When retailers lose their way

Retailing is fairly simple, or at least it should be. It’s about giving people what they want at a price that’s right. Many retailers fail to move with the times. Think of Woolworths – people stopped wanting what they had to offer and the results were pretty painful for thousands of their workers.

Now I don’t follow the results of WH Smith closely, but if yesterday was anything to go by I wouldn’t be surprised if they are struggling. Their mainstay I assume is books, CDs, newspapers and magazines, and of course stationery.

Many of the products they have on offer can be found on the internet much cheaper. Hence the closure of many records shops, and book stores. Newspapers are struggling to cope with a wold which is embracing digital media more and more.

Where shops such as WH Smith can compete against the likes of Amazon is when someone wants a product today, and not tomorrow or next week. Well you would think it could.

Yesterday we went into WH Smith to buy a CD for a family birthday, as we wanted to drop the present off that very day. I stroll up to the CD section, which given it’s not a huge store isn’t massive. What am I faced with? 37 different CDS with a sticker temporarily out of stock. Now it isnt like it was 37 out of 1000 CDs. There aren’t that many CDs in their Newark store. Stock availability for stores like WH Smith is key given all the other challenges they face.

It does make me wonder how long this famous high street name can continue!

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2 Responses to When retailers lose their way

  1. celadon says:

    No, with all respect, you dont know or follow whsmith nor i suspect are you closely following retail in general.

    In the current climate, cost control, innovation are the key to survival. Did woolies change their market offer over the last 5 years. You know the answer toi that. Are whsmith changing their market offer? if you look closer you will understand why WHSmith share price has outperformed the market over the last 12 months.

  2. editor says:

    Maybe their share price has risen…but their offering is poor. My retail experiemce includeds representing at FTSE 100 retailer at the British Retail Consortium. Sorry share price or not the CD stationery newspaper and magazine market is going to struggle. And the point I was makinh is that no matter how good your store is, if stock isn’t available you will walk ouy the door and often never return.

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