Business Training Proves a Blooming Great Success

Local garden centre’s sales double after guidance from the National Skills Academy for Retail

Business has been blooming at Coolings Garden Centre, Kent, after staff attended customised training from the National Skills Academy for Retail.

Since investing in external staff training, the garden centre has seen a dramatic increase in sales, most notably a 50% increase in sales in February 2011 compared to the previous year.

Coolings contacted the National Retail Academy for Retail in May 2010 after investment in a new gift shop with restaurant and ‘Nature Trail’ for children was failing to produce a return on investment.

After an initial meeting at the centre, the National Skills Academy for Retail’s trainer identified visual merchandising as the main area for improvement. Eight of Coolings managers attended a one day training course on how to create the ‘Wow’ factor in the store, using techniques such as colour blocking and product placement to maximise sales.

The session was based on the Mary Portas guide to successful retailing, a series of seven master classes inspired by the Queen of Shops herself, aimed at giving small and independent retailers the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to compete in today’s tough retail landscape.

The training was such a success, Coolings has subsequently arranged for all staff to attend a special evening with management aimed at motivating staff to take pride in the work they do and the company as a whole.

Gary Carvosso, Managing Director of Coolings said:

“We couldn’t be happier with the training we received. The trainer was professional and enthusiastic and clearly interested in our on-going success as a retailer in a changing world. The tips and advice given were specific to our business, could be easily implemented and have produced outstanding results.”

“Before, we were struggling to profit from some of our extra facilities. We envisaged the new gift shop would encourage customers to spend more on a visit but this wasn’t the case; so we contacted the National Skills Academy for Retail for some business advice. Since the training, there has been a great atmosphere in the store. We are now all committed to continuing the centre’s success and pushing ourselves to be the best we can be.”

Jane Rexworthy, Head of the National Skills Academy for Retail said:

“We want to encourage independent retailers to be the best they can be. Our retail skills shops are an easy and accessible way for any independent retailer to get help and advice on making their business more successful.”

“If you require, our expert retail trainers can visit your business, see how it works and watch customers’ behaviours, in order to tailor the training and make sure it is the most useful for you and your business.”

To find out your closest retail skills shop visit

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