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SAQ-HEC Montréal program in retail management



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This unique, hands-on program has been designed to meet the needs of today’s busy managers. The 50-hour course is divided up into five 1.5-day sessions (Monday evening + Tuesday all day), held every three weeks.

Main takeaways:

  • Improve retail management knowledge and skills.
  • Acquire better tools to boost your bottom line.
  • Understand the various components of the retail industry.
  • Utilize best practices to make strategic and tactical decisions that get results.




The evolving retail landscape

Monday evening: January 14 (opening cocktail reception) + Tuesday all day: January 15, 2019

Economic, demographic, social, political, legislative and technological trends. Globalization, polarization, concentration, aging, generational power, cultural mosaic, fiercer competition, increased number of points of contact, social and mobile media, e-commerce, greener practices, buying local, etc. Numerous examples of new store concepts and trend-savvy initiatives.

Analyze and understand customers, competitors, the market, the environment and the status of your business. Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Develop and implement a lucrative marketing strategy. Segmentation, targeting, positioning, differentiation, innovation. In-store concepts and sensory branding.



The fundamentals never change: Accounting, technology, human resources and logistics

Monday evening: February 4 + Tuesday all day: February 5, 2019

Labour shortage context. Finding the right people: attracting, recruiting, hiring and onboarding promising candidates. Having the employees you need, when you need them: retention, succession planning, scheduling. Ensuring your staff have the required skills and motivation: engagement, performance management, training, coaching, acknowledgement. Improving workflow.

Using financial reports as a decision-making tool. Break-even point, fixed and variable costs, safety margin. Budget tracking and variance analysis. Cash flow budget. Investment project evaluation. Preventing loss, theft and fraud. KPIs for sales, market share, margins, stock, occupancy costs, marketing (traffic, conversion, average invoice, visibility, satisfaction), ROI. Statistics on several of these aspects. Dashboards.

What IT systems contribute in terms of strategy, customer experience, efficiency and productivity. Centralized and decentralized setups. Integrated specialized software; interfaces, system architecture. Barriers to computerization. User and IT staff concerns: security, reliability, scalability, compatibility, ease of use, cost. Required investments.

Managing your supply chain to minimize total cost of ownership and have the right items at the right time, price, condition and place. Procurement: anticipating demand, supplier relations, order management and restocking. Inventory management. Physical distribution: handling, shipping, receiving, returns, service.



The digital revolution, communications, KPIs and customer retention

Monday evening: February 25 + Tuesday all day: February 26, 2019
Monday evening: March 18 + Tuesday all day: March 19, 2019

Interactivity, traceability, personalization, consumer empowerment. Search engine optimization, social media, banners, interstitials, partnerships, sponsorships, emails, mobile technology, websites. Social media approaches: absence, observation, experimentation, integration. What makes a website effective and how to measure its performance. Three goals: attract, sell and retain.

Advertising, promotion, sponsorship, PR, customer experience, mobile, electronic media – a world of converging communication and marketing channels. Slash prices or bolster branding? Inspirational examples of creative approaches that have met with great success.

Increasing profits by cementing the loyalty of top customers through education, personalization and incentivization. Four types of loyalty programs, from simple to complex. Implementation “how to.” Spotlight on loyalty success stories.



Retail environments and the customer experience

Monday evening: April 8 + Tuesday all day: April 9, 2019

Factors to consider in retail location. Benefits and drawbacks over time of various types of locations. Location studies, site evaluation, trade zones, customer point of origin, market demand and supply analysis, sales forecasts. Six space strategies.

In-store concepts and sensory branding. Retail mix, product lineups, category-based management, retail space planning, merchandising, ambiance. Private labels and manufacturer brands. Pricing policies and tactics, gross profit margin, turnover. Customer experience management, moments of truth, CRM, service, sales, satisfaction and expectation management. Marketing research, customer databases. Store visits and meeting with owners and/or CEOs.


Special features

  • Intensive professional development program in tune with the needs of retail managers: 50 hours in total spread out over five sessions (Monday night and Tuesday all day) every three weeks.
  • Hands-on content.
  • Limited number of enrolments to ensure high-quality interaction.
  • Compelling input from top industry executives.

Download our brochure

Training approach

  • Dynamic, interactive, user-friendly and hands-on.
  • Sharing of participants’ thoughts and experiences.

Additional information

The fee as listed represents only a portion of the total cost of the program, most of which is covered by the contribution of our valued partner, the Société des alcools du Québec.


Place and Dates

HEC Montréal
Coming dates


50 hours:
Five Mondays – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and
Five Tuesdays – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


$3,000 + taxes

Is this for you?

  • Owners and future owners of retail establishments
  • Experienced retail managers

Faculty administrator

Louise Faubert, L. ès L.
Director, Cercle Omer DeSerres




Christine Beaulieu,
MBA, PMP, Executive Partner, Gartner

Manuel Champagne,
MSc (Human Resources Management), Assistant Director, Détail Québec

Guy Charron,
Executive Vice President, Operations – Retail, Cominar Real Estate Investment Trust

Catherine Dagenais,
President and CEO, SAQ

François Desrosiers,
MBA, President, Interim Marketing, Lecturer, HEC Montréal

Marc DeSerres,
President, DeSerres

Roméo DiLiello-Roberge,
General Manager, Bikini Village

Jacques Farcy,
Vice-President, Sales Network Operations, SAQ

Louise Faubert,
L. ès L., Director, Cercle Omer DeSerres

Jean-Hugo Filion,
Vice-President, Business Lead, Cossette

Josée Fiset,
President, Première Moisson

Marie-Claude Frigon,
CPA, CA, Partner, Richter

Chantal Glenisson,
Chief Executive Officer, Aubainerie

Jean-François Grenier,
MSc, Senior Director, Altus Géocom, Lecturer, HEC Montréal

JoAnne Labrecque,
MBA (Marketing), PhD (Consumer Economics), Associate Professor, HEC Montréal

Paul Lafortune,
Associate, PL3C, Lecturer, HEC Montréal

Hugo Lesley,
MBA, CPA, CA, Full-Time Lecturer, HEC Montréal

Gino Plevano,
Vice President, Digital Strategy and Loyalty, Metro

Jean-François Renaud,
Co-Founder, Adviso

François Roberge,
President and CEO, La Vie en Rose

Sylvain Sénécal,
MSc (Marketing), PhD (Marketing), Professor, HEC Montréal, Chairholder, RBC Financial Group Chair of E-Commerce

Léopold Turgeon,
C.Adm, President and CEO, Conseil québécois du commerce de detail

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