• Reporting To: Director – Finance & Compliance
  • Contract: Fixed term until March 2024 (with potential for renewal)
  • Hours: Full Time
  • Closing Date: 23 November 2020

Purpose of the Role

As Head of Retail you will:

  • Provide leadership for The Shop by setting an excellent standard in maintaining and building upon Japan House’s brand values, and by inspiring the Team to achieve these standards.
  • Own the customer experience, driving customer satisfaction and increasing brand loyalty.
  • Drive performance and growth, through excellent operational and commercial delivery.
  • Be closely engaged in the setting up and maintenance of an online shopping operation.
  • Partner with the Visitor Experience Manager and Shop Manager to drive employee satisfaction and align Team performance with the Japanese concept of omotenashi.
  • Contribute to the development of a long-term retail strategy, as well as retail operations and services. This will include the setting of strategic goals for retail operations, efficiency and increased productivity that meets Japan House London’s short and long-term objectives and ensuring that the business operates under the most effective processes, infrastructure, and services.

Key Accountabilities

Brand integrity

  • Establish a constant focus on the Japan House Brand, and its commitment to omotenashi, by continually driving engagement, knowledge and passion for Japan, and the customer, across the Visitor Experience/Shop team.
  • Be a leading presence on the shop floor, acting as a Japan House brand ambassador, and role modelling omotenashi behaviours.
  • Maintain a Japanese aesthetic and refined shopping environment, ensuring excellent execution and maintenance of Visual Merchandising across The Shop.
  • Work closely with Japan House’s contracted merchandiser (based in Japan), as well as other product suppliers and craftspeople, to ensure that The Shop is both authentic and opportunity for customers to learn about the culture of Japan.

Management

  • Contribute to the strategic direction of The Shop alongside the Board of Japan H. L. Enterprises Limited.
  • Build and maintain an effective working relationship with all Japan House directors, food & beverage partners, and other contracted service providers within Japan House, to make decisions regarding operational activity and strategic goals to ensure that there is effective coordination in support of company objectives.
  • Report to the Japan H.L. Enterprises Limited Board on retail operation activities, issues, and opportunities.
  • As appropriate, support Japan House’s initiatives, cross-functional projects, and organisational development activities.
  • Maximize efficiency and productivity through extensive process and performance analysis and interdepartmental collaboration, recommending solutions for improvement when necessary.
  • Prepare budgets, schedules, and other operational reports for submission to the Japan H.L. Enterprises Limited Board and its parent company, Japan H. L Limited.
  • In liaison with Operations & Services, ensure that staffing levels are appropriate and rostered.

Retail

  • Lead on the development and collection of customer data, insights and analysis of customer, competitor and market data which will enable Japan House to set priorities and build compelling marketing strategies.
  • Analyse current and previous trends in KPI’s, including areas such as supplier relationships, pricing & promotions and cost of sales.
  • Monitor business trends and product availability, evaluating new products and services in relation to company values, brand and objectives
  • Engage with a wide range of suppliers, their products and services, negotiating contracts, and ensuring that approved purchases are cost-efficient and further brand integrity.
  • Maintain a strong understanding of product sales performance and optimise sales of the available inventory
  • Deliver an effective pricing strategy for all products, optimising sales and profit performance whilst maintaining a healthy customer perception of quality.
  • Demonstrate excellent product knowledge and advocacy, driving the same ethos across The Shop team.
  • Drive performance and productivity to ensure excellence across all areas of The Shop from visual merchandising to customer service and administrative effectiveness.
  • Maintain a commercial mindset by continually identifying and converting opportunities to drive performance, both within The Shop and externally.

Customer and staff experience

  • Own the customer experience, ensuring customer and other stakeholder insights are understood and acted upon across the business, resulting in customer satisfaction and increasing brand loyalty.
  • Nurture customer relationships by building and cultivating long term customer relationships, leading the Team to do the same
  • Drive the use of digital assets, such as social media and online shopping, to enhance the customer experience.
  • Monitor, coach and provide feedback to the Team to deliver an excellent customer experience.
  • Maintain a learning culture that firmly connects the Visitor Experience/ Shop team to the Japan House brand.
  • Deal with complaints from customers to maintain Japan House’s reputation.

