Setting up our stores

Early in the year, the Links is kept busy preparing for the upcoming season. For us in the Visual Merchandise (VM) team, the winter months are the busiest preparing our five retail stores.

Our retail operation has grown considerably over recent years with over 104,000 customers visiting our shops, the majority visiting in June, July and August. We pride ourselves in merchandising our shops to the highest quality.

Ryder Cup window theme (September 2018)

Even though our job often requires us to be reactive to many situations, planning is key as our job begins well before the stock arrives in our warehouse. Throughout the winter months, we work behind the scenes creating story boards with upcoming collections, planning window themes and displays, setting ideal stock levels for all products so that when the merchandise arrives in our warehouse it can be picked by our warehouse team and taken to the stores. We additionally use shop floor plans to allocate space for collections.

Story boards created during the winter season

A lot of preparation goes into the creation of our stores’ windows. It’s important to us they’re visually appealing and encourage customers inside. Ideas and themes can stem from many places. We initially start by looking at the collections that our buying team have brought together for the season and analyse the colours and any themes the brands have already developed. We then create themes and bring in props to create impact. Windows with a particular story or message are important. Golf events and national holidays are big themes for our windows; The Masters, Ryder Cup and The Open being marquee events.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship display

Sales analysis is another important task we undertake. It’s crucial we know what is and isn’t selling. During the winter, we attach codes to each product which are categorised by colour stories. We create sales reports that allow us to react to high and low sellers. We then create new window and in-store displays and regularly move collections within the shop to shake up what’s more prominent to the customer.

Our new Spring/Summer 2019, ‘Rule 18’ Bobby Jones Collection

Our new Bobby Jones 10th Hole Collection 

From April until October, we are busy working in our shops from 6am to cause as little disruption as possible during opening hours. The objective being to change windows and displays before the shops open with preparation including steaming clothes and folding in our premium, branded tissue paper.

The early rises are getting easier as the sun begins to join us as we get to work. Hopefully you can stop by and see some of the displays we’ve been working on in our stores!

Words by Catherine Kelly, Visual Merchandise Assistant

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