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Luxury retail leading the way for recruitment in Canada

The retail industry is the largest public sector employer in Canada and although the sector experienced difficulties in the last global economic crisis, its position at the top continued and is reported to have grown year on year since.


In January 2013, Target decided to close its 133 Canadian stores in favour of bolstering its locations in the US and boosting its online presence.  With Target’s exit from the Canadian market, the outlook for many large retailers looked bleak; however exponential growth from the likes of Costco, Walmart and Canada’s own:  Hudson’s Bay looks to prove there is still room for retail giants in Canada.

This is not to say that the retail sector in Canada is dominated by the large and sometimes global companies. In fact the strongest retail markets in Canada could be argued to be in luxury goods. The introduction of the likes of Nordstrom show there is room for growth while the continued success of Harry Rosen and Holt Renfrew prove there is demand for a high-end, bespoke retail experience.

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But why do these companies succeed?

Branding is key in not only attracting customers but also in attracting the right candidates. A strong brand that attracts customers onto the shop floor and wins their loyalty is likely to impact candidates in the same way.  The most successful companies will market the benefits of being an employee in tandem with marketing the company itself. It is no surprise that many of the best companies to work for are also the highest grossing according to Canada's Top 100 Employers.

Canada’s luxury retail market requires candidates that possess particular skills and experience as tailor-made, indulgent, customer journeys are often responsible for their success. Luxury retail is often renowned for its employees that go the extra mile in satisfying their customers; however applicants with these skills can often be lost in the fray as companies are inundated with résumés.

Candidates can come from a variety of backgrounds as skills are transferable from industry to industry; however this can add to the complexity of sourcing them. Candidates from hospitality backgrounds or customer service for instance often possess key skills for retail however can be easily overlooked due to lack of experience.

With a bespoke customer experience, staff retention becomes increasingly important. Staff churn costs businesses financially, however the negative effects on customer satisfaction are equally important. Customers that shop for luxury will not only expect a better experience from skilled, knowledgeable staff, but they will also expect to be greeted by the same friendly faces on future visits; high staff turnover  reflects badly on a business and is easily noticed by regular customers.

In short, recruitment is one of the most influential parts of creating a successful business, especially when the business is largely represented by its staff. Canada’s growing luxury retail market stands to greatly benefit from improved recruitment techniques that will help achieve a competitive, recognisable brand. More thorough, innovative recruitment techniques will also help drive down attrition rates by sourcing the most qualified candidates as well as those who are more likely to remain within the business.

To find out more about branding and how your recruitment process might be affecting it click here.


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