Advice in the downturn

In Industry News On

IN the thickening atmosphere of the impending economic downturn, which has become the principal focus of the printed and broadcasting media, it’s good to hear that there are still some business opportunities left on the high street. This is exactly what this year’s retra conference (in many people’s opinion, one of the best so far) has delivered.
The advice came from an impressive group of speakers, such as John Clare, ex-DSG boss, Steve Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, James Randall of GfK and Richard Hammond, the author of the bestseller Smart Retail. We have received plenty of warnings of things to come too, but the speakers made a point of talking about opportunities and dispensed practical advice on how to prepare for the difficult times.
The report from the conference can be found on page 24, but I wanted to mention here one of the simplest but most important pieces of advice given at the conference: Stop chasing price, as competing on price with supermarkets and multiples is a fast route to bankruptcy. It’s ironic, therefore, that only yesterday I noticed in my local electrical retailer’s window a fluorescent yellow poster saying: ‘Low, low prices!’ Well, perhaps he doesn’t read the trade press, I thought.
It is perhaps a coincident that shortly before the retra conference, I interviewed Gordon Dutch of BBG who also stressed the point about prices and recommended improving the store shopping experience by introducing a bit of theatre to it – a point which was recommended at the retra event several times.
Anna Ryland, Editor

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