’s little doubt that independent retailing in NI is of the highest standard. We have some of the best stores in the UK, many of whom we are partnered with within Nisa. A truly independent, entrepreneurial retailer will deliver a better shopping experience than a large out-of-town multi-national retailer every time. Being a fairly small region, it’s easy to build up strong relationships with retailers and suppliers and that makes doing business easier when you have that personal touch.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?

Apart from sitting in front of the log fire sipping wine, I am a keen runner and like to get out in all weathers. I run three or four times per week and track my runs to make sure I’m not getting any slower as I get older.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW

I have a real fear of flying; so much so that my wife enrolled me on an EasyJet course for like-minded people. It was a full day of discussing various techniques about how to fix your phobia, but it was so dull I convinced myself I was cured and left early. Obviously, there’s not been much flying anywhere this last couple of years but now that I might be attending meetings in England where Nisa’s main office is located, we’ll see how I get on.


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