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SNACR

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Everything posted by SNACR

  1. Thanks. Things are definitely surreal, particularly this weekend. Visited about half a dozen towns and haven't sensed such a palpable feeling of discombobulation amongst the shopping public since the day Diana died. The thing from the Black Swan book about turkeys seems pretty salient. Turkeys live in a world where they get fed and kept warm everyday, from the information they have it is their world. Every so often they hear screams from the slaughterhouse, but they blank them out. An odd bird escapes from the slaughterhouse and tells everyone what's going on. Instead of being grateful the flock attacks the bird because they don't want to face the truth about the demise of their comfortable existence. Things are pretty much like that at the moment. Although the same shops seem to be on the high st trading, the average person has no insight into what's going on behind the scenes. Things *look* much more normal than they really are. Agree with your assessment about LLs. Some retailers have behaved stupidly with daft business and funding models, but not all and many sensible, ordinarily sustainable, retailers will end up as collateral damage. It is mostly the LL/property speculators fault and they'll will end up the worst hit. A lot of retailers will probably go for some form of prepack admininstration to escape from their most onerous property leases. They'll probably scrape by for a few years in some drastically slimmed down form. It's LLs who'll really be in trouble and sadly as their funding is mostly pensions and insurance funds it'll ultimately be ordinary people who're hit. There's a lot of people who think they're immune from all this and discover sadly they are not. I do wonder though if some large shops and LLs might be kept as zombie businesses by their lenders. No-one is going to want to seize back a half-empty shopping centre and land themselves with a huge void rates bill.
  2. I think I'II struggle to overcome your preconceptions of the retail business. Retailers know their customers and business very well indeed and have endless metrics to pore over. Having a fire sale of inventory to boost short-term cashflow is a disastrous strategy. It may work for a car dealer who can replenish stock from auction at a lower cost. A retailer has to replenish stocks at a much higher cost due to the pound/dollar. As I pointed out earlier, difficult customers at point of sale are diffiult customers aftersales and unliklely to be profitable customers. Retailers are fully versed in hagglers also bear in mind you only know the offered accessory cost price because I've told you, you wouldn't instore. If someone turns up at a store and is a haggler you know the following about them: They have already trawled the internet and every competitor outlet. If they've already ascertained that you've got the best cost/value proposition and you're their preferred vendor. For most hagglers they see it as a little battle and pit of wits against the salesperson and get a mild euphoria when they 'believe' they've won. Customer asks awkwardly 'can you do me £3 off?'. Don't ever agree to cut the price it's just a fasttrack to 'I'II think about it' and them coming back next week trying to get more off. Instead the salesperson offers to throw in a product that's ostensibly of far more value than the discount the customer hoped to secure (In customer's head: 'Look at me I am doing excellent haggling, I've really shown this schmuck who's boss'). Then giddy with their haggling success they buy something else in the shop as well and don't ask for any discount (this is very common). Hagglers probably like to think they're more switched on than the average dumb sheeple, but they get played much more than they realise. Curiously they're happy to spend hours trawling the web and shops looking for a bargain, but never value their own time.
  3. Only fools chase all business at any cost even in a recession, hence the phrase 'busy fools'. Anyone who's turned down something that retails for £25 they could ebay for a tenner and irrationally wants a £3 token discount is clearly a difficult customer or mad. Selling things to mad people is ultimately not lucrative. See Imagine Homes for details.
  4. That was a no and a fingers-crossed you don't decide to buy the product anyway nor anything else in the future either.
  5. I'd hope you don't buy and walk. Any unreasonably demanding and difficult punters are a strong avoid. Unfortunately it's very difficult to train staff in such nuances. With such customers there's a very high probability that they'll be on the doorstep next morning with the product (packaging destroyed) demanding a refund or exchange because its got some minor cosmetic flaw no-one else would care about. It's a whole world of unprofitable trouble best avoided. A competitor's customer services dept is welcome to them. Staff tend to fawn over customers who are always asking questions and they consider them to be the 'good' customers. In reality the highest spending customers are always the ones who come in take the product off the shelf, pay for it, and leave making so little fuss the staff don't even notice them. With customers it's almost always the case that empty vessels make the most noise.
  6. I'd hope you don't buy and walk. Any unreasonably demanding and difficult punters are a strong avoid. Unfortunately it's very difficult to train staff in such nuances. With such customers there's a very high probability that they'll be on the doorstep next morning with the product (packaging destroyed) demanding a refund or exchange because its got some minor cosmetic flaw no-one else would care about. It's a whole world of unprofitable trouble best avoided. A competitor's customer services dept is welcome to them. Staff tend to fawn over customers who are always asking questions and they consider them to be the 'good' customers. In reality the highest spending customers are always the ones who come in take the product off the shelf, pay for it, and leave making so little fuss the staff don't even notice them. With customers it's almost always the case that empty vessels make the most noise.
