Harrison

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Harrison’s is a multi-line traditional department store which deals mainly with men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing. It is one of the largest privately owned retail stores in Australia. It was founded in Sydney as Harrison Brothers Corporation on September 15, 1898, by Aubrey and William Harrison. Recently, the store has expanded to include household furnishings and other items for the home. The long term goal of the company is to become the leading chain of department stores in NSW, selling moderate to better priced merchandise to middle class, fashion conscious customers. The company is highly decentralised and maintains a very small corporate office. With the continued revolution of businesses and markets, stores have experienced significant impacts. Traditional department stores like Harrison’s are beginning to experience the effects of a number of changes in the retail industry. Not long ago, major department stores succeeded by being all things to all customers. Shoppers can go to one department store and have all there needs catered there. You can shop for clothes, do groceries, eat, watch movies, pay bills, and do virtually almost everything else in one department store. However, today’s customers are looking for both value and specialization. Thus we can see the appearance of many specialty stores. Superstores and giant discounters are also popping up. At the same time, the retail industry faces the challenge of keeping a well trained, highly motivated sales staff and management team that can handle well such a change and everything it brings with it. , who is currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), described the company’s strategic challenges for the next five years: “We can no longer continue to do the same old things that gave us a reputation for fair value. We must reposition ourselves – floor to floor – offering exciting brand names, excellent sales help, and frequent sales. We need sales staff who know the merchandise and understand customer preferences. Buying expertise is also critical because fashions and consumer tastes never stay the same. According to , the company has new five strategic goals: (1) Convert non selling space into revenue generating selling space, (2) Build up underdeveloped merchandise categories, (3) Invest aggressively in private brands like Polo, Nautica and Tommy Hilfiger, (4) Reduce costs through use of advanced computer systems to project sales and manage inventory, and (5) Improve productivity of sales associates, buyers, and department heads. The Human Resource Manager of the company, , has the major responsibility of addressing the problems encountered by the company in relation to the company’s size and strategic goals. Prior to her employment at Harrison Brothers, had several years of experience at the Westpark Store, at retail stores and came to Harrison’s after being a buyer at one of its major competitors. According to , Harrison’s has really grown in the last two years. The store is carrying more specialty and designer clothing lines at present and has added items that they hope will appeal to moderate to high income customers. Since coming to work at Harrison’s, has attempted, together with other human resource personnel, to set up procedures and policies to assure proper staffing of the store. said that she spends most of her time just managing the Human Resource Department. Judging from her interview, views her role as the Human Resource Manager as a challenging yet fun one. She thinks it is important to keep abreast of the performance of workers, and she likes to observe their work habits regularly. She also spends a good deal of time on selecting applicants for the sales floor in the business, and the employee, or one who is ‘in-between jobs.’ also discussed the structure and staffing of their human resource. Their main sources of applicants are those that respond to their newspaper ads and those that have heard by word-of-mouth thru...
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