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Everything posted by SNACR

  1. Would do away with as much of employer's NI contributions as 12.5bn would allow. It would dramatically lower the barrier to recruiting and retaining staff. Would also mean employers could go back to staffing with full-timers rather than a mish-mash of aggregate part-timers to avoid NI contributions. Workforces of full-timers are generally more efficient and competent.
  2. A bloody outrage, none of these businesses will be SMEs. The Federation of Small Business should grow pair and instead of incessantly whingeing about late payment organises a mass abstention of paying vat and business rates amongst members and brands it as its own taxpayer funded bailout for business. That's what's needed some proper civil disobedience. None of these protests like the hauliers where they liase with police to cause the minimum disruption. The genuinely hard-working and enterprising should in effect go on strike to remind this crop of see you next Tuesday politicians who pays their wages.
  3. Dead right, it's the LL thats the idiot where's he going to find another tenant. Cutting off his nose to spite his face, best commercial decision would have been to leave estate agents in rent-free (or some sort of turnover rent if posssible) whilst marketing the unit to avoid void rates. It could be the LL who finds he's got the bailiffs from the council on his own doorstep for the business rates now. Retailers up and down the country have got underperforming branches they just pray the LL would be stupid enough to do the same thing to. Once the LL changes the locks the lease is forfeit and the estate agent is off the hook (could of lost his own home otherwise if he had a personal guarantee on the lease (likely)).
  4. Shipping without cover is always going to be brave. He won't have lost £150k it'll only be his cost of goods although could obviously still be substantial on electricals. Bad news if he's factored it as they don't usually take any prisoners, but would have thought they'd have demanded cover in place. DSG should pay (eventually) pretty sure they've got credit lines they can still drawdown. It's a real conundrum at the moment do you keep the stock safe in your own warehouse or ship it without cover. A lot of people didn't ship stock to Woolies for fear of them going skint. However, now they're beginning to discover their stocks are worth very little to anyone else in the current market and may begin to wish they'd taken a punt on Woolies with a 25% cash upfront deal or something.
  5. A lot of acquaintances who never used to be without the latest high-end car all seem to have decided at once that they've 'grown out of cars' and they're a 'waste of money for something to get you from A to B'.
  6. The notion of deflation being bandied around by the govt is, in my view, misdirection to justify the govt taking inflationary measures that damage savers which is politically difficult as this group are the sensible ones who didn't participate in the debt bubble and in a fair world would be rewarded. Very unlikely you'll see significant deflation in non-food goods in the shops if the products are things people need. Designer tat that was overpriced in the first place a different matter. Massive inflationary pressures on retailers that can't be offset by lower commodity and shipping rates. Most vendors are looking to pass on cost increases of 20-25% in Jan fuelled by the pound/dollar rate and also many factories in China has closed down leaving some without their old competitors and therefore they have less competitive downward pressure on the prices they can quote. Retailers have had big upward pressure on costs from minimum wage, additional statutory holiday entitlements and are still suffering badly from energy costs. Consequently, there'll be very little motivation to cut prices on commodity products. Noisy 20% off days on clothes don't really count as prices on seasonal stock are heavily loaded to start with. Xmas gift packs will cost £2.50 and be price marked on box £9.99 which leaves plenty of room to half price in a January sale and still retain a reasonable margin. In general not vast quantities of surplus stock around most retailers are pretty on top of inventory management these days. If you wanted to buy a big tranche of job lot clearance to run a serious national promotion on you'd struggle to lay your hands on decent numbers. There are a few clearance parcels around, but mostly small numbers of a few thousand pieces. A lot of it is useless frivol like women's hen night tat that's highly vulnerable to a discretionary spending downturn.
  7. If the next large corporate victim (or one that's been in a corner already) banks with an institution that the govt's got it's fingers in would anyone ever know if it's been bailed out or not?
  8. A lot of people on here do seem to have a bit of a tendency for wildly extrapolating their own online buying habits to the whole population. Mail order has been around for years the fact it's now on an interactive flickering screen doesn't mean it's going to take over everything.
  9. Yes, general sentiment from speaking to people in the trade today was that a lot of branches were to close their doors almost immediately. Interesting things to consider with this are: How did a retail chain incurring severe losses, but a national icon, come to have a lucrative joint venture with a taxpayer funded organisation the BBC? It sounds a bit like when BT used to be forced to buy crappy UK made Leyland vans. An early bailout? Late in proceedings the BBC waded in with a 100m to buy Woolies share in the joint venture. Bailout attempt? Everything seemed to have hinged on Barclays releasing payroll, if not released would be illegal trading and forced administration. Allegedly govt leant on Barclays to release funds and they refused. Don't forget Barclays bailed themselves out with Middle East sovereign wealth. If Woolies survival had hinged on a bank the govt had got its sticky fingers in would they have folded or been bailed out on the QT?
  10. I'm worried I might be wearing out my welcome with retail tales. If anyone is interested in a blow by blow account of what various retailers turnover per branch/profit margins are let me know.
