For Argento’s chief executive officer, Peter Boyle, the past year has been a time for putting big plans into action – as well as seeing them come to fruition.
His biggest achievement has undoubtedly been the completion of a £5m project to refit and upgrade all of the company’s stores – many of which have been doubled in size, from 500 to 1,000 square feet – with the help of local designers and craftsmen.
“The new look of the stores promotes our Northern Irish heritage in a subtle, cool, contemporary way,” says Peter. “The refurbishment has given us a profile of stores that we are proud of, improving the in-store experience and setting up our retail offering for the next few years. It also provides brands with a great space in which to present their collections to customers.”
The team has also been busy making improvements to the Argento website, as well as working on own-brand presentation, which has led to a substantial increase in sales. Next on the agenda for Peter, meanwhile, is the opening of stores in new locations – hopefully three before Christmas, along with the closure of three underperforming stores.
But the planning doesn’t end when he leaves the office. Outside of work Peter has been restoring the derelict 19th-century Ormiston House in Belfast (once owned by Lord Pirrie, of Titanic fame) for the past 18 months, with another year still to go. “My wife makes sure I don’t forget I have a family though!” he smiles.