Interview with Karen Eidsvik Moody, Regional Director Asia, Subway
How would you define the current momentum of the retail sector in Asia?
Asia’s a big place, some countries are doing better than others. China’s retail is really being hit by the online shopping opportunities and the differences in prices between online and in store. Phillippines is doing great, India’s finally starting to turn around. I think retailers and shopping malls need to review how they are talking to the consumers and what they are doing in store to align with their online shopping habits.
Where are the growth areas for the retail sector in Asia?
Really hard to say right now with a lot of places shrinking rather than growing. Online I guess would be a sector.
What are the challenges and issues?
Landlords and development investors that don’t understand that their constant search for better ROI is killing their business as retailers move or close because they can’t afford the rents. Millennial staff that don’t have a service attitude and as a result are very hard to train and retain. Governments that are over protective and stifle competition as a result.
Karen has helped Subway, the world’s largest sandwich franchise; grow from fewer than 50 stores in Asia to almost 1,100 stores currently, spread over a diverse range of prime and high catchment retail properties. She opened the first store as a franchisee in Singapore in 1996 and supported the growth in S.E. Asia prior to being appointed to her current position in 2004. Karen came to Asia directly after graduating from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Prior to joining Subway, she worked as a management consultant developing and implementing market entry strategies for companies in Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. She currently leads a team of Franchisees, Development Agents, and company staff with offices throughout Asia to grow the Subway business to 2,500 stores by the end of 2015. The team’s focus on helping franchisees increase sales, profits and to locate prime locations to build new restaurants is the key to its current and future success. She is the current Chair of the Franchise and Licensing Association (FLA) of Singapore an organization devoted nurturing and developing Singapore’s franchise industry.