Big thank you from

Jenny Munro talks to Jonathan Glenister

Jonathan GlenisterJONATHAN Glenister, 30, is the General Manager of Marks and Spencer Sprucefield.

Originally from the South East of England, he has been working for the company for 13 years. He started as a part-time member of staff when he was studying A-Levels before taking up a graduate position.

The re-designed Marks and Spencer store at Sprucefield will be unveiled on Thursday. The store has undergone a major development with improved home and clothing, a new men's serviced footwear department and the first M&S Patisserie in Northern Ireland.

A day in my life as General Manager is fast paced. dynamic and varied. I'm always on the go. I wake up at 6.30am and get to the Sprucefield store for 7.30am.

The main priority when I arrive is to review the sales figures for the previous day or week. I spend a lot of my time on the sales floor. My presence helps motivate and inspire the staff, which in turn is reflected in the sales and ensures that customer service remains the number one priority.

At 8.45am there is a team briefing. The managers provide me with feedback on sales and we talk about news from within the Company. Communication is definitely the key to the smooth running of the store. We discuss service standards and new lines. I don't run the store from my office but instead from the sales floor.

I check that the store is perfect before the customers arrive. I visit each section and discuss the priorities of the day and make sure there is enough space for the fast selling lines.

Throughout the day I may have conference calls with Head office and meetings with the local council and Centre Manager to discuss best practice and ideas on generating customer interest. Occasionally I also have meetings in London and Dublin to ensure the customers are getting exactly what they need and want in Sprucefield.

With a staff of over 500 I am responsible for their health and safety and wellbeing at work so I check that the appropriate health and safety measures are adhered to and I also arrange service training days for new staff.

Customers frequently approach me on the shop floor. which is great. It's good to keep

in touch with them and the feedback is extremely important. If a customer brings up an issue I usually invite them along to have a coffee with me to get the matter resolved. I find this is a very effective measure. Getting lunch is a challenge. I normally have a sandwich and spend most lunch breaks on the phone.

During the afternoon I spend time on the shop floor. We operate a `9-2-5' policy, which ensures that the store continually looks as good throughout the day - 9am, 2pm and 5pm.

My job includes managing all the costs involved in running the store. It can involve a lot of paperwork. which I like to work on either very early or at the end of the day.

I spend time planning ahead. often centred around events such as Valentines Day, Easter or Christmas. I interpret the plans sent from Head Office to suit the store layout. At the end of my day I have a final briefing with the duty manager, but in reality I am on call 24 hours a day. I normally leave the store between 7.30pm and 8.00pm. I don't have a lot of spare time but when I get the opportunity I do enjoy playing tennis and squash and relaxing with friends.

Ulster Star