David Dickinson looks back over the last 12 months and looks forward to 2017


have written a lot of serious stuff this year, so I thought I’d take a little light hearted look back over the last 12 months and a look forward to 2017.

I’ll start on positive note, with the virtual prizes (but no actual prize!!) for

the people who have made my life easier in 2016. As many of you know we put on a little concert in March in aid of the

flooding in Cumbria, and it would be remiss not to mention the shoe firms who helped on this. In alphabetical order Anatomic, Loake, Padders, Rieker Sandpiper and UKD all helped by giving us some amazing prizes. So these companies jointly win the prize for generosity of the year!

Agent and Rep of the year, now that is a tough call! Stewart Chanter from

Marco Tozzi for his stoicism! He just never gets flustered and has a dry humour, Steven Frost just for his sheer common sense, and his ability to sit patiently while our buying team discuss forcefully what we are going to buy or not as the case may be! The conflict between the financial and the shop needs occasionally clash! Murray from Sandpiper must be on the list as he must be the most determined salesman I know.

Before I look at my supplier of the year, I must mention my prize for

Raspberry of the year. On this I am going to be kind and not mention either company, after all it is the season of good will (loosely). It was a tossup between the short-sighted company that decided we were not buying enough shoes and decided that they no longer wanted to supply us, and the company who thought that interfering with an unjustified complaint from one of our customers was a sensible idea, (read last issue of Footwear Today for the full story).

My supplier of the year has got to go to the firm who rang up to take a line

of shoes back because they thought there was a minor problem with them. In 30 years of retail this has never happened before. We had sold hassle free plenty of this line. It was an act of the highest ethics and showed a respect for their product, the retailer and most important the consumer. In a world of cynicism and chasing the pound.

I’m sure you all have your own favourites! You’ve already had an

opportunity to nominate and vote for them in the Footwear Industry Awards 2017, which reward individuals and companies for their efforts and achievements over the last 12 months, but they do not hand out any Raspberries! I note that following the online vote, the Footwear Industry Awards will be judged by an independent panel from the Industry this year, which I would support.

46 • FOOTWEAR TODAY • JANUARY 2017 Looking ahead to 2017, I think it is going to be a hard year where prices are

going to go up as the volatility of the currency and the uncertainty of how things are going to pan out over Brexit. Mind you this will be much clearer by the end of next year. I am optimistic that many fears will come to nothing. It is more the unknown that is spooking people.

A few New Year resolutions that it may be wise for all footwear retailers to follow, try to give our supplies a chance to put things right before we get annoyed!

Shop around for the best deals on energy, telephone credit card,

insurance and banks. Loyalty is a great trait but not if it is really hampering the bottom line.

It is easy to let inertia set in and be lazy, but it is also foolish. The most important thing we must remember as retailers is that we have

to pay our bills on time as if we are occasionally going to berate our suppliers we must keep our side of the bargain. As one accounts department of a supplier told me many years ago. The relationship between the retailer and the supplier is very simple we send shoes and the retailer sends money, not a difficult concept!!

I will end on a real positive and it has nothing to do with shoes! If someone

had told me five years ago I would be managing singers who produce viral videos I would have suggested that they put the person in a straitjacket and bundle them off to the nearest institute!

Keep an open mind and you never know where life will take you. I wish you all a successful, fun and most important healthy 2017.

If you would like David to look at your business costs, he promises that if he cannot save you any money you pay him nothing. