Your Reflect - 22nd December 2016

 
Published: 22nd December 2016 12:16
Author: Chris Workman © JDA & GA 2016-2017

Gift of the Year

I’m thrilled to report a record number of entries for Gift of the Year 2017. Our thanks to suppliers great and small who have submitted such wonderful products: they will present our judges with a real challenge when they select the winners in the New Year.

Those shortlisted can now be found here and we would appreciate samples of these not later than Friday, 6th January. Thank you.

Counterfeit Goods

No respectable retailer would sell fake goods, which this year have cost the UK economy £17.3 billion and destroyed 72,000 British jobs, according to the Centre for Economic and Business Research and online brand specialist NetNames.

They say that the rise of online shopping has bolstered the counterfeit economy, with UK consumers now twice as likely to see fakes on sale online as they were a year ago.

Legal businesses are able to support fewer staff as legitimate sales are squeezed by fake goods, so be careful that you don’t unwittingly buy them.

Counterfeit Harry Potter wands and Minecraft plush toys were among more than half a million pounds worth of fake goods seized at Stansted Airport in recent weeks.

'Cheeky' Retailers

Carol Midgley thinks that the cheek of retailers "grows daily". I believe she’s talking about the larger ones and not most of our readers!

Midgley recently wrote in The Times: "After years of demanding our postcodes and pushing loyalty cards whenever we buy so much as a scented candle they now want our email addresses too. Shop assistants bark 'And your email?' as if it's your duty to supply all your personal information because you’ve just bought a £7 hairbrush."

And she dismisses the claim that they do it so they can send an e-receipt, suggesting that "you’d have to be pretty dense to think 'How kind! I know they won’t spam me to death because it’s for my convenience'."

An investigation has apparently found that some stores reward staff for every batch of email addresses they harvest. Comments Midgley: "Play them at their own game, I say: give them the email of their own complaints department."

That all sounds a little harsh when the customer can just say "No."

Action on Late Payments

The government has, at last, set out measures to increase transparency of payment practices to support small firms. From next April large businesses will have to publish details twice a year on the average time taken to pay supplier invoices. This should help SMEs make informed decisions about who they do business with.

As of June 2015, the overall level of late payments owed to small and medium sized businesses was reported to be £26.8 billion. A recent survey from the Federation of Small Businesses said that, on average, 30% of payments are received late. Early next year the government will publish guidance on how to comply with the duty to report, to help businesses prepare for the new requirements.

Shop Vacancy Rate

In a year of red-hot economic change, one statistic has frozen.

Britain’s retail vacancy rate remained stuck at 12.3% in November. The number of vacant shops has now varied by no more than one in a thousand, net, for the past nine months, new figures from LDC show.

The new-found stability set in this year after consistent, a gradual improvement since its last peak of 14.6% in September 2012.

The vacancy rate among leisure units stood at 8.2% for the third month in a row, easing a long term trend to rise, in contrast to the retail rate, which has fallen.

Merry Christmas

Well, the big day is almost upon us. If you’re a retailer, I do hope your sales have been strong and that you will find a little time to relax over the next couple of weeks.

From all of us at The GA and the JDA, we wish you a very merry Christmas and happy and profitable New Year.

It’s a scary thought, but when we return in 2017 there will be just over four weeks to Spring Fair and our Gift of the Year awards ceremony. No peace for the wicked!

But let’s go out on a festive note. You probably won’t find this joke in your Christmas crackers. It was written by amateur comedian Laura McDon and won her a £1,500 holiday voucher in a competition judged by viewers of TV channel Dave: "How will Christmas dinner be different after Brexit?" she asks. "No Brussels."


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Last Updated 22nd December 2016
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