Jobs on offer as retailers look to open more outlets

After moving online during the circuit breaker, some retail outlets face manpower issues after reopening

After working in the wholesale trade for about seven years, Ms April Peck, 44, made a career switch to join luxury watch retailer All Watches last December.

To help her transition into the new role and equip her with the customer service skills needed, the company enrolled her in a professional conversion programme for retail professionals in March.

Ms Peck said: "It's very relevant, and the trainers use real-life examples to help you have a better understanding of how retail operations are carried out."

The two-month circuit breaker, during which retail stores had to stay closed, forced retailers to transform their business models, she said.

"We were already on e-commerce, but we were not really doing it aggressively. So the circuit breaker prompted us to take drastic action to be digitally ready," said Ms Peck, who is married with two children.

When the stores reopened in mid-June, she said they had a better perspective on carrying out work such as having virtual consultations for customers.

She added: "... it's not easy for me to join a new industry... so long as my skill sets are still relevant, I will want to stay in this industry."

While some retailers - including Robinsons - have been hit hard by the pandemic and have been forced to close, others are looking to hire to support their expansion plans.

Home-grown footwear retailer Moda Paolo is opening two new outlets. Mr Loh Chong Hoe, who manages marketing and communications at Moda Paolo, said the company is taking advantage of lower rental at malls as a result of the Covid-19 situation.

He said: "It is a gamble on our part... (but) we are hoping that things will get better in the next one to two years."

To support its expansion plans, Moda Paolo is hiring retail managers, branch managers, sales assistants and customer service staff.

Local fashion label The Closet Lover will open its fourth outlet this month at Takashimaya Shopping Centre and is looking to fill managerial positions as part of its expansion plans.

"Sales have been better than expected, both online and retail," said co-founder Brianna Wong.

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Mr William Ow, senior consulting manager at employment agency Search Personnel, said he has seen an increase in retail job openings since the end of the circuit breaker.

"Previously, the retail sector was hiring mostly Malaysians and Filipinos, and some of them went back to their home countries," he said.

"At the time, companies did not see an impact because they were asked to close their stores and they moved to do e-commerce... Now, stores have reopened and these companies are facing a manpower issue for front-of-house operations." - THE STRAITS TIMES