Retailers such as M&S and Travis Perkins are giving more responsibility to their store managers. Retail Week finds out why and looks into what decisions store managers should make.

In a big retail business, store managers can be seen as just another cog in the machine, but these employees are the closest to an ever-changing customer that retailers are desperately striving to understand and serve.

But, depending on the size of the shop, store managers can be responsible for millions of pounds worth of turnover and hundreds of staff members. Given this, should store managers be treated like CEOs of their own multimillion pound business?

Last month, home and DIY retailer Travis Perkins revealed it was moving away from the “divisional structure” above its builders’ merchants to give branch managers more power to make decisions such as which products to stock in what volumes.

Travis Perkins is not alone. Earlier this year Marks & Spencer said it was moving away from the “head office knows mentality” that had crept into the business and was “taking steps to bring back the voice of the store”.

M&S head of transformation for stores & property Jo Moran tells Retail Week: “Over the past few months at M&S we’ve started to rekindle what we call the voice of the stores, which had become disconnected. Doing this is all about putting the customer back into the heart of decision-making.”