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There are tough times ahead of us, no doubt, and the recent BRC announcement only confirms this. Robin Millwood, CIH Chairman, most aptly, described the current trading conditions as those of “the perfect storm” since so many outside influences, which we have no control over, affect the electrical business at present.

While market analysts will now be speculating where the next economic calamity is likely to come from, the electrical retailers – the ground players of this game – should try to identify all possible sources and forms of support –  to survive not only the current round – but to stay in the game to the end.

Already back in April ’08 at the retra conference, John Clare, former CE of DSG, called retailers to join a buying group to take advantage of its cost and stock efficiencies or to join hands with major manufacturing brands to receive preferential trading terms. Loyalty schemes, featured on page 14 of this issue, which manufacturers have designed for their independent dealers, are examples of such partnerships. They are true win-win arrangements for both parties, especially at this time of financial squeeze, although they won’t work without commitment and effort – like every relationship.

Another way of making your business more competitive is to invest in a store redesign, such as that undertaken by Taylor Electrical of Diss, with the financial support of the Euronics group (see page 34). If this isn’t, however, an affordable option for you at the moment, the least you can do is to smarten your store – on budget – using some of the tips which we’ve published in the December ‘08 issue.

What suffers most in a recession – is consumer confidence – therefore you need to do everything you can to strengthen their confidence in your business.

Anna Ryland, Editor

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