Executive Education Launches First Run of Retail Management Program


Due to the recent marginal stability in inflation rates during the year and major economic reforms, the retail sector is expected to maintain a positive growth trajectory in the medium- to long-term. This anticipated growth, associated with consumers’ evolution and the change of spending patterns, encouraged the Alexandria Business Association (ABA) through the Egyptian initiative for retail development committee to approach the AUC School of Business for a collaboration in developing programs for retail professionals. This should enable participants to adapt and thrive in the current and future volatile and uncertain business environment.

The programs target the development of retail professionals, namely middle-management and senior levels, across the industry’s different clusters. Together, the Retail Management Program’s first run was launched, designed for middle-management retailers and supervisors, who are in-service in the retail industry.

Launched in April 2019, lasting for a week and attended by 26 participants representing B.Tech, Tico, Mansi Eyewear, Baraka Fashion, Gomla Market, Cilantro and Zooba, the program consisted of three modules: retail management, selling skills and seven skills for a great retail manager. The sought outcome behind the modules was to develop participants’ professional and personal competencies for managing retail businesses, achieving a better performance that would eventually lead to improved customer experience and adaptability to change and evolvement. 

Topics covered during the program ranged from identifying the fundamentals of the retail industry and understanding retail standards and SOPs, to becoming familiar with customers’ incentives to buy and methods to establish rapport with different customers’ personality styles, along with techniques for time management, prioritizing services and tasks to match business momentum and creating awareness of KPIs to illustrate best daily actions and achieve desired results.

Ahmed Allam, program technical team lead, elaborates on the distinctiveness of the program: “The program combines what is academic and theoretical with applied theory. We combine experiences from our day-to-day life in the Egyptian market and link it to theoretical aspects in books. This program focuses on both foundation and application.”

The first round was a successful one, as per the testimonials of the participants. Diaa Lotfy, branch manager at Mansi Eyewear, asserts: “We were provided with very rich experiences that are very realistic, and they are all - without exception - beneficial. Moreover, the experiences from colleagues in other companies added value, allowing us to know where we stand.”

The Egyptian retail landscape is a traditional, trade-heavy one with over 395,000 stores, among which only 40% of stores contribute to 80% of the revenue. This presents many challenges for players in the industry, each determined to find the perfect strategy. The key process to determine that strategy is to lay a solid foundation and understanding of how to make decisions and manage the business effectively, which is the ultimate goal of the Retail Management Program.