Bryan Lovewell, Chief Executive
In 2012, retra celebrates its 70th anniversary and the association is as important now, as it ever has been. Over the last 70 years, retra has worked tirelessly on behalf of its members and reaching this fantastic milestone in its history is testament to the strength of the independent electrical retailer in the UK.
There is no doubt that 2011 was a torrid year for the industry; we said goodbye to some well known names, as the economic woes of the last few years continued to have an impact on high streets across the country.
In 2011, retra continued to fight on behalf of its members and the key campaign was our drive to stop the practice of selling electrical products below their cost price, which is commonly known as ‘loss leading’. As the industry tried to pull itself out of recession, retra challenged itself to lead the fight. Another area retra has been working in this year is product safety.
In August, retra set-up an initiative in-house to ensure that its members are notified of product recalls, or product safety issues, as soon as they happen. In a letter sent to retra’s associate members, retra encouraged companies to forward details of any potential problems surrounding the satiety of products.
We would appreciate knowledge of any potential problems surrounding the safety of products, so that we can then, if appropriate, communicate the necessary information to our members in an organised and timely manner. This will allow retra and the retailer to handle any queries regarding a problem in a professional way, explain what action is required and help restore the faith and trust in the product and manufacturer. Most recently, retra has launched a new division, retra Install.
There are a lot of members that are doing installations and getting a nice business out of it. What we’ve done, as retra has been to approach installers that did not know much about retra and inform them of the benefits we can offer.
We launched retra Install at the Essential Install Live! show in Manchester on September 26 and I must say that we’ve had a very good response so far.
There is no doubt that times are very difficult, but the install market seems to be one that our members should start looking at, if they’re not already, and tap into that market. It’s quite a lucrative business and the margins are there to be had if you do the job correctly; we’ve partnered with The British Audio-Visual Dealers Association (BADA) to offer its portfolio of training courses.
retra’s 2012 New Year Resolutions are to continue to support members, through the help line, as well as continuing to search for exclusive additional member benefits that will help your bottom line.