About - Testimonials

Bernie Brookes
Group CEO, Edcon, South Africa; former CEO, Myer Stores, Australia

 ‘In a world where retail training is average and most, retail books are aged, it’s great to see this collection from Prakash and Andrew. The contents are modern, easily digested and are a new retail encyclopedia!

The series contains essential tools and techniques that every retailer must know and adopt if they are to be number one. The 360-degree approach is an eye opener for the savvy market retailer who knows that it is not enough just to engage your customers but also your employees and your partners. It’s time to unlearn what doesn’t work, and through this series, adopt efficient and effective, profit-centered concepts with tactical options.

I foresee this series as fast becoming the primary, mandatory curriculum for every retail-learning partner worldwide.’


B.S.Nagesh
Founder TRRAIN; non-executive vice-chairman, Shoppers Stop Limited, India

‘As a retailer, I believe retail is the simplest business in the world complicated by humanity. I have been part of many debates where we have tried to understand whether retail is an art or science. When I look at traditional retailers, and the success they have achieved, I believe retail is an art whereas when I see the modern retailer or an online company, I am convinced that retail is a science. However, when I read through the six volumes of Black Belt in Retail series, I am convinced that retail is an art, which can create a retail business and make it successful by applying the science.


I wish I could become a student of retail, or if I had access to the Black Belt in Retail series in 1991, we could have saved millions of dollars. Prakash and Andrew have put together one of the best education and skilling tools that I have ever come across. One can go from start to finish and learn the whole gamut of retail or you can get into a particular chapter and get a solution or way forward. I also like the stress on profitable growth, as they have stressed upon as below with worksheets and exercises.

  • Great buying and negotiation skills: The first point to build a profitable business by ensuring intake margins.
  • Retail profits:The only way a capital intensive business like retail can grow, as it requires continuous investment in renovating current stores and adding new stores.
  • ROI: All stakeholders have to get appropriate returns to ensure continuity of investments and business.

The Black Belt in Retail series brings in this awareness at every level of the organisation structure, whether it is a retailer or a buyer, a CXO or a retail operations manager. We all know that retail is a customer led business, and the Black Belt in Retail series builds a strong emphasis on the subject through ‘Power up your Retail’. The importance of people for improving customer service and the need to keep an eye on the inventory in the stores is called out.


I love the fact that ‘Checkmate in Retail’ has put in an easy way of building a retail strategy and the way to execute the same. Emphasis on measures is very critical as we know, what is measured is what is achieved, and the ‘Winning Formulas in Retail’ have given enough measures along with tools, to ensure that you don’t lose control on the business.


In my opinion, the Black Belt in Retail series can become an independent:

  • Graduation course for students who want to make retail a career.
  • Can be a beginner’s guide to retailing or a retailer’s framework for training their graduate trainees.
  • For professionals to brush up their skills and go back to refresh when they face simple challenges. (online support, webinars, individual coaching online are great ways to help).
  • For the top management, a useful tool to look at the business in an easy way.

I am confident that the efforts by Prakash, Andrew, and the team will be of immense service to retailers to make their business more productive and profitable. Customers will see better service due to improved availability and empathy from the people in the business.’


Paul Delaoutre
President – retail, Al-Futtaim, U.A.E.; former CEO, Galeries Lafayette, Paris

‘We, in retail, continue to face many challenges on our way to management excellence. After 20 years of retail, I am still fighting the same widespread counter-productive behaviours:

  • Too much focus on revenue and little understanding of the main sources of profit.
  • The beliefs that headquarter teams know customers better than store teams.
  • A lack of well-shared, widespread KPIs.
  • Too much focus on next week and no time spent on a vision of the next five years.
  • Heavy focus on controlling investments and low control on merchandise commitments.
  • The belief that the more stock you have the more you will sell.
  • A lack of attention paid to markdowns.

I was therefore very pleased to discover the Black Belt in Retail series. An educational tool; to the point; it’s comprehensive, and easy to use. It is obvious there is a lot of retail experience behind it. I hope the series will be shared and used by my retail colleagues.’


Salil Nair
CEO, Shoppers Stop, India

‘Retail has existed since time immemorial. Learnings have passed down generations, and successfully. However, the simple business of buying and selling isn’t simple anymore.


The modern retailer has many challenges to face, and that too, at a rapid pace – highly evolving customers, unpredictable business environment, changing platforms to name a few. However, what have not changed are the basic fundamentals of retailing. The basic art of selling on the shop floors or the elementary science of buying remain unchanged. This is where most retailers fail today.
I would like to compliment Prakash and Andrew for recognising these fundamentals, and bringing it to us in the form of the Black Belt in Retail series.