  11. Staples UK currently propped up by acquisition hungry US parent company. I too am almost certain they make no profit in the UK. When they took over Office World in many cases they ditched the Staples stores they already occupied and rebranded the cheaper, more off pitch, Office Worlds. At some point someone at the US parent will notice the UK poor relation's cash burning activities and put it into administration. If fairness, re staff and management, it's very difficult to get staff trained up on what is a very specialised product range. Often customer's queries can be so vague you'd need to be Sherlock Holmes to track down what they actually wanted and he's unlikely to want to work in Staples for minimum wage. PS you can get a printer/scanner/copier for about £30 and then you could avoid Staples altogether.
  12. Don't know if anyone's interested, but I'd say M0, anecdotally, has expanded significantly seems to be loads of new notes and older tattier ones being kept in circulation longer. Managers at cash distribution firms have said they're moving loads more. I think someone from BoE or Treasury denied this though.
  13. Looks like returns, grade B stuff or kit on some credit agreement that was fallen behind on and repossessed. A lot of flat-screen returns are sold through TV shopping channels. They are refurbed at a place in Wales repacked to look like new then sold to people on low incomes on the never never at usurious apr. Zero credit rating people so high risk of default, which doesn't really matter as the kit was dirt cheap to the retailer to start with. Was very lucrative at one point don't know if still is. Personally hate business models like that from an ethical point of view. I'd avoid bankrupt auction stock. Personally I even avoid job lots of brand new clearance stock if I find out it's bankrupt stock. Someone else's misery = bad karma.
  14. Anna from Coventry could have always cut out the middleman of Children In Need and made the donation straight into Woolies till before it went into administration. She may even have got some sweets and toys for her benevolence.
  15. To be fair to Sugar I do rate him quite highly as an entrepreneur. Would most likely always have done better than average. Home computers and set-top boxes were his black swans. It's probably true that by working a lot harder than average, having better business acumen than average and taking risks exposes you to more black swan type opportunities. No one can make the right decision 100% of the time. Sugar's big mistake was borrowing about £1bn for him and his son (who hadn't come up the hard way) to splash on commercial properties like Woolies freeholds (his likely real motivation for trying to buy the shares he had a VI in Woolies surviving). Oh well he's got some great big former Woolies stores he can give himself the task of filling them with car aerials. I have no idea how people let themselves be seduced into a media profile which has huge potential to backfire spectacularly.
  16. You never know someone might take it on and keep the staff, in fact it's surprising how many well known retailers have been in and out of administration at some point. Wilkinsons, Poundland, 99p stores, Home Bargains all possible contenders, to name a few. I would possibly be interested in some myself if the deal was right. As you might expect I've presided over many store closing down sales in my career and sadly it's very depressing watching the bones being picked over. Even more so if you own it and can remember the enthusiasm with which it was opened.
  17. I agree that both these chains were mismanaged and didn't evolve. However, your last comment grossly underestimates how hard it can be even if you're selling quality products that are useful and people need if your competitors are prepared to load themselves up with eye watering levels of debt. Also Woolies tat that everyone's talking about is the same tat that's everywhere else it all comes from the same factory.
  18. They would be my two picks as well. Don't agree with Brave New World re Peacocks, I think they're pretty vulnerable would be surprised if their Bon Marche and Fragrance Shop fascias weren't burning cash. The White Company is another pointless Sunday glossy mag ramped serves no purpose, but women love brands with branches in Bath/Harrogate/York/Canterbury like Cath Kidston. We've seen it al before with Laura Ashley, but still people pay through the nose for their 'designs'. Good riddance to them typical shop rent rampers pushing out local/useful shops.
  19. Agree, with all of that. I feel sorry for the small independents who've got personal guarantees on the leases who the LLs can (and do) drive to bankruptcy when their businesses topple under the weight of greedy rents. The real businessman will win in the long run as he has the better skills. The eventually ruined LL will just sit in the corner of a dark room rocking back and forth muttering 'property only ever goes up' under their breath. Companies who can go into administration and walk have the whip hand at the moment. Wouldn't be surprised if a lot of Woolies trade on as rent free zombies as LLs really won't want leases back. However, many sites will most likely still be unprofitable even rent free. The rates and staff costs are still a killer. This should create a fertile environment for owner-managed shops who can cut out the staff costs to compete. There's a big problem though, how can new businesses startup? There are very few wholesalers and distributors left and independents won't be able to go direct to China. Under this government the ladders of growth and social mobility have been torn away. And that's why it really will be different this time.
  20. Supposedly Peter Mandelson has now involved himself in the negotiations to save Woolies.
  21. They have just officially gone into administration, again. Wouldn't be surprised if some mug saw 'value' and bought them. MK One just been bought out of admin by a Scottish firm for a second time, so still mugs around.
  22. I love the smell of bailout in the morning.
  23. Most retailers are probably hoping someone on the BBC says something offensive so the media forget all about the 'passing on' of the vat cuts.
  24. Yeah, I'd have thought had until xmas as well, things must be seriously bad. I thought would trade with heavy discounting until xmas then banks take proceeds before rents go out end of Dec. If at all possible, probably a good idea to steer clear of the retail sector for employment for the foreseeable future is much uncertainty. Even M&S having sale. There's a strong correlation between one-off out of season sales and qtrly rent payments end Mar, Jun, Sept & Dec and if things get really bad monthly payroll. It's November now which=must be big problems. On a practical note remind your other half to get a reference from most senior manager she can lay her hands on before branch closes.
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