Operational Planning

  • Responsible for translating Japan House London’s strategic goals into defined operational and annual plans relevant to The Shop’s retail operations.
  • Develop an operating model for service delivery that is flexible and optimises the resources applied to key deliverables.
  • Be accountable for the development and implementation and monitoring of The Shop’s operational plan, ensuring results are achieved within budget and timescales.
  • Establish quantitative and qualitative metrics, guidelines, and standards by which The Shop’s efficiency and effectiveness can be evaluated; identify opportunities for improvement.

Risk Management

  • Develop and maintain an operational Risk Register, Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity plans, and to manage the Japan House emergency control and evacuation plans.
  • Be able to inspect the areas in The Shop and resolve any issues that might arise.
  • Ensure The Shop fulfils all legal health and safety guidelines and implement all necessary policies and procedures in line with UK legislation and regulations to maintain a healthy and safe working environment.

Finance, Procurement and Product Management

  • Forecast and manage the budget for the operation of The Shop.
  • Manage procurement processes and coordinate material and resource allocation.
  • Monitor stock levels and purchases and ensure they stay within budget.
  • Ensure accurate valuation of stock and oversee regular inventory counts.
  • Maintain strong relationships with any third parties (vendors, financial institutions, suppliers) the department works with regularly to ensure smooth procurement and delivery of products and services.
  • Review and approve equipment needs, staying up to date with technological changes within the industry.
  • Liaise as required with auditors.
  • Review financial information and adjust operational budgets to promote profitability.
  • Review of monthly management reports, monitoring departmental performance and reporting on variances.
  • Liaise closely with the Japan House London’s Programme Team, plan and oversee in-store promotional events or displays.
  • Development and implementation of an e-commerce strategy.

Systems Management

  • Lead on the strategic development, deployment, and management of Japan H. L. Enterprises Limited’s IT and business systems infrastructure and services with the aim of ensuring secure, uninterrupted, and cost-effective operations.
  • Ensure core applications meet the needs of the business, by process mapping requirements and translating to working solutions.
  • Manage external consultants and contractors to ensure services they provide deliver in line with the organisation's requirements.
  • Organise and provide user training, support, advice, and feedback on The Shop’s IT services.
  • Ensure all retail-oriented services are procured on a best-value basis, implementing metrics to evaluate value, and setting targets for improvement.
  • Ensure The Shop has the proportionate technological and organisational measures in place to ensure systems are secure and protected against threats.

Key Relationships

Internal

  • Japan H.L. Enterprises Limited Board of Directors
  • Executive Management Team
  • Programming Team
  • Operational Teams for Finance & Compliance, Marketing and Communications, Operations & Services, Performance & Development and Programming.
  • Japan H. L. Enterprises Planning and Administration Team.

External

  • Japan House’s contracted merchandiser (based in Japan), as well as other product suppliers and craftspeople.
  • Tokyo Liaison Team.
  • Food & Beverage Partners and other tenants as required for functional operation.
  • Contracted service providers for HR Administration, IT, Insurance and Facilities.

Professional Qualifications, Knowledge & Experience

Qualifications

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is preferred.
  • Other relevant training, licences and certification are advantageous.
  • First Aid training beneficial

Knowledge

  • Proven analytical thinking, problem solving skills and communications skills (both written and oral) with attention to detail.
  • Will have operated in a retail and professional customer service orientated environment in leadership roles requiring bottom-line focus and budget management responsibilities.
  • Ability to prioritize and manage a number of projects at one time under pressure.
  • A sensitivity to Japan and Japanese culture, possibly gained through exposure to living in Japan. Ideally, Japanese language speaking.
  • Exceptional attention to detail and focus.
  • Commitment to creating and maintaining good relationships with individuals and organisations, both in Japan and elsewhere.
  • Show excellent interpersonal skills and experience of dealing with people at all levels.
  • Flexibility and willingness to be involved in all aspects of Japan House’s activities when necessary.
  • Evidence of core IT literacy including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Digital awareness and interest, with an ability to comfortably navigate social media and e-commerce sites.