The Black Belt in Retail series is not only an excellent tool for students of retail but for anyone who wants to start a retail business and make it successful. Even for veterans who wish to brush up their skills, the Black Belt in Retail series is an excellent source. The books cover the entire spectrum of retailing and arms one with the right knowledge, skills, and strategies required to become confident and aware of the tools to be used and when. Simply written, well explained with worksheets and exercises, the series makes one absolutely confident.
The primary objective of any business is to make a profit. Prakash and Andrew have very appropriately stressed upon profitable growth in their ‘Rocketing Retail Profits’ apart from ‘Pump Up Your ROI’.


The ‘Power Up Your Retail’ arms the store teams to look into the three basics- GPROI, GPROL, and GPROF. What I liked most are the 108 retail formulas for Retail Mastery.


Great Buyers make all the difference to retail success. ‘Rocketing Retail Profits’ is the best guide for all who think they are creative but lack the mathematics of buying skills.


The Black Belt in Retail series gives the necessary inputs and insights to each and every individual in retail from store operations, through to buying, merchandising, planning, finance or the supply chain.


I would recommend the Black Belt in Retail series to anyone who wishes to learn, who is in and who desires to excel in retail.’


Michele Hamdorf
Former GM Operations, Myer Stores; former GM, Baby Target, Australia.

‘The reality is that industries never stand still. They continuously evolve. Operations improve, markets expand and players come and go. History teaches us that we have a hugely underestimated capacity to create new industries and re-create existing ones.’ – Blue Ocean Strategy; W.Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.


The Black Belt Retail series is the best advancement and market changer in the global market today. Its first six books immediately give access to would be and current retailers in a format that has not been previously available. Specific retail education has been ad hoc and at times unrelated to the ‘real world’ of profitably managing a business at an ever-increasing pace.
Online retailing, web 2.0 mobile applications, pop up shops and retailers reverse bricks and mortar footprints have all been market disruptors to entities in a retail mall which has lived by the mantra ’buy product and the people will come’. Those in the future that have access to great resources will win in both competing in the red ocean of ‘me too’ basic retailing and the blue ocean of finding your unique point of view or creating a blue ocean of uncontested market leadership across multi channels.


Prakash Menon and Andrew Cavanagh have produced pragmatic ongoing mass available tools for anyone that trades in a product or service to a consumer with proven formulas, easy to understand concepts and covering all aspects of sustainable, profitable retailing.
This is a global first. A trajectory jump in the way education and training is delivered in the 21st century.
As a global retailer, manufacturer and brand specialist of thirty years, this is a high quality product that I definitely will be using for all my work with individuals and large companies I work with.


I’m ready to get my Black Belt in Retail and continue to upgrade as the Black Belt mastery and coaching model evolves with the membership of this retail academy.


For those that do not have the time or resources for themselves or staff to attend a top tier university this is an option that is time efficient, and unlike many MBAs or courses laser beams in on the key principles to ensure your venture is a success.Valuing your business and brand, helping to convince investors of your value and the skill of accurate forward projecting is a skill rarely taught in the best courses.
This initiative is a credit to Prakash’s foresight and his insight gained from decades as a top-level retailer.From backroom to boardroom, the Black Belt Retail series and online academy is absolutely the blue ocean of retail training.


Nick Peel
CEO, Marka Holdings, U.A.E.

‘I have been in retail management now for three decades, and the fast-paced, ever-changing world of retail is as exciting and relevant today, as it was when I started out as a management trainee.


Today’s challenges are also today’s opportunities; big data; personalisation; omnichannel platforms; customer experience; mobile commerce — all combine to create a physical and digital marketplace impact.


But some constants remain:

  1. The need for financial excellence, and understanding even at store level.
  2. Making informed business decisions, not just intuitive leaps in the dark.
  3. The importance of budgeting, planning, forecasting the future. Preparing for success, not just looking in the rear view mirror.
  4. Negotiation skills and relationship building.
  5. Strategic decision making, understanding the right marketing approach for tomorrow, and how it all fits into your retail business model.

 

I believe that Prakash Menon and Andrew Cavanagh have addressed all of these issues and much more in their first class series, the Black Belt in Retail publications, which can be accessed by the book, webinars and even via practical exercises with the authors themselves.
These are excellent tools for those starting out in any retail discipline as a career choice and also middle management developing their skill set and expertise. I highly recommend the Black Belt in Retail series.


Our retail future remains exciting, challenging even volatile. Rest assured that execution and the need for an engaged and skilled workforce would become increasingly important. Execution IS Strategy.


Black Belt in Retail can help your organisation develop your very own ‘Retail Ninjas!’
Well done Prakash and Andrew.’


Hussam Raouf
Chairman, Raouf Advisory; former head of retail real estate, Emaar Properties, U.A.E.

‘We are in a transformative time for retail, where the disruptive innovation and revolutionary changes in technology, society and consumer behaviours will continue to impact the industry, and massive realignment is required to configure new age skills and new thought leadership.To achieve continuing growth in retail business, you need to understand clearly the principles, and adapt to the trends and the underlying drivers that are emerging.


The Black Belt in Retail series is a very compelling read, simple yet comprehensive guide that gives you the tools you need to understand the retail fundamentals and its applications in business and life.’