”The Transformation of a Company in a Volatile World”: In her talk for Frankfurt School students, alumni and friends, C&A CEO Giny Boer outlined her strategy for the European fashion icon in highly dynamic times. As insecurities and change are most probably here to stay, she shared a key learning: You need to be comfortable with the uncomfortable!
The CEO of fashion icon C&A shared how she started her job at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, when offices and, even worse for the company, stores were closed. Working remotely and on her own, she made herself familiar with the company, its products, stores and online channels and, most importantly, its co-workers virtually. Step by step did she launch a comprehensive transformation process for C&A. As a very important part of this process, all stores, their design and sizes were put to the test. As a result, the stores now undergo a complete modernization, allowing customers to enjoy a unique shopping experience that focuses on outfits rather than on single items. In addition, the huge range of clothes was reviewed and reduced to carve out distinctive C&A looks. The pandemic also accelerated the expansion of C&A’s online channels as well as warehouse capacities and supply chain processes. Giny Boer and her team also updated C&A’s fashion collection. Since her appointment, stylish collections were launched via new campaigns and, another novelty, at fashion shows.
“Retail is about products and people”, stressed Giny Boer in her talk. She explained that she involves all co-workers in the transformation process and initiated new ways to address and solve problems. The hierarchy was flattened. “If you see a problem, you own it!” is one of the new credos asking everyone to embrace change, take ownership and get out of their own comfort zone. Several boards and committees manage and cluster change initiatives to ensure resources are efficiently used.
In the discussion following her talk, students and alumni dived deeper into how Giny Boer runs C&A. Asked about what she is looking for in new co-workers, she replied: “Everyone got talent”. Giny Boer is convinced that sharing the same set of values is key to be successful – especially in a turbulent, highly competitive global industry. Therefore, it is fundamental that all staff live up to the purpose of C&A: inspiring everyone to look, feel and do good; as well as the WHY, which is offering stylish, affordable andsustainable clothes.