  7. Hopefully they'd offer to throw in some mug's eyeful accessory with a ticket price of £25 that cost us £2.50. If you're the average serious buyer (and £3 really would make the difference) you'd bite our arm off (most people are completely unable to assess the intrinsic value of anything, hence HPI). Alternatively, they'd use their 'intiative' and scan another lower priced product through the till. Thus screwing up the inventory and ordering forecasts. ______ Caribbean Beauty, I'II try and post something on what our timeline's been like in the downturn later. Would be interested to swap anecdotes. Have to be careful though as it's easy to get caught up in the 'Oo, Oo, I know something someone else doesn't'. Some bankers I dealt with, having spent the last years behaving all aloof and stand-offish, now post-P45 have turned garrulous and spilled some interesting beans. The juxtaposition of the conversations you have with someone the day before and after they get made redundant is fascinating.
  8. We don't let staff offer any discounts at all. Except for throwing in the odd accessory to clinch a big ticket sale it's a disastrous stategy. As anyone who's run a field sales force knows, whatever is the bottom price you give them becomes the only price they sell at. With discretionary spending stalled it's an availability game for us. Customer asks for product if you've got it they'll buy it and leave, if you haven't they'll just leave. There's no point jobbing it off to some pain in the ass haggler to then not be able to sell it full ticket to someone with a genuine need the next day. All this assumes you sell some stuff people need. If your whole category is discretionary tat then you're stuffed and in a Dutch auction, with competitors, all the way to administration already.
  9. "a primitive work environment (not even a projector or a white board in conference or meeting rooms)." Oh dear, in that case, things are very backward at my place then
  10. Look at Prince Andrew's ex who brokered the Middle East Barclays bailout. There's always room for facilitators with people skills, even when the people are in the same country and there's no cultural or language barriers. Taken to the extreme perhaps the government should train everyone in people-pleasing smarminess. Blair certainly seems to have been scraping by on it for years.
  11. The plus side to simple jobs being outsourced is that the simple people who did them aren't, any longer, sitting around the office all day buying tat off ebay and twittering about how house prices won't go down in the exclusive area they've bought in.
  12. Shipping rates are currently incredibly low, although may not stay so low in the medium term. As Kennichi says buying from China is incredibly easy. In the past decade, people don't realise, it's been very easy to make good money by finding a UK manufacturer with a big market share and buying a container of their product type in from China. You just then go to a big retailer and massively undercut the incumbent vendor. That vendor's then stuffed as with their workforce, armed with rights, they're actually at a diasadvantage to the fleet footed new upstart. The mistake the government made was giving the biggest tax breaks, and thus incentives, to the private equity spivs rather than those companies actually creating and maintaining UK jobs. I agree property costs will fall with much available on peppercorn short term leases, but unless long leases are granted on favourable terms it's very difficult for businesses to make long term investments. Labour costs are more problematic with the min wage just being an inflationary fraud. I definitely agree that for businesses that survive a bit longer they'll be a watershed when government busybodies will be instructed to turn a blind eye to all sorts of things and not to do anything to jeopardise jobs. I've heard rumours already that VAT repayment plans are being allowed, which is unheard of.
  13. Many less though. The grocers are currently rolling out self-scan checkouts, not just for baskets, but for trolley shops as well. This is the terrifying thing the majority of the population's core skills (if they ever had any) simply are no longer worth anything.
  14. IMHO, I can't see manufacturing returning to the UK even with the sterling devaluation. If you want a product made why are you going to bother with the exorbitant property costs, the hassle of endless regulations and a bolshy workforce? If the alternative is just emailing a product specification to an english speaking manufacturer's agent in Hong Kong. It's a no brainer, unless we indulge in protectionist import tariffs and what happens then "anyone, anyone?" -In case it sounds patronising this is a popular culture reference.
  15. I agree, incredibly, if anything people on here are too optimistic about retail. Things have just completely hit a brick wall it's unreal, would be bad enough at any time of the year, but six weeks before xmas it's meltdown. We sell useful non-food product (not to a MEW customer base) and there's nothing we can do. We were hit by ridiculous rent reviews (doubling or more) by property speculator LLs expecting industrious tenant's to buy shopping centres on their behalf. On top of that was the volume of stupid private equity money sloshing around and revolving credit lines that have now stopped spinning. One branch we've got had two private equity backed fascias move in nextdoor one paid £120k pa and the next one £150k in competition with other brands. When our rent review came up our rent doubled from £60k to £120k as a direct result of this activity :angry: . Both chains have now, surprise surprise, gone bust and we're still stuck there paying £120k pa +service charge. The one bright point is the property speculators are in complete denial about how bad their own situation is. They ring up threatening bailiffs if the rent's a day late, but they don't really hold any cards as they couldn't find another tenant in the current market. Before the market crashed they'd have valued the investment, on a 5% yield and £120k rent, at £2.4m. Now it's completely worthless , if we didn't pay rent at all we still would be making a loss if they offered to give me the freehold that's one gift horse I'd look in the mouth. In fact if you offered to give me the entire Cabot Circus and White City developments for free I'd decline, you'd just be bankrupted by the void rates and service charge. ____ Whichever town or city you visit in this country all the major manufacturing employers have gone out of business and house built in their place. There are no foundations on which to rebuild the economy, we're completely stuffed. And when I watch the morons on the Question Time panel and audience it has me climbing up the walls, very few seem to have any conception of just how severe the problems are we face (present company excepted).
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