HOT 100 2014: John Lunn, Lunns

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Taking on the management of a family business that has battled through myriad ups and downs over a 60 year history to remain the destination store in its city can be intimidating for the next generation. But that’s not what’s been keeping John Lunn up at night.

That would be his baby son Tom, who was born in September last year. “I tell you what, you really appreciate a full night’s sleep every once in a while,” laughs John, who took over as managing director of the luxury Belfast retailer in 2012.

While his personal life might be somewhat disrupted with nappies and night feeds, at work things have been sailing smoothly in this important anniversary year.

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“Over the last 12 months we have been as focused and strategic as possible, and I think this mindset has resulted in some key successes for us,” says John. “In addition, we have tried to make sure that whatever we do, be it big or small, it fits in with our brand so that we can give our customers the best possible experience when they visit us.”

Like many retailers in this book, the development of its digital business has been critical for Lunns this year. “Our biggest achievement has been relaunching our website,” says John. “As anyone involved in this area knows, it is a vastly intricate job, and has taken the last 18 months to get to where we are now, with many headaches in the middle and a lot still to do, but it is encouraging to see how traffic to our site has greatly improved.”

With those headaches out of the way John is now ready for a few muscle aches as he sets himself a very tough personal challenge. “I’m competing in Ironman Mallorca [triathalon] at the end of September,” he reveals. “It is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run and we will be raising money for a charity called Water for Life that digs wells for villages in East Africa. I think the only thing to look forward to for the race will be that the weather should hopefully be a bit brighter than Belfast!”

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