In light of Tesco’s current challenges, I was pleased to read that a significant proportion of Philip Clarke’s investment will be assigned to developing his staff’s skill set.

Many retailers still place a high emphasis on competitive pricing, sometimes forgetting that the quality of their business depends largely on the quality of their staff.

Without proper training, staff proficiency is unlikely to improve. But improved staff skills and abilities can benefit the shoppers, head office teams and, of course, that all-important relationship with the suppliers - as well as the store staff themselves.

In a recent survey that my company completed with a leading supplier, 90% of account managers said their “buying” contacts at head offices were less skilled now than three years ago - adding that buyers were now rushing into decisions due to time pressures. This created problems down the line when promotions appeared in-store.

Chris May, managing director, FXL