Experience

  • Retail Management experience at a level appropriate to the role, to be assessed based on the size and complexity of previous roles. Metrics will include sales turnover and volume and the number and types of roles previously managed.
  • Experience of working in a high-quality brand setting, such as a cultural/ luxury service and selling environment.
  • Demonstrates a commercial, numerate and results orientated attitude with utmost focus on the customer.
  • Experience in providing professional leadership and developing a cooperative environment by promoting cross-functional working, identifying areas of opportunity and proactively leading development of plans to realise potential.
  • Track record of managing operational budgets and business case developments.
  • Market savvy, with strong commercial acumen with experience in interpreting multiple data sources and able to make informed recommendations to improve and enhance trading.
  • The ability and creativity to balance profitability alongside meaningful engagement with authentic Japanese culture.
  • Ability to create a climate where professional learning and personal growth are actively encouraged and valued.
  • Outstanding stakeholder management & engagement.
  • A track record demonstrating significant progression in management; in a role with direct P&L responsibility.
  • Experience of using commercial drivers and financial data to propose and challenge strategic plans and decisions.
  • A solid track record of success in leading cross-functional teams.
  • Proven track record in managing third party relationships.
  • Strategic thinker, experience of converting strategy into detailed operational plans on the shop floor.
  • Outstanding project management skills, meticulously well organised and reliable.
  • Effective collaborator, able to work with colleagues across the organisation to design and embed systems and processes which meet our needs.

Capabilities

  • Excellent written and spoken English, proficient to high business language standard is essential
  • Japanese speaking.
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively.
  • A participative team player with an inclusive approach towards all colleagues.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Strong organizational, planning, and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritize work, whilst paying attention to detail.
  • Able to influence people whilst maintaining tact and cultural sensitivity.
  • Excellent time management skills.
  • A creative mind with an ability to suggest improvements.

Qualities

  • Leadership - Motivate and inspire people to engage with The Japan House vision. Coach and build a team that is effective at achieving that vision. Drive excellence and brand quality.
  • Effectiveness - Nurture the strengths and talents of the people you work with and build teams committed to achieving common goals. Good collaborator who can balance what is required to get the job done well while allowing for both sustained relationships and sustained results.
  • Efficiency - Have a clear direction with a goal on which to focus and the motivation to achieve it. Determine which tasks should be prioritized, and which should be discarded, effectively delegating both the responsibility for completing assignments and the authority required to get things done.
  • Versatility - Adapt your approach when necessary and have a number of different styles in your repertoire. Have empathy and emotional intelligence to understand what style to use in which situation.

Work Environment

  • Office environment, with many duties carried out in JHL public spaces
  • Based at Japan House London, Kensington High Street.
  • Occasional weekend and evening working
  • Additional after-hours project and event-related work may be required.

 

INTRODUCTION TO JAPAN HOUSE LONDON

Japan House is a global initiative led by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). There are three Japan Houses, located in Los Angeles, São Paulo and London. Japan House aims to provide a forum for creative and intellectual exchange between Japan and the rest of the world, by inviting guests from all backgrounds and with a variety of interests to explore, interact with, and immerse themselves in Japan’s rich and diverse culture.
Japan House London opened on 22 June 2018 and is the new cultural home of Japan in London. Presenting the very best of Japanese art, design, gastronomy, innovation, and technology. Japan House London provides unique, imaginative insights into contemporary Japan, its cultures and people. It is a living expression of culture in Japan, it is about Japan now, and provides an authentic experience for visitors.
Located on London’s Kensington High Street, the venue takes up three floors (3,000m2) in the stunning Grade II Heritage Listed Art Deco building that was once Derry & Toms department store. Offering an exhibition gallery, events space, a library, a Japanese restaurant and a social retail floor of thoughtfully curated Japanese products, providing accessibility to audiences driven by a consumer world. This is complemented by a diverse line-up of exhibitions, events, workshops, and seminars. A travel information hub is located on the ground floor and run by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and the Japan Foundation have offices and meeting space on the ground and 1st floor.
Japan House London aims to provide a forum for creative and intellectual exchange between Japan and the UK, by inviting guests from all backgrounds and with a variety of interests to explore, interact with, and immerse themselves in Japan’s rich and diverse culture.
Since opening, Japan House London has presented seven Seasons: Futures of the Future; Biology of Metal, SUBTLE, Prototyping in Tokyo and Living Colours; This is Manga and Anno’s Journey. Over 600,000 visitors have visited Japan House London and over 200 events have taken place.

MISSION

Increase the awareness of all aspects of Japan and Japanese cultures and foster partnerships between the peoples of Japan and the UK and create future sustainability.