A slow Christmas period could signal trouble for smaller retailers over the next 12 months, according to the boss of one of the UK’s largest chain of retailers.
John George, MD of Jag Communications, spoke to Mobile about his concerns. He said:
‘I think it will be a tough year. I think lots of the smallest dealers will actually give up because it will be too tough. Size will matter, to keep networks interested in them, and that’s fundamentally what the problem will be.
‘I think networks will be focussed on data applications, and they’ll see bigger retailers as an easier way of selling people up to those applications; the shift from voice to data will be key.
George added that a number of struggling retailers had offered to sell their business to him. He also revealed that the second Saturday before Christmas had seen a lower level of trading than an average Saturday.
Toks Omitola of Excite Your Mobile echoed George’s concerns: ‘It is like a ghost town in our shop. Consumers are staying away because of their personal financial constraints, and the cashback scheme has also hit our sales and taken trade away from us. We have not met even half of our sales targets and Christmas is around the corner.
Omitola was planning to expand his business next year by increasing the number of outlets, but his plans have now been shelved until later in 2008. He said: ‘The market has slowed down drastically; we are going to see if sales increase next year before we expand as we might have to tighten our purse strings if the market does not improve.’