National Retailer Business Transformation Case Study

Large Corporate Retailer, 30yr old business, 2500 employees, national company-owned stores + franchise stores


Despite 30 years of operation, with stores across the country, one of Australia’s largest and most iconic furniture retail brands was lost. A disengaged team, resulting from an apathetic and inert culture driven by process and admin systems, had lost its mojo.

The once aspirational, energetic business had lost its brand’s essence. Their once distinct USP had disappeared and they had become one of many in a junkyard of retail stores, driven by low prices and generic customer experience.



Starting with the core purpose of the business, its brand, Karen set in motion a range of strategies to reengineer the business’ USP from a bargain-basement warehouse to an aspirational mid-market brand.

A redesign of store floor plans to present furniture and homewares as stories, rather than simply products, alongside a new  ‘stake in the ground’ strategy, taught staff to sell based on inspiration and aspiration, not product.

Key metrics to focus, motivate and reward staff reignited their love for what they do and why they worked for the business. Removing unnecessary non-sales tasks from the store team allowed staff to put the customer at the core of their role. PPH improved, inefficiencies were stamped out, and fewer errors increased their motivation and improved the customer experience.

Karen developed and introduced an in-store interior design service to elevate the brand, resulting in multiple unit sales and increasing ATV, daily dockets, overall sales/store/week and ultimately increased profit.

Alongside the company-store transformation, Karen gave the franchise arm of the business a voice. With franchisee satisfaction improved, franchisees were re-engaged and willing to participate proudly as part of the network. As a result, sales increased and with that, the bottom line.



Over three years, the culture was restored, the business was aligned and the brand’s point of difference was being recognised, all resulting in transformation across all aspects of the business.

Introduction of in-house interior decorating service

The introduction of an iD (Interior Decorating Service) was a foundational growth pillar of the business transformation plan. The service was a visible point of difference in a highly competitive, discount driven market.

  • Sales growth year on year through FY14 to FY16.
  •  Growth in all retail metrics year on year, specifically productivity per hour (PPH), Average Transaction Value (ATV) and the company’s Net Promoter Score (NPS).

The business signed a strategic partnership with Sydney Design School to support the new service, further elevating the brand’s inspirational tone.

Staff Reengagement

Staff were once again engaged, motivated and proud to work for the business.

  • Clear accountabilities aligned store staff to the brand vision ie to re-establish it as an aspirational mid-market retail brand.
  • A high-performance formula for Store Managers streamlined recruitment and ensured consistent performance management across company-owned and franchised stores.
  • A strategic and operational training and development calendar ensured ongoing support of staff and the company’s vision.

Franchise Business

In FY16, Karen identified the companys’ franchise arm as a strategic growth pillar. She developed and implemented the business strategy, franchise model and operations structure. The contribution of the franchise arm between FY14 and FY15 grew and was significant to the overall performance of the business.

Recognition of Karen’s work

Karen’s leadership and strategies achieved national recognition.


2004 Telstra NSW Business Woman of the Year


2005 PWC NSW Franchise Woman of the Year


2007 PWC National Franchise Woman of the Year

  • Your business is not what or where you want it to be
  • The numbers are underwhelming
  • Your market share is not what you dreamt of
  • The creative spark behind the brand has disappeared. Everything is beige and unoriginal
  • You’ve done countless planning sessions before, but any attempts at change have failed
  • You are falling behind the competition, and you don’t know where to start to keep your business moving as quickly as it needs to