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Murphy’s Menswear

An assertive sales and marketing strategy has seen Murphy’s Menswear in Newcastle West, Co Limerick, trade well during the downturn.

“I advertise far more now than I ever did before because it has never been as cheap,” said managing director, Declan Murphy. “You have got

to curtail your budget and make sure you spend wisely, but you need to grow the business, and advertising can help do that.”

Murphy has run a series of sales over the past 12 months, aimed at attracting younger customers to the store, which this year celebrates its 120th anniversary.

It sells a large selection of suits, casualwear, knitwear, shirts, underwear, sportswear, footwear and formal dress wear. Murphy has extended his suit offering to include larger sizes, broadening his customer base as a result. “You’ve got to be different, you’ve got to try something new,” he said.

Growing The Business

He now hopes to grow the business year-on-year and boost revenues, which currently stand at e300,000. He is also keen to reduce overheads, examining everything from bin charges to phone bills.

“You have got to implement a cost-saving strategy and to look at every aspect of your spend. If you get into the mentality of saving, and being positive about it, you will notice a positive effect on your bottom line,” he said.

Set up in 1889 by Murphy’s great grandfather, Murphy’s Menswear has long been a fixture in Limerick, but Murphy ventured away from the family business to gain experience.

After studying in Dublin, he spent 13 years working for Best Menswear in the capital. In 1999, Murphy headed to Australia, where he spent a further six years with the David Jones retail chain.

Working Your Wy Up

“The biggest mistake you can make is to stay in your own business, because you don’t learn anything or bring anything new to the business. The 13 years I spent in Best saw me go in at the bottom and work my way up,” he said.

Murphy returned to Limerick two years ago to take over the family business following his father’s retirement. He immediately opted to invest e120,000 in a major renovation of the store.

“Like everything, when you start a new business, you’re looking to do something different. I knew dad had a good suiting business, which I moved to the back of the shop, and then put new fit-outs into the front of the store,” he said.

Customer Top Priority

Murphy believes that customer service should be the top priority for all companies in good times and bad.

“The one thing that we seem to forget in retail is how important the customer is, and I’m very big into customer service. You need to be polite, to be very helpful and to listen to their needs. I take the approach that I’m operating a e20 million turnover-a-year company, and all my customers are considered as important,” he said.

“If you deliver really good customer service along with keen prices, they will come back. My mission statement is ‘customer service number one’.”

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