Showing posts with label shops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shops. Show all posts

Monday, May 21, 2012

What's in store

Scotland's struggling shops have been dealt a fresh blow today as figures reveal that the numbers of shoppers plunged in the run-up to Easter. Retailers reported a 12.6 per cent drop in footfall in the three months to the end of April, outstripping the 2 per cent fall posted for the UK as a whole.

Ian Shearer, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium said "...the essential picture remains of consumers lacking confidence, disposable incomes still being squeezed and fewer people shopping for anything that isn’t an immediate need."

Richard Dodd, a spokesman for the SRC, explained: "Scotland’s shops have been trailing behind the rest of the UK for quite some time now, about a year. Fundamentally, that’s because a bigger proportion of Scotland’s economy is dependant on the public sector. So public sector cuts – either real cuts or just the fear of them – have a much greater impact in Scotland.”

Property experts warned that the rapid growth in online shopping meant the days of big retail developments are over and fewer shopping centres will now be built.

Mark Robertson, a partner at property agency Ryden added this could also trigger a second crash for housebuilders, which are often reliant on shopping centres or retail parks for the building of infrastructure, such as roads, roundabouts, street lighting and sewage.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The rag trade - or rags to riches for some

Shelter Scotland says it is "deeply disappointed and saddened" by a sharp increase in the number of shoplifting incidents at its charity shops.

The charity – which runs 36 shops across Scotland - currently experiences more than a dozen theft-related incidents a week. Research released earlier this month reported a 20 percent increase in shoplifting in charity shops over the past two years, up from an estimated £4.25 million to £5.1 million in 2011. In comparison, there was a 14 percent increase in shoplifting rates across the high street.

The charity is asking for police to take firmer action against thieves. Graeme Brown Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “We’re deeply disappointed and saddened that our shops are increasingly being targeted by shoplifters but we will not stand for it any longer...To anyone out there who has or is considering stealing from our shops, be assured that we will report you to the police. Shoplifting is a criminal offence and one which we, nor the police, will take lightly.”

Is it not an indictment of austere times and capitalism that folk are so desperate as to steal from charity stores. Charity shops are seeing sales boom as more poverty-stricken families turn to second-hand stores to make ends meet. The disposable weekly income of the average family has fallen by 6.5 per cent in a year. So with millions struggling to pay bills, one in every two families are trawling thrift stores for good quality hand-me-downs.

Charity shops are big business. They currently make £200 million for UK charities every year.

Prices paid for second-hand clothes in the UK have tripled in the past five years, sparking a battle between charities, companies and councils for the nation’s cast-offs. Some charities are benefiting from the price increase. “Donated textiles in the UK marketplace are now seen to be a highly valuable commodity,” noted the latest annual report of the Salvation Army Trading Company, a subsidiary of the Christian charity that collects and sells donated clothing. Its revenues have tripled in the past five years to £23.7m. Charities with shops usually sell their leftover clothes to rag dealers, while others often team up with companies to collect donations from doorstep or textile banks. “Charities think we are minting money and it is not true. They increase the prices and we have to accept it,” said Tosh Vyas, who collects clothes from UK charity shops and sorts them in Poland to reduce costs. In 2002 he paid charities 3p a kilo; now he pays 70p a kilo.

 The British Heart Foundation (BHF) - which has 700 shops across UK high streets - reports a record breaking year with profits up by £5million to £31million. According to their research, 44% of adults are now regularly shopping in charity stores compared to a year ago and one in three say its all they can afford. Supersize charity shops are opening up to cope with the rising demand for second-hand goods. Out of 43 new stores opened across the UK last year by Sue Ryder, seven were supersize. It opened a 2,965sq ft store in King’s Lynn which took more than £2,100 on its first day of trading.

Save the Children, has teamed up with the retail guru Mary Portas to diversify and give their stores more of a boutique makeover.

Earlier this year, Oxfam also reported boom time with sales up 5% across clothing, books, music and homewares. Oxfam’s 700 shops and online store announced annual takings of £85.9million in 2011, an increase of 6 per cent on the previous year.

Nowadays  all the charity shops there are competing with themselves. The most popular cause supported was charities looking for a cure (59 per cent), followed by those that focus on children (44 per cent), animals (37 per cent) or local community issues (38 per cent).

Now the conventional chain stores are groing more involved. Marks & Spencer wants customers to hand over an old or unwanted garment whenever they buy a new one, to encourage a phenomenon it has dubbed "shwopping". It wants to kick-start a "buy one, give one" culture which could allow unwanted items to be resold, reused or recycled by its charity partner Oxfam. Similar schemes have already been seen on the high street, with retailer TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK urging people to "Give up Clothes for Good". The unintended consequence is that the shops of smaller, less well known charities receive fewer donations as a result.

B&W Studio advertising agency has created branding and marketing materials for a new national campaign that is due to appear in some 7000 UK charity shops including Marie Curie Cancer Care,The British Red Cross and The British Heart Foundation. Created for the Charity Retail Association, the “Choose Charity Shops” brand encourages people to donate directly to charity stores and will appear on window posters, in-store point of sale and direct mail rather than commercial recycling companies - see below.- Specialist shops and online entrepreneurs are exchanging cash for bin bags of old clothes, which are then exported to eastern Europe and Africa, where British high street labels command great cachet. Cash4Clothes, which has 31 shops and plans to open another 50 this year, pays £5 for a full bin bag of clothes. “When you donate clothes, do you want them to line wealthy businessmen’s pockets?” said the charity Scope.

The 2nd Hand Millionaire

The Daily Mirror reported that "Secondhand clothes left in recycling banks are being sold for a profit in up-market ­“vintage” shops. Items donated by people who believe they are helping the poor and needy end up in trendy ­boutiques as councils try to claw back millions of pounds they have lost due to ­Government cuts. They are handing over to private ­companies the clothes banks which they previously let charities ­use free of charge. Firms hand a cut of the profit they make from recycling to the local authorities."
Hertfordshire and Northumberland councils have struck deals with recycling giants Nathans Wastesavers and Cookstown ­Recycling to run banks (16 London councils are considering putting out to tender a contract to operate textile banks on all their sites). Nathans are selling much of what they collect from clothes banks to shops in Scotland. The firm’s most recent accounts show that in 2009 and 2010 they sold clothes worth £430,000 to WM Armstrong, a chain of three up-market secondhand clothes shops in Edinburgh. They sell them on to middle-class students and young professionals at prices much higher than those charged by charity shops. The stores ­had dresses  priced at £20-£30 and handbags were on sale for £20. Leather jackets were selling for around £50, with worn-out and ripped Barbour jackets tagged at £35-£55. The most expensive item on sale ­appeared to be a Black Watch tartan kilt at £120.  Brendan O’Brien, a ­director of both Nathans and Armstrongs, is the brains behind the scheme. He lives in a large £3million mansion in one of Edinburgh’s most exclusive areas.

Monday, August 22, 2011

shops and shoppers disappear

One in nine Scottish shops is lying empty as the retail sector slowdown shows no sign of easing, new figures have revealed. Scotland’s store vacancy rates stand at 11.1%.

Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: “Fewer people are shopping because households are facing high inflation, low wage growth and uncertainty about future job prospects.”

Colin Borland, spokesman for the Federation of Small Business in Scotland, said “Hard-pressed families are reviewing every pound in their weekly budget. People are thinking before they buy and that, of course, has a knock-on effect on foot-fall and wider business confidence. As soon as people start to see vacant units appearing in high streets, it is almost as if they are contagious. It gives the impression the area is on the way down and means there is less economic activity to sustain remaining businesses.”