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More Victims of the Credit Crunch??


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Hi Guys,

 

Yes it is true that we have decided to move our business forwards without the use of Sales Reps. It as a decision that was not taken lightly and we were very sad to make two good men redundant. The economics of the situation were exacerbated by the huge rises in fuel costs as well as those other costs also associated with running company vehicles. The cost of providing a vehicle as well as insuring and running it have become excessive and as the number of shoe repair outlets has diminished over recent years the amount of business available to our reps diminished too. And this is before we even mention that many major cities are apparently preparing for congestion charging in the very near future. However, orders taken by telephone have shown a marked increase and made us aware that trends were changing substantially. Tom and Steve were a valued part of our business and we agonised over the best possible solution to the problem but the facts were unescapable.

We are aware that in the short term some customers may see this as a negative move but are certain that the benefits of direct ordering will prove that we can offer a far more efficient and speedy service than before.

 

Like Danny, I also believe that if the media gave us a little bit more positive news instead of doom and gloom the whole country would be better off and as Peter rightly says, the credit crunch is bad news for us all. Perhaps we should start selling jumpers?

 

We wish both Tom and Steve good luck in the future.

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as the number of shoe repair outlets has diminished over recent years

 

Is this a fact, although alot of the "old school" repairers did disappear some years ago, through bad trading possitions and the lack of investment, & public shopping trends changing dramaticly over the last few years.

I was under the impression that there was a new breed of independant out there with a much more professional approach!!!! Am I wrong, does anyone have any figure's on this.

This is a worrying statement... If it is indeed true

I can't see why the Independant should be "Deminishing" while the multiples are continuing to expand...

 

Whats everyones thoughts on this.....I am going to ask the question to some of the people who should know some of the answers.

 

I think this is an interesting subject, So if it continues in this vein I will move it to a new Topic so-as we don't lose the original thread.

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Dear "Planet UK"

Thank you for inviting me to join this discussion which as you suggest is pretty fundamental.

For what it is worth my father was told in 1965 that he would be mad to go into shoe repair supplies as it "is a dieing business". Fortunately for me and a lot of other people he chose to ignore that advice and the rest is history.

 

With the worldwide surge in fuel and other commodity costs there is a lot of extra pressure on our trade at the moment and we all have to adapt and make changes accordingly. However people will always wear shoes and with inflation also hitting the foreign shoe importers, the encouragement to walk and cycle and the recent wet summers weather trends I don't feel that we should be too despondent, indeed we could even allow ourselves a bit of cautious optimism..........steady..!

 

Timpsons have increased their market share in some areas and the independents have diminished since there was a shoe repairer on every corner in the sixties, but I am convinced that well run, well diversified and well presented independent repairers in the right locations will always do well.

 

Look on the bright side we're not in the property market and we're not competing with Amazon or the big supermarket chains!

 

Regards

 

Chris Wilson

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Further to the reply from Chris Wilson, last week I submitted an article to Cutting Edge saying more or less the sme. The Credit Crunch may bring an unexpected benefit to our trade because of issues with manufacturing and transportation costs from the Far East. Whether this will mean increasing numbers of repairers or just increased turnover for the existing ones remains to be seen. The main issue for any business at the moment is to keep costs under control whilst the current crisis is on and to prepare to take advantage of the upsurge as and when it happens.

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Thanks Chris for the quick response. Do you think that the Independent is still in decline today!! or are we seeing a revival, with more and more of us following new trends Engraving/gifts/watch repairs/trophies etc etc.

 

I have seen some nice looking Independents about, which at one time was unheard of, with most opening in poor Locations.. There does seem to be more and more looking at the High street.

 

Anyone else have any thoughts........

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from my point of view i have seen a decrease in the numbers of quality independents. partly through retirement and more so because the larger companies are expanding through purchase of existing sites, this will limit trade for a wholesalers if the larger company isnt one of their customers. And i know some repairers dont like it when a wholsaler has shops as well but given the market as it is some dont have a choice but to buy a customers shop for the same reason, let another large company buy it and they lose a very important customer and the wholesale decreases. for a wholsesaler without shops there is a market decline.

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Planet, I asked Chris the same question about our Trade 15 years ago following an article in the 'Shoe and Leather News' quoting the same rhetoric. Fortunately Chris put my mind to rest, quoting the same story as today :shock: I had just opened a new shop and was worried whether I had done the right thing. :?

 

There has been a decline in the Independants since the last recesions in 1989, 1992, but I have always believed that quality repairers will survive. In addition, footwear of course has changed and not necassarily for the better :? But, there is hope, from what I hear from the manufacturers, leather footwear is selling strongly, or it was until the media announced that we are already 'in recession' :evil:

 

Part of the problem during the earlier recessions was that we were all mortgaged to the hilt and had very little to fall back on. I don't believe that most peopole are in that position now, we've learn't some lessons, and that we are all better placed to 'work through' the current situation, only time will tell.

 

Now is a good time to look at your business and especially costs, find where you can make changes, savings, and move your business forward. It's too easy sometimes to sit back, listen to the TV and believe that you should give up and retire or leave the trade altogether :(

 

Yes, costs have risen, but work with the increases as best you can, they are enevitable nowadays and keep any cost increases to a minium. All of this advice is obvious to some and could even be seen as patronising :-{{{ but it's just my opinion of course :-k

 

Keith

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I am genuinly supprised there is or seens to be a decline in Independants, This is not good news.

 

The matter of wholesalers buying up retiring Independents to keep there own trade going is a feasable one,If it is limited to buying up existing business's.. But will always make other independents wary of others encroaching on their territory especially when they have knowledge of trading accounts.

Weather its right or wrong I'm not sure...I suppose we all do what we have to to survive, and its up to us if we want to deal with for our supplies at the end of the day.

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There has been a decline in the Independants since the last recesions in 1989, 1992, but I have always believed that quality repairers will survive. In addition,

 

Keith

 

I was an Independent through that reccesion, and did ok. But I think this is a different and more serious one, We are being hammered every way we turn nowadays, this government has lost the plot, every problem they are faced with they always come up with the same remedy, tax tax tax....the public is running out of funds to live.

 

By the way Keith, I have been busy today \:D/

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I wouldn't call it the 'Demise' Planet. The decrease happened 10 to 15 years ago in the main. For the last 5 years or so and speaking for ourselves, I'd say it's decreased by no more than maybe 5%. Some of that would have been retirements :wink:

 

Shoe repairing is still seen as a highly profitable business, especially to the Dry Cleaning trade

 

We have a pretty healthy order book at present considering the time of year, more so than last year in fact, so I'm not complaining too much :D I find generally, that the quality Independants are investing and that this will hold them in good stead for the future. It depends where you see your business :D

 

If you are cash rich and sure of where you want to take your business, now is a good time to invest so that you are ready for when trade picks up. However, if you don't have the money, you may see it a little more negatively :?

 

Keith

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it isnt all doom and gloom,.

 

I Don't think its all doom and gloom Peter, I was commenting on Robins comments about the redundant Reps partcially through the "demise" in the Independent Shoe Repairer. Which appears not to be the case.

Maybe thier company isn't competing with thier competition as they should be. We are all looking for the best deals, so if your not competing then your going to get found out.

 

Give me a Rep who doesn't come in the shop with the world on his shoulders, talking about how quiet it is out there...fills you with the desire to buy off em...not :!:

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