Sunglasses Category Development WDF

Increased sales of over 300% in five years

Employed as Global Category Manager Sunglasses it was my task to strategically grow the category sales by more than 10% annually whilst increasing profitability year on year.

The current sunglasses business was performing at just below the previous year and stock levels were challenging.

Context and Challenge

This process involved significant team building, improving communication within the various departments. There was a need to have common goals for the benefit of each other, ensuring all relevant KPI’s were achieved in each department.

Recognition of differing cultures and operational requirements meant each country had to be reviewed for its own opportunities, sharing of success across the company was critical to the project. This also required presenting the proposals to senior management at overseas conferences.

There was a need to share ideas with the key suppliers to get their support and invest in new opportunities as they arose, this also needed to be across different regional offices.


Significant time investment of the buying team in reviewing ranges, setting up product grading, brand ranging, space planning, store layouts with customer flows considered, including  renegotiation of terms meant some extremely hard work and long hours, but was fully supported by the team.

This was followed by a review of the Supplychain process for quicker initial order placing times, smarter reorders, reduced lead times and clear identification of the core/key lines. A review of the exit plan for residual stocks was required and established, involving several departments and supported by commercial finance team.

The UK was taken as the test market and used as an example of sustainable growth to convince other countries to follow the same systems. Overseas training sessions were arranged and fully supported by the various operational teams.

A strong marketing plan was confirmed, not only supporting a monthly promotional calendar, but key promotional sites were created in store in high traffic areas resulting in strong incremental sales. At the end of the year a further push to sales was agreed in the form of a new voucher promotion, helping drive cash margin sales through driving volume off peak sales.


Through enhanced team work, involving not only the Buying team, but also Supplychain, Commercial Support, Commercial Finance, Marketing and Operational Teams the UK business delivered increased sales of over 300% in five years, with increased % profitability every year.

The sunglasses team also achieved the kudos of winning Head Office Team of the Year in 2014, showing a strong understanding of working together in harmony to deliver results.

Further management support of the actions lead ultimately to the growth of the category into new areas, with stand-alone stores under the Sunglasses Boutique fascia and a key part of the new Collections stores. These concepts have been rolled out as part of a global programme.

Full support of the key suppliers has been critical throughout and strong relationships have been forged which remain today.

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