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We have just returned from the annual pilgrimage to The Spring Fair, the love hate relationship continues, complain when I am there yet know I will be back next year. The big positive is meeting all the buyers and sellers, this year we had nearly twenty buyers in The Retailer’s group and all enjoyed the chat in the bar at the end of the day and round the dining table. A great big thank you to all our customers once again, makes our trip a memorable one. See you all next year? We were asked if you have to be a client of The Retailer to join the group, the answer is no, you just have to be a serious retailer and be sociable.

We were winding down our old web site and there it was a comment from the beginning of the recession naming the Co-Op as one of the main groups that had the potential to move forward and take advantage of the new climate. With its social history and legacy or the Dividend, the first loyalty and discount scheme, we thought it was perfectly positioned to take advantage. However it just seemed to sit there and do little while Aldi and Lidl stole the show, and now its banking arm has tarnished the brand. There is still time though, isn’t there??!

 

Many of you will already know school holiday dates for 2014.  This website www.halftermdates.co.uk has details of most school holiday dates in the UK.  We also found one that lists details of school holidays in most European countries www.schoolholidayseurope.eu - could be a useful reference. Info coustesy of ASVA.

Now that many brands are retreating to major centres and the customers are heading on line perhaps now is the time to launch a concept we mentioned some time past The Click and Collect Café, a destination for orders offering changing facilities and a returns service and good coffee. Customer does not need to wait in at home for on line orders and can collect at their convenience, also takes the hassle out of returns. This pushes traffic back in to our smaller towns Centres.   No less than Sir Terence Conran agrees, see his letter to the editor of Retail Week Nov 15th a man worth listening to. Business opportunity?

There seems to be a consensus developing on a way forward on town centres of the future, in a recent presentation Prof Leigh Sparks compared the three recent reports Portas, Grimsey and Fraser and found out of fifteen key areas they all agreed on four and two out of three agreed on the remainder. Reporting seems to be focusing on the points of difference which are far fewer.