Jonathan Shaw

Retail Marketing Ltd CEO Jonathan Shaw has stated that he is determined to unwind and get some much-needed relaxation during the final days of 2023, even though the end of the year tends to be quite a “busy period” for retailers.

For many businesses, the last few days of the year are often dedicated to shutdowns, reflecting on the past year, and settling down to plan for the coming 12 months.

However, this isn’t the case for retailers, as in addition to their yearly assessments, they have to remain open to cater for customers’ needs such as last-minute Christmas gift shopping and ingredients for holiday feasts.

Mr Shaw, who is at the helm of Retail Marketing Ltd, the company which owns supermarket chain Welbee’s, reflected on what this period usually entails for retailers during the latest instalment of MaltaCEOs.mt’s end-of-year series. He also touched on what opportunities and challenges he anticipates 2024 will bring, as well as some skills he would like to personally develop in the new year.

Mr Shaw has served as CEO of Retail Marketing Ltd since June 2022, and despite having the hectic lifestyle that the retail industry brings with it, he is still determined to improve his work-life balance, in a bid to prioritise his mental and physical health.

When asked which three words he would pick to sum up his 2023, Mr Shaw chose “engaging, resilient, and collaborative”.

“These words represent the transformative journey we’ve undertaken at Welbee’s. We embraced and engaged innovation, demonstrated resilience in overcoming challenges, and fostered a collaborative spirit that has strengthened our team and operations,” he remarked.

He explained that he is proud to have led the supermarket chain during a period of “significant growth and transformation” from both an internal and external perspective. Mr Shaw stated that since Welbee’s was established, its brand positioning has grown, together with its customer base and market share, while a number of “strong initiatives” were introduced.

Mr Shaw said that these accomplishments were done all while maintaining a “customer-centric focus”, a feat that proved particularly “challenging” amid mounting inflationary pressures.

Retailers have come under increased scrutiny in recent years, as inflation has prompted the prices of various products, ranging from bread all the way to beverages to rise rapidly. As a result, clients have seen their trips to supermarkets become more and more costly. Supermarkets have sought to minimise these increases by taking some of the brunt of the increase in cost-of-living, subsidising certain products, yet this can only be done to a certain limit.

Mr Shaw anticipates a number of market and economic challenges to persist in 2024, and noted that it will be difficult to navigate them. However, he pointed out that the new year will also see Welbee’s strive for “further digitalisation, strong market initiatives, and expanding its service offering to further engage customers”.

He noted that the chain will seek to further consolidate itself as a leading local supermarket brand, a goal that will be further achieved through the opening of Welbee’s 10th supermarket at the Shoreline Mall in Smart City, Kalkara.

Looking back, Mr Shaw expressed gratitude towards Retail Marketing Ltd’s Board of Directors for their “trust and support”, as well as the Welbee’s team for their “commitment and dedication”.

“Their hard work, from those at the Head Office to each and every one in our supermarkets, has been the driving force behind our success. Additionally, I’m thankful for our loyal customers and the trust they continue to place in Welbee’s,” he commented.

Turning more to his personal life, Mr Shaw was asked how he intends to celebrate the turning of the year, to which he replied that it is still quite a “busy period” for retailers.

“However, I will definitely find the time to switch off, reboot, and recharge for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” he continued.

He said that in 2024, he wants to incorporate more reading into his lifestyle. “And by read, I mean actual printed books and not off a screen,” he emphasised.

In terms of a work-life balance, Mr Shaw said that he already has quite a good routine in place. “Luckly, I manage to stick to my daily fitness morning routine and it is now an ingrained habit. My work is fine, but maybe I’d like to spend less time on my phone after working hours,” he explained.

When asked where he sees himself in a year’s time, Mr Shaw said that his priorities are, and will continue to be, mental and physical health. “As long as that is in order, I’m fine. Not just for me, but for my family, colleagues, and friends,” he affirmed. Mr Shaw, earlier this year, mourned the tragic passing of a friend and colleague, the former Head of Marketing at Welbee’s Supermarkets, Joseph Vassallo, news that was met with an outpouring of grief.

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Retail Marketing Ltd CEO Jonathan Shaw

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