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ERA UK franchisees collaborate to help Clintons stores maximise profits

ERA UK franchisees collaborate to help Clintons stores maximise profits

Franchisees banded together, allowing for more savings to be made in each consultant’s specialised field, in turn improving clients’ bottom line and increasing franchisees’ own profits

An icon of the British high street, Clintons was founded in 1968. Today it is the proud operator of 231 stores across the UK. However, with rising costs and the ongoing challenges posed by online competitors hitting the business, it enlisted ERA to help optimise costs and procurement.

All of ERA‘s cost consultancy business owners have the ability – and are actively encouraged – to work together. This allows more savings to be made in each consultant’s specialised field, in turn improving clients’ bottom line and increasing franchisees’ own profits.

The power of this approach is illustrated by the results driven by a group of franchisees for greetings cards and gift retailer Clintons, on behalf of parent company Esquire Retail.

Why did Clintons need ERA’s help?

Despite its household reputation for quality products, Clintons is not immune to the rise of e-commerce and personalisation offered by competitors. To make matters worse, like many beloved high street shops, Clintons felt the full force of COVID-19’s arrival – temporarily closing a high proportion of its premises and seeing sales fall considerably.

It was at this point when Esquire Retail’s head of finance, Dominic Green, engaged the services of ERA’s senior principal consultant, St John Rowntree, and his team of specialists.

“The objective was simple: optimise procurement to free up the capital which would allow Clintons to survive and grow,”  explained St John.

How did ERA get started with Clintons?

It’s common for businesses to be apprehensive about trusting third-party consultants with procurement, especially those of Clintons’ size. However, all ERA franchisees receive training and ongoing support in overcoming these potential hurdles.

In this instance, Clintons initially entrusted the assigned ERA team with reducing spend in two ‘test’ categories: waste management and stationery & PPE.

When it quickly became clear significant savings could be achieved, the green light was given to St John and his team to optimise costs in six additional areas: packaging, helium gas, insurance, mobile phones, landlines, and point of sale.

What savings did ERA generate for Clintons?

By utilising their knowledge and experience across these targeted specialised areas, the ERA team were able to deliver substantial savings in all reviewed cost categories.

See the immense impact the work had in the graph below:

How ERA’s team made it happen

Waste management
“I helped Clintons to achieve 25 per cent savings on its waste and recycling. The work involved improving the unit rate from the incumbent supplier and making several changes to rationalise services. We monitored that the new services were implemented appropriately at each store and provided guidance to make the project a success,” said Dan Howells, waste & waste management specialist.

“Instead of going to landfill, what if bags could be recycled again and again? That was the packaging procurement challenge set by Clintons. The company said goodbye to virgin plastic bags, reduced their carbon footprint and made tangible savings in the process,” explained Richard Anson, packaging specialist.

Stationery and point of sale
“By switching suppliers, Clintons were able to make savings of 32 per cent on stationery procurement. For a point of sale, we again went to the market and found a 20 per cent saving with a new supplier. Clintons were keen to allow the incumbent supplier to improve their pricing, so I invited them to do exactly that. They did, so Clintons were able to remain with their existing supplier at the improved price,” said Keith Copestake, stationery, office supplies & print specialist.

Helium gas and communications
“By carefully analysing the feedback on a detailed survey sent to store managers, ERA was able to recommend the optimum size of helium cylinder that could be safely delivered, stored and handled at every site. The project achieved savings of 18.2 per cent at a time when helium prices were being squeezed. As well as the helium gas project, our communications team worked closely with Clintons’ head of IT to reduce the number of lines required in each store, resulting in savings of 23.2 per cent,” explained St John.

What did Clintons make of ERA?

“ERA was able to exceed our expectations, and we remain delighted with the outcome,” said Dominic.

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