Q&A with Andrew Jennings
Meet the man who revitalised Woolworths
The man who brought new vigour to Woolworths 12 years ago says retailers must adapt fast to new developments
Chances are you’ve heard of Andrew Jennings. The British national has held positions in some of the world’s most illustrious retailers: Harrods and House of Fraser in the UK, Saks Fifth Avenue in the US and Karstadt in Germany. It’s partly thanks to Jennings that we can walk into Woolworths to buy figs, cottage pies, toilet paper and Chuckles. As MD of retail at the upmarket chain he implemented the first iterations of Woolworths’ trolley-shopping and larger-sized stores strategy that forms the essence of its food business today. In fact, Jennings coined the chain’s phrase: "We must have the mind of a supermarket and the soul of a deli." Jennings was brought in as a turnaround man in 2006, and during his three years at Woolworths introduced new ways of thinking about customers; reorganised buying, planning and design functions; and put the retailer back on track with a clear strategy. Jennings famously butted heads with Woolworths chairman Simon Susman (then the retailer’s CEO), but...