The business model is changing
Let’s unite to navigate these bumpy seas, says Ellie Sanderson, as retailers report low footfall across the first quarter
Last month’s Business Advice Clinics at The London Bridal Show were brilliant and gave me a clear understanding of how retailers are finding trade across the industry. All shops reported a sense of worry about sales lower than last year’s to date.
Many retailers are still feeling that sense of worry but it is now growing to panic. Letters arriving from manufacturers, suggesting that if the minimums outlined are not met then a shop could face loosing a label, have further fuelled this panic. In addition, manufacturers introducing sub labels to increase their production and fracture the exclusivity of the main brand are giving most retailers sleepless nights.
Clearly, the historical business model that once worked, no longer does. Samples are dated in months and brides have little appetite to buy ex-samples; let’s face it, they have greater options on the high street for off-the-peg dresses direct from China.
A note to suppliers
As the landscape of bridal retailing shifts dramatically we need to pull together. Demands of high minimums for product that is not exclusive is unobtainable and unrealistic.
A note to retailers
Do not label-hog; buy only labels that you have good exclusivity on, the minimums of which you can afford and which you can sell. Don’t fill your shop with dozens of labels with high commitment to re buy. Reduce your labels and ensure you give your top manufacturers good support with good orders.
On a personal level I have said goodbye to five labels across two shops in the past year. My sales are still good and I now have more money to spend with those suppliers who support me and I support with my orders in return.
If you are being told you’re the only store to be having a tough year - YOU ARE NOT.
Let’s unite now or in five years time half of the retailers will survive and there will be a massive landfill site for last year’s samples somewhere.