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May 21 2012

Harrow traders see increased sales after Council training

Traders in Harrow have seen an increase in sales after jazzing up their shop displays with the help of training provided to them via Harrow Council.

The Visual Merchandising training programme, run by Vision On, gave Harrow’s businesses independent professional support that larger department stores often use to help promote their goods.

Eleven retail businesses in Harrow Town Centre and 21 in North Harrow completed the training, and a graduation ceremony with awards for traders showing good practice in visual merchandising was held. Certificates were presented by the Mayor of Harrow, following presentations from Ray Hancock from Vision On and Mark Billington, Head of Economic Development at Harrow Council.

The training certainly paid off, with 73% of the Harrow Town Centre traders seeing an increase in overall sales and with 91% attracting new customers since completing the training. In North Harrow, 60% have attracted new customers and 65% have received positive feedback from their customers about the changes to their business since finishing the programme.

“Supporting the town centre and local businesses is a top priority for the Council.” – Cllr Keith Ferry

Ashley McGrath, who works at Toy Galaxy in Station Road, Harrow, is one of the traders who completed the training. He says he has seen an increase in sales and positive customer feedback. He added: “The trainers were amazing because they were very approachable, and as a result we feel more confident. Sales have increased and we now have a vision. I’d like to thank Harrow Council and Vision On for this opportunity. Each session felt just like a friend’s advice. We’ve made a lifelong friendship!”

Debbie Canwell, the shop manager at Gold Lovers in Harrow Town Centre, was so impressed that she asked four other staff members to participate in the training to learn as much as possible. She said: ‘This course has really opened up our eyes and given us all a new perspective. We feel we are really making focused changes now to drive sales and we have a plan going forward.”

The training was provided through money secured from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund. Harrow Council was given a total of £856,400 which was spent improving parking, encouraging visitors and increasing footfall, as well as finding apprenticeships.

Cllr Keith Ferry, portfolio holder for planning and economic development on Harrow Council, said: “Supporting the town centre and local businesses is a top priority for the Council. They are the heart of our communities and we want to help them thrive. Ask any experienced salesperson what is important for successful sales and they’ll say that creating a good impression is key.All of the outlets that completed the training now look very inviting. It’s fantastic that the programme we have provided our local businesses with has been so successful in getting new customers and more sales. We have secured a further grant of £1.8m from the second round of the Outer London Fund. Our plans for next year include improving the public realm, creating a town park and hosting further events in the town centre.”

 

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