Retail Manager Mat Haylock talks us through some big changes in the shop.
With the new Stadium shop now open, there are big plans ahead for the Retail Department, with some having been implemented already, as Mat explains:
“Firstly I’d like to welcome on board Anthony Sirkett as Asst Retail Manager. Anthony will be based in the shop and he has some great ideas for the retail space which will increase footfall and make the shopping experience better for our fans. Anthony will be known to many from his time selling programmes for the last few seasons and he was Team Leader of the programme sellers at the point where physical programmes were last sold at games, which feels like an age ago now. He also helped out with Dons Local Action Group and volunteered in the Club Shops at Centre Court and Plough Lane.
"We needed to increase the number of staff in the department as it was simply becoming too big for one person to manage. Having Anthony look after everything shop-related will free me up to spend more time on the backroom bits, like increasing the range and looking at other ways of making the retail offering more attractive to our fans. On that note, don’t buy any Father’s Day presents yet as we are running a promotion next week leading up to the 20th. Anthony will also be opening the shop on Saturday 19th and Father’s Day itself so fans can take advantage of the offer in person.
"Having another staff member also means we can expand the shop opening hours and from next Monday, 14th June, the shop will stay open until 5pm during the week with plans in place to open every Sunday from 4th July until government restrictions on attendance are fully lifted. We also now have a dedicated shop telephone number – it’s 0203 988 7855 and is already up and running.
"The bigger space in the new shop allows us to increase our range and we are expecting to be able to launch a heap of new clothing in the next few weeks, including an exercise range and a brand new range of male and female clothing. I’m really excited as we’ve found a new supplier for the ladieswear range this time and the big difference is I was able to look at and touch the products first-hand, whereas the last collection had to be selected via zoom due to the pandemic.
"Talking of new stock, we have new training kit and a brand new third kit arriving soon. It’s difficult to plan due to not being 100% sure if and how the government guidelines will change, but we’re looking to launch the training kit in July – this will be a ‘soft launch’, so online and instore. However we’d like to be able to do something a bit more special with the new third kit, due to be released in early August, by which point the Vaccination Centre should have closed. We’ll provide further details of this as soon as the landscape is a little clearer.
"We’ll also have more stock of our super-popular home shirts arriving in the next few weeks. It’s been frustrating having demand there that we’re not able to meet, but circumstances beyond our control meant a lot of the larger sizes were unsellable and so despite ordering significantly more than in previous seasons, we were still left with empty shelves.
"Finally, I need to give out a huge thank you to the numerous volunteers who have given up their time in the past year to help in the shop, both in Centre Court and at the new ground - George Jones and Esther Beaumont deserve special mentions as without them it would have been virtually impossible to keep everything going.
"I hope everyone enjoys their summer - Anthony and I are certainly looking forward to that first busy match day!”