Retailers in administration
I was really sad to see the news that Tobar have gone in to administration. As a soft toy wholesaler we had some inkling as they are a customer and we had sensed there issues but it is not the loss of a customer which saddens us.
There are some retailers which you suspect from the start will struggle - Alworths spring immediately to mind. There are others which you believe may struggle to survive a recession either because their proposition or their customer service are flawed. I don't think that many people would want to invest in HMV right now and I am personally very doubtful Past Times will survive this Xmas.
But there are others where the High St will be a poorer place without them. I still miss Borders and Habitat, and Hawkins Bazaar was a great place to shop.
As this recession grinds on unfortunately it is likely that more retailers will disappear but we just hope that there will be some inspirational ones coming up to fill the gaps. It appears that design led, niche retailers are trading successfully. They know their customers and their products and so do not need to discount in order to make sales.
Companies such as Cath Kidston are proving that you can thrive on the High St even during this recession. Whilst Thorntons are struggling Hotel Chocolate are expanding and their chocolates sell up to £160 a box.
As a wholesaler we have learnt that to be successful we need to stick to our knitting. We have discontinued and reduced to clear all products which do not fit in to our niche.
Perhaps we may end up with a High St full of thriving, niche, design led retailers instead of the bland multiples we have had lately. That would be the silver lining we need.
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