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STRAP


Cheryl Taylor talks to Chris Hart, Managing Director of Charles Ager Ltd.


With stores in Coventry, Kenilworth and Swadlincote, celebrating 175 years in the footwear trade. In 2000 we installed Retail Technology’s, EPOS system to monitor style


Q&A: Name: Chris Hart, Managing Director of Charles Ager Ltd.


Shops: 4 stores. Our main Charles Ager shop is in central Coventry with a smaller Charles Ager shop in Kenilworth. We also have 2 Clarks Franchise shops in Kenilworth and Swadlincote.


Brands: Clarks, Startrite, Gabor, Rieker, Loakes, Ecco, Merrell, Hotter, Dr Marten, Lelli Kelly, Timberland, Waldlaufer, Heavenly feet, Ruby Shoo, Lunar, Anatomic Gel, Fitflop, Marco Tozzi, Lotus, Jenny /Ara, Earth Spirit, Moshulu, Birkenstock.


Home Town: Kenilworth, Warwickshire. Family: Married Michelle with 3 kids, Nicole, Emma and Sam.


How did you get into footwear? Tell us about your background and your current business? I first started working for my father David Hart in 1991 after several years


working in the green grocery trade. At this time Charles Ager was trading out of 2 shops, Charles Ager in Coventry and a Clarks franchise in Kenilworth. Soon after starting we took over an existing Clarks franchise shop in Swadlincote. Then several years later we took over another shop in Kenilworth, this Charles Ager shop sells many brands but not Clarks as we already had the franchise shop in the same precinct.


28 • FOOTWEAR TODAY • APRIL 2014


and brand performance, today we could not be without such a system In more recent years we opened an online store www.charlesager.co.uk My Mum and Dad still come into the shop, Mum still does the Company’s


accounts and Dad just comes in about once a week to keep an eye on me. Except for when the weather’s good, then he just phones from the golf course. We are members of IFRA (The Independent Footwear Retailers Association) of which I’m on the council. I am also a supporter and a lifetime member of The Society Of Shoe Fitters.


Where are your premises located and how many people do you employ? Do you have a high turnover of staff? Our main shop is in the centre of Coventry although it is not in the main shopping area but on the periphery, it has been in its current location on Corporation St since the previous store was completely flattened in the Blitz of 1940. As well as this store we have another smaller shop in Kenilworth and two


Clarks Franchise stores, in Kenilworth and Swadlincote. We employ around 30 staff, a few full timers, but mainly part time to give more flexibility. Having a healthy children’s business we usually take on students for the


busy ‘Back to School’, we warn any new staff about this selling time, but when it arrives they all say ‘I didn’t think it would be THAT busy!! And often they return for a 2nd or sometimes even a 3rd year making the training less arduous.


Tell us about your shops, the local area, your customers and their requirements? We do offer a Children’s Shoe Club, this is a loyalty card where shoe


purchases are entered on the card, one per child, when 11 pairs are purchased we say ‘Thank you’ to the customer and the 12th pair is FREE. This means we have regulars including grandparents bringing in their grandchildren, who had their first shoes fitted with us many years before.


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