Job Search: Smile and ... Spend!; IN America, Shops Try to Make Buying Fun. They Even Have a Word for It - 'Retail-Tainment'. Now a Major New Chain of Superstores Is Putting These Ideas into Practice in the UK. and, as MARTYN LEEK Discovered, It Is Looking for Staff Who Can Smile While They Take Customers' Money

By Leek, Martyn | Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), October 22, 2000 | Go to article overview

Job Search: Smile and ... Spend!; IN America, Shops Try to Make Buying Fun. They Even Have a Word for It - 'Retail-Tainment'. Now a Major New Chain of Superstores Is Putting These Ideas into Practice in the UK. and, as MARTYN LEEK Discovered, It Is Looking for Staff Who Can Smile While They Take Customers' Money


Leek, Martyn, Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)


SHOPPING in Britain is in the grips of a revolution.

American philosophies on treating customers are beginning to filter through to everything from supermarket check-outs to the restaurants we eat in.

One of the movers behind this sea of change is a chain of warehouse-type superstores called Big W - which opened its first outlet in Coventry a year ago this weekend.

There are now four stores in the UK, four more are due to be opened by November, and 90 more Big Ws are planned in the next five years.

The saying from small acorns, large oak trees grow, certainly rings true for Big W's Canadian managing director Bob Hetherington.

He started his career as a trainee for Woolworths in 1970 and then went on to become vice-president. He joined Wal Mart in 1997 and was responsible for 16 Wal Mart stores before starting Big W in this country.

Everything is large about Big W, from the product range - 53,000 different types from Woolworths, Comet and Superdrug - to the size of the stores. The smallest is 80,000 sq ft and the largest is 120,000 sq ft.

Big W stocks everything from hoovers to Barbie dolls. And, according to 52-year-old Mr Hetherington, the secret to Big W's success is simple - it is all down to 'retail-tainment'.

'The shopping at Big W is really a comfortable event,' he explained. …

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Job Search: Smile and ... Spend!; IN America, Shops Try to Make Buying Fun. They Even Have a Word for It - 'Retail-Tainment'. Now a Major New Chain of Superstores Is Putting These Ideas into Practice in the UK. and, as MARTYN LEEK Discovered, It Is Looking for Staff Who Can Smile While They Take Customers' Money
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