Wednesday, 21 December 2011

2011 in retail

What a year. From Boom to Bust and a little more Bust. A downward spiral across the Continent, a failure at Eurovision, riots in the streets and even Sir Phill is out of pocket. But, having said all that and having lived through it all; we're still here.

Businesses have suffered and closed, we've waved good-bye to some of the UK's best loved multiples and countless indie stores in the process; the ones we've kept hold of have changed beyond recognition. Our economy, social morale and understanding of direction for the country is askew.

Landlords don't understand business owners, businesses are forgetting their customer, customers aren't spending wisely and playing into the wrong hands. Sales agents happily over-stock indies and don't provide support, brands bully retailers whilst councils wrap the lot in red tape. This has got to stop.

A landlord that demands double rent during the Christmas season doesn't understand the difficulty of trading at such a time, especially during 2011. A retailer that forgets its customer forgets why it opened the doors in the first place. Sales agents and brands need to work with retailers to ensure their product is well represented and that the retailer has the best possible chance of shifting it at full margin; bullying and threats don't make for a nice experience for anyone. Above all Councils and Government need to wake up to the problems and hopefully The Portas Review has gone someway to starting that manoeuvre.

 Picture courtesy of The Portas Review 

Perhaps 2012 will bring about an epiphany? Perhaps not. Perhaps we'll rediscover our high streets in the depths of recession or perhaps they'll be demolished to make room for another ASDA*WALMART Super Centre. Perhaps we'll get a little of each?

2012 will be a big year for everyone because we have everything to lose and everything to gain. On a personal level, it will be a big year for me and I intend to grab it by the horns and not let an opportunity go by without having a good go at it first! I urge you all to do the same because where 2011 was a year of uncompromisable change and un-relentless hardship, we need to make 2012 count by reversing what we can and picking up as many of the pieces.

If you've not yet read the Mary Portas review on retailing in the UK, please do. If you take only one thing away from it let it be that if each and every one of us believed in our high streets in the way that Portas seems to; they wouldn't necessarily be in the predicament that they find themselves in now.


I'll be back just before New Years Eve with a special announcement and I'll be blogging in 2012. Expect an interview with Hannah Martin the jewellery designer extraordinaire and hopefully some snaps of Paris if Mother McDowell gets her camera uploaded.

Merry Christmas to all and Seasons Greetings to everyone else, may it be a time of good will and good wine.


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