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62


Future of Retail — The CFO Issue


issue 04


finance team who Malhotra says have been “up-skilled”. Their new enhanced role can be seen


through their involvement in the transformation of the Knightsbridge store. “The project to determine the level of investment required, the defining of how the building work should be conducted, and deciding on the end layouts were heavily influenced by the finance team,” explains Malhotra. Finance, and particularly the CFO, are


in a unique position in being involved in all activities across a business. “You have the freedom to roam. When you look at a project you are able to look at the whole picture,” she says, adding that these skills have been in bigger demand due to increased demands on business requirements. These requirements are partly a result of


the transformation taking place in retail that is being driven by digital developments. This has led Malhotra to work closely with the IT director at Harvey Nichols: “The CFO needs to understand how technology impacts on the business and the return on investment expected. The decision making can be tough and until I’m clear on the benefits then I’ll keep on asking questions until I understand.” She points to the fact that there is now


the use of digital marketing and social media, where concepts, tools and strategies are constantly evolving when compared to traditional marketing channels. Whatever decisions are made, Malhotra says it is ultimately down to it optimising the customer experience across digital and physical. For Harvey Nichols, she says, both are “key


pillars of growth”. Although online is the fastest growing channel, thereby requiring levels of investment, the physical stores are also vital to the company as the focus shifts towards giving shoppers more experiences in-store. This has involved the capital expenditure at


Knightsbridge going on the likes of a Beauty Lounge, which is dedicated to express and luxury beauty treatments, pop-up restaurants on the food-focused Fifth Floor, and a concept space in the new Menswear Destination, ‘Project 109’, on the ground floor that involves


Finance, and particularly the CFO, are in a unique position in being involved in all activities across a business.


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