Thursday, 3 April 2008

Bad tidings as April gets underway

This blog has been with-held until a decent period had past since the 1st April - just in case anyone confused this worrying message with a form of black humour. Sadly, it is the real thing...

Katie Kilgallen, writing in the 'Retail Week' about the latest ICM poll to be published reflecting the mood of the consumer in the High street. She reports that "Of the 1,050 consumers surveyed, two thirds believe economic turmoil will increase over the next 12 months. Nearly a third fear for their jobs and 42 per cent feel they have less to spend."

Yes, it is only a small sample, yes it might well be that the particular locations of these people would mean that their view of the world is unlike anything experienced in your High street; but all that does not mean that it is not a reality. Retailers, especially SME retailers, are resourceful and optimisitc creatures usually - but it is those who are pragmatic and plan for resilience against the draughts of recession who are most likely to remain in business.

Of course, these things also offer a glimmer of opportunity too! The flexibility of the SME can really score in times of recession - remember not to buy too much stock and keep a weather eye out for the changes in the market demands and re-stock in small quantities of those things that are selling. Don't discount more than is absolutely essential and trade on quality service and quality product - but at a reasonable price that compares well within the normal market range. Above all, maintain profit levels, reduce costs and ensure that your customer service is second to none! (Remember to train your staff effectively too ... the subject of another blog, I can just feel it coming on)

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