There’s no escaping the fact that the economy is still going through troubled times and it’s likely to be a little while yet before the green shoots of recovery really come through.
Video game retailer Game Group, became the latest high profile victim of the downturn when it went into administration on 26 March, with the immediate closure of 277 of its stores in the UK and Ireland and the loss of more than 2,000 jobs.
With prospects for 2012 remaining downbeat, retailers who take some practical, common-sense steps can strengthen their ability to deal with tough trading conditions. The checklist below highlights some key points to consider…
- Are you getting the retail basics right? Is your outlet a place where customers would want to come and find it easy to locate what they are looking for?
- Are you clear on what drives your sales? What and when do your customers buy? What don’t they buy so often? Could you use this information to drive your purchasing policy, so that you don’t waste resources on products that may sit on the shelf for a long time?
- Is your cash flow in good shape? Can you meet all your immediate and short-term liabilities? Can you negotiate better terms with suppliers? Are you proactive in chasing any creditors? Have you considered “what if?” scenarios and would you be able to withstand unexpected financial demands?
- Have you looked at your overheads? Could you shop around for better deals in areas such as utilities, stationery or mobile phone contracts? Would outsourcing administration, like bookkeeping and payroll, be more cost-effective than dealing with it in-house?
- Do you have any loan arrangements coming to an end? Have you started looking at refinancing options? How will the terms differ from existing arrangements?
These are just a few of the issues to consider in planning a strategy to keep your business moving forward.
Independent, objective advice can be helpful in identifying problems, opportunities and strengths that it can be difficult to see when you are so closely involved in the business. For more information on how we can help, please contact us.