An Interview with Shannon Cooney - General Manager of Mr Vitamins/ Business Development Manager at iRetail
Q: What was your first job in retail?
Shannon: In a previous role, I was Detective within the New South Wales Police Force for twelve and a half years. From there I had a strong interest in risk mitigation and solutions to profit loss. I had acquired this skill-set while being a police officer and saw an opportunity at MYER and began my retail career in the profit loss and risk management department. While acquiring a Diploma in Security and Risk management.
Q: After your career at MYER you went on to work at Sanity (Australia's largest music store chain). How did Sanity adapt to increased competition and scepticism in the survival of the music industry?
Shannon: By 2005, Sanity Music was at maximum capacity, we had acquired Virgin Music and iMV Music to make Sanity the leader in music and DVD retail around the country. We had a significant number of stores, but we had to re-work our business model to change with the consumer. Ray Itaoui (Executive Director at Sanity) led a monumental change by transitioning Sanity towards a regional focus instead of densely populated cities. The result? Sanity today have over 160 stores and the last years were some of the most profitable. Customers still love the tangible product and shopping experience.
Q. What are the growing trends in the retail music industry?
Shannon: Theft. External and internal theft is on the rise, and retailers are starting to wise up to the fact that they need to have systems to minimize the down-side of theft. At Sanity we used to have a really high level of theft. One time there was a group of young men who would come into the store and steal the cases of the CD's and then use them to sell 'pirated' CD's at the local markets on the weekend. The earlier you identify the problem, the quicker you can solve it. There a re a number of local and international music artists that continue to make great music across numerous genre's that are embraced by the Australian music community.
Q:You now work as an Advisor at iRetail, quite a diverse group of retailers, what does your day-to-day look like?
Shannon: In my view, working for one of Australia's best retailers - Ray Itaoui, I'm exposed to limitless opportunities. Recently we opened Bras N Things in South Africa, my main role is to advise on the cultural differences, human resources, finance and warehousing so the expansion can be an effective one. One of our newest retailers to iRetail is Rituals which we acquired from Europe to bring down-under. I advise on the warehousing, supply chain and online. And I am always meeting with new retailers. I strongly believe that retail is its own university.
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The Futura group of companies began in Hamburg in 1975, when Futura directors began working with one of Europe's largest fashion retailers to create their merchandise control system. The key components of this system were then programmed into Futura as a complete enterprise retail system (ERS). Since then more than 35,000 installations have occurred across the globe.
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