Thursday, 1 March 2012

The future of the High Street

At the end of 2011 I posted a review of my year. As you do. The Portas Review had been published and Government were (and still are) considering their response. Since then Barratts has collapsed, Peacocks nearly went under and the high street is still gripped by the effects of recession. 

from 'Taking the Credit?'

Whilst the Portas Review had some very interesting things to say about High Streets, the majority of fashion independents didn't think allocating 'Town Teams' and 'National Market Day' would necessarily help nudge British high streets into the right direction. Why? Because one fundamental issue was missed out of this report: Credit Insurance Terms.

from 'Taking the Credit?'

Many small independent fashion businesses in the UK are being strangled by changes to their supplier's Credit Insurance Terms. What does this mean? Well, let Caroline Nodder, Editor-In-Chief of Drapers Magazine, explain:

This 'enormous pressure' loosely translates as indie businesses having to use Credit Cards and personal overdrafts to fund the purchase of new stock months before the stock even lands in store. Cash flow is the life-blood of any business and fashion independents are being drained of their supplies to fund next season's buy.

North Western Independent retailer, Paul Turner-Mitchell of 25 Ten Boutique teamed up with his local MP in Rochdale and Drapers Magazine to produce a document urging the Government to speed up their response to the Portas Review and to consider Credit Insurance Terms as a fundamental aspect of fashion retail.

One other aspect I would like to add to this is that suppliers may not be directly responsible for  moving the goal posts in terms of Credit Insurance Terms BUT they are responsible for other failings.

Brands and retails need to work together for a better working relationship and a prosperous 2012. Refusing to consider stock-swaps, knowingly over-stocking start-ups, threatening stores with black-listing should they cancel orders they can't fulfil are all practises that infringe on the productivity of the fashion sector.

Business is business, true, but how can we go on when all we do is fight against one another?

PR support, staff training, POS and Merchandising material, offers on 'sale or return' for new lines and collections, exclusivity agreements are all small things that go a long way in fashion independent business.