Message from the General Manager
Trisha Tannis | Barbados
Unicomer (Barbados) Ltd. has been a part of the Barbadian landscape before the country gained independence in November 1966. It has therefore enjoyed the successes associated with economic development and the social enfranchisement of the average Barbadian citizen. It has also felt the backlash of recessionary times and the ravages of local austerity measures on its business performance. The trading brand ‘Courts’ has become synonymous with accessible credit for the lower income citizen and is credited with affording Barbadians their first chance at social mobility in terms of access to finance of household items.
The Unicomer trading brand of ‘Courts’, represents affordability to the local consumer. The company is also personified as being approachable and trendy and catering to customers from most social and economic strata. The company is recognized as being the leading consumer finance lender through the hire purchase facility, on the island, and has an acceptance rate of 95% of all consumer credit applications. The loyalty factor is also one of the highest in the Caribbean region since 92% of the credit applications are from repeat business. This of course presents an opportunity to capture the attention of a new generation of shoppers and as such the new iFinance initiative has been embraced by the company and youthful customer alike. The imminent launch of the first Courts store card in Barbados will represent another innovation that further reinforces the accessibility and ease of Courts consumer finance.
The local business has benefitted from tremendous group support since acquisition. The economies of scale which are brought to bear on regional and group merchandise negotiations results in local price competitiveness and margin optimization which cannot be easily matched by local competitors. Capital injections in store refits and displays have raised the standard of local merchandising standards to a level that is comparable to that of the United States, based on customer feedback, and access to capital has resulted in financial restructuring and balance sheet strengthening. The group focus on results oriented performance has transformed the local culture and has placed talent development and performance management high on the list of key strategic priorities in the local business.
Team work has been an essential component to the ongoing performance of the local business. In 2012 especially, the ULA and Caribbean groups together aligned and defined a common set of strategic pillars and expectations. This has enabled full alignment of corporate, regional and local teams in the Unicomer group to drive the strategy and execution for group results in the same direction and with the same focus. At regional level the functional experts help to shape the policy guidelines and to partner with local teams in the achievement of functional excellence. This two way dialogue has resulted in a stronger and more robust regional group.