Survival mode for retailers

Jim Barry, Managing director, Barry Group
Jim Barry, Managing director, Barry Group

Barry Group managing director Jim Barry points to improved customer service and business facilitation as the way forward in turbulent times



12 October 2009

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In these turbulent times, retailers’ main focus for the next 18 to 24 months is to ensure that they navigate successfully through these difficult conditions.

It is vital that retailers accept that the changing economic environment is forcing them to look hard at their businesses. Adjusting their business plan to more accurately reflect the anticipated drop in turnover is critical to ensure costs are controlled, to assist in the survival of the business.

The role of the wholesaler has also changed hugely. Proactive wholesalers are offering more support to their customers than ever before. We at Barry Group have supported many of our customers by assisting them to restructure their businesses to help them come through the current challenges. Apart from the normal support services, our financial department has been very proactive in assisting our customers to create new budgets to protect their businesses, and extensive benchmarking of performance on a confidential basis has been rolled out and is proving to be of great assistance.

We find that our retailers are meeting the challenges head on, which will have them in excellent shape when we emerge from the current downturn. It is time to be proactive and grab control of your business.

It is also vital that wholesalers realise retailers must retain their margins in order to ensure that they have a viable business. We have introduced many initiatives such as price drops, the introduction of value ranges across key departments, to help protect our retailers business. It is too much to ask a retailer to accept a drop in sales as well as a drop in margin. We know how important it is to both help and support our customers to firstly survive and ultimately prosper over the next number of years.

One of the necessities for business to survive today is that quality service is offered to both retailers and consumers. Proactive wholesalers, while managing their cost base, have increased their standards and level of service to the retailer. It is also very evident at retail level that there is a return to the old values of “customer comes first” to ensure their continued loyalty.  

I believe this level of service requires continuous focus by all who take their business seriously and that will ultimately give our consumer a better shopping experience. The wholesalers and retailers who provide the best levels of service and care will be around in the longer term and will be in a position to take advantage of any upturn when the economy improves.

Barry Group looks forward to working in partnership with our retailers to ensure we provide a quality offering that exceeds our consumer’s expectations.



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