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Gloucestershire Business News

There's no room for complacency in modern retailing

Keeping up with the latest in retail trends is the key to Cheltenham retailer Mark Davies' ongoing success.

With UK retailing in the doldrums, big brand retailers including John Lewis and Argos are constantly looking at ways to re-engineer their core business. Enekes in the Regent Arcade is a shining example of the fact that even the smallest independent trader can succeed in a competitive marketplace if the business model is right.

Mark Davies opened his luggage store in the Regent Arcade 15 years ago and set up the online side of the business a little later in 2008. Now he has a thriving business that showcases twenty-first century retailing, proving that you don't have to be a famous high street name to combine traditional shop keeping with an online presence.

At a crossroads recently, he couldn't decide whether to grow the business by investing more in online or to upgrade the shopfit in- store. But then he noticed a new, emerging trend. High quality prestige brands seem to be moving away from online marketplaces in favour of supporting traditional retail outlets. Customers too seem to want a 'real' shopping experience. As a result, he has seen the balance of his sales shifting to 60% in store and 40% online.

He explained: "Suppliers like Samsonite and Ted Baker are now far keener to offer me price support in my Regent Arcade store than they are for my online offer, which has the effect of making my shop prices actually lower than online for those high-end brands.

"This is because quality brands want to engage directly with their customers and ensure they will be given the highest possible service which can only be done face to face. Selling top quality bags and luggage is all about understanding the needs of the customer and then let them have the experience of seeing the products in the flesh to enjoy and appreciate their quality.

Although his luggage website has allowed Mark to expand his product range without having to increase the physical size of his store, he has invested in new lighting and re-configured the retail space to enhance the customer experience and give him more display area. Now Enekes' impressive selection of quality bags, luggage and leather goods by top brands Samsonite, Ted Baker, Brics, and Cath Kidston can be displayed to their best advantage.

Added Mark: "By having a retail and online presence I can have the best of both worlds and give customers what they want."

In his Regent Arcade store Mark has created a contemporary, light environment which, combined with exceptional customer service, keeps regular customers coming back to Enekes.

Enekes is located on the ground floor of the Regent Arcade. Website: 

Pictured: Regent Arcade centre manager Scott Lahive (left) with Mark Davies of Enekes

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