ost of our regular readers will be literally chomping at the bit over these coming weeks, monitoring their direct

and store sales as shops settle into being open once again for business. Will the wholesale re-opening of high streets and shopping malls make a dent in direct and online revenues? Or will the initial consumer excitement give way to the realisation that direct scores rather more highly when it comes to choice and convenience? Anyone living in a seaside town, as I do, will long have been used to the pattern of most independent retailers shuttering their stores after the Autumn half term until preparing to re-open for the Easter holidays. Vacant stores in the better locations always quickly snapped up and the remainder let on very loose terms, usually with six months rent free, to enthusiastic under-capitalised amateurs. (Most of latter not lasting beyond Autumn).

This current period has been very similar around the country, with new window displays, re-stocking and re-opening activity waking up what had been near deserted town centres and shopping malls. But no amount of enthusiastic endeavour from those still in business can mask the eyesore of boarded up stores left vacant by all those retail businesses which have failed. The sight of these neglected shop fronts is enough to dampen the spirits of both passing shoppers and those working in neighbouring premises. New tenants will be thin on the ground, unless positions are prime and rents are realistic. Although regional reports say that there is strong demand for retail space in key coastal locations like Falmouth, Dartmouth, St Ives and Padstow which are expected to be swarming (once again) with well-heeled holidaymakers over the summer. Retail space anywhere that morphs into Fulham or Kensington by Sea is, understandably, seriously sought after because

these holidaying people will have plenty of money to spare and be absolutely longing to get into the holiday spirit and spend it.

Beyond trying to secure new space or rising to the challenge of greater competition, many readers will also be readjusting to having team members return to office working and developing HR policy that ref lects the future modus operandi. Considering how they can arrive at the best balance between home & office working. Which roles are better suited to office working? How to help newer recruits who will never have been into their offices in person to integrate with other employees and settle into working more closely with colleagues they have hitherto only conversed with via Teams or Zoom. How to ensure that there are opportunities for learning for everyone as business life readapts and that those who long to work back in the office, which a high number do for assorted reasons, can take up a desk again. It is undoubtedly going to be a very busy time getting everything into place.

Wishing everyone very successful trading and a much awaited ‘return to normal’.

JRH Don’t believe what others say – there is a great job waiting for you. ... 4

Direct Commerce |

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