Business Wisdom

From the desk of ... Margaret Barron Head of Strategy, Musgrave Retail Partners

The CV: Margaret Barron has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University College Cork where she majored in Marketing and Economics and began her career with PepsiCo before moving to a brand manager role at Glanbia, at a time of growth for a thriving Irish company. Four years later, she took up the role of marketing manager with JC Decaux, before becoming senior brand manager for two of Heineken’s flagship brands, Murphy’s and Coors Light. She joined Musgrave in 2009.

Describe the business that is Musgraves?
Musgrave houses two of Ireland’s leading retail brands, SuperValu and Centra. SuperValu has 222 stores, 25 per cent market share and annual turnover of €2.6 billion. Centra has 465 stores, 44 per cent market share and annual turnover of €1.5billion.

What are the company’s priorities for 2015?
To continue to be Ireland’s leading food retailer. Retailers delivering multiple channels to serve customers will thrive in 2015. Consumers expect the same service, products, offers  and pricing online as they do in store and on mobile. Their shopping experience must be consistent across all channels. Retailers that customise their stores according to the needs of their local communities will be successful in 2015.

Describe your role?
I am responsible for  the delivery of the SuperValu and Centra brand agenda with clear commercial and brand targets and I’’m responsible for the creation of the commercial plan for the organisation across marketing, sales and trading.

What attributes do you think are important for your strategy role?
A clear vision. The conviction and the courage to take risks. A relentless focus on achieving results and making that vision become a reality.

A typical day?
My day can include an advertising shoot, a sponsorship meeting or working on new potential brand extensions for SuperValu and Centra. I work with my colleagues across trading, sales and marketing, to achieve annual targets for both brands.

How do you build a team?
Talent is the driving force of success in Musgrave. The bar is set high: we look for passion, commitment and commercial smarts. It’s that mix that makes a winning team.

An accomplishment you are most proud of?
I am most proud of SuperValu scooping the ADFX Grand Prix award for the most effective advertising campaign in the Irish market in 2012.

Three adjectives people might use to describe you?
Positive, decisive and creative.

How do you handle a difficult situation?
My philosophy is to keep calm and deal with things in a measured, focused way, thinking through the issues myself or with my colleagues and partners  – and being decisive.

Which is the most useful way to engage clients or suppliers? A business breakfast or lunch?

Both. Getting out of the office and turning off the phone creates an environment conducive to a comfortable, honest conversation – which often leads to a stronger working relationship.

What keeps you awake at night?
Right now, it’s our eight-month-old little girl Eve – but she always greets us with a smile – so I can’t complain.

Favourite things to do with family and friends?
Swimming with my little boy Matthew on Saturdays. A meal with family and friends. I believe the fabric of family and friendships are woven by time spent together.

Working Life: The Way I Do Business
1. Looking the Business: I gravitate towards classic silhouettes and bright colour palettes. I think tailored trousers and a blouse is the perfect look for the office. Good shoes elevate every outfit. My favourite labels are Moschino and Lennon Courtney. 2. Planning the future: I’m very fortunate to have a well-managed pension scheme with Musgrave. 3.Work life balance: I have a very supportive husband, Ciaran, and we stay close to get the balance right for our family. 4. Staying connected: I stay in touch with peers by attending industry summits, networking online and meeting up in person.