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Switching card payment services to Lloyds Bank Cardnet has enabled high street clothing retailer Fat Face to cut costs and attract more shoppers to its stores.

Fat Face, a UK lifestyle retail company that is expanding rapidly across Europe and the US, has reduced its card payment transaction expenditure and tapped into innovative ways to attract customers to its stores following its move to Lloyds Bank Cardnet.

The high street retailer, which sells through more than 200 retail outlets, has been looking at ways to continue growing revenue while also improving profit margins. It switched card payment service provider after revisiting its banking relationships during a refinancing exercise and hearing from Lloyds Bank how card payment transactions can be used to improve efficiencies and boost sales.

Innovative solutions

The in-depth insights on the retail sector made an impact on the Fat Face decision- makers. “Lloyds Bank brought through all of their area experts, explaining in detail what they do and how everything works. Their knowledge of card products and enthusiasm for helping clients get the best use out of them shone through,” says Will Crumbie, Group Finance Director at Fat Face, of his meeting with Lloyds Bank in the tender process.

Alan Scarfe, Senior Relationship Manager at Lloyds Bank Cardnet, highlighted ways that retailers like Fat Face can reduce credit and debit card fees to issuers. He also shared case studies of how retailers use card payment service providers to generate sales. Discount vouchers can be offered and cleared through the Bank, instead of the retail company – which is a major attraction for premium retail brands that do not want to dilute brand value by cutting prices.

“Most customers think it is their bank giving them money back and the retail company is not seen as discounter because the shopper is still paying full price at the till. This also means the retailer doesn’t have to train the staff about the voucher,” says Alan, who is a strategic relationship specialist looking after a portfolio of 16 retail customers.

Improved profit margins

Founded by friends Tim Slade and Jules Leaver, who came up with the idea to sell t-shirts to fund Alpine skiing adventures, Fat Face specialises in high quality casual clothing for family-oriented men and women. The company has grown its revenues since inception in 1988 and has a turnover of more than £200 million.

Lloyds Bank now provides Fat Face with all its main banking, clearing, deposits and cards services. But there is far more to the offering than dealing with ongoing transactional issues. Alan provides regular updates to Fat Face on where opportunities lie to improve efficiencies in payment systems.

As a retail specialist looking after the big high street brand names, Alan has a deep understanding of the card-processing challenges for retailers. “When I meet with Will, we don’t only look at what happened last week or last month – we have a strategic discussion of how the market has changed, how to take advantage of these changes and, importantly, how to increase turnover,” he says.

Harnessing the latest card technologies and benefits has helped Fat Face to position itself for the next phase in its international growth strategy. “For a business of our size and geographical footprint, I think Lloyds Bank is a perfect partner. Overall we are very happy with the relationship and how it is moving,” says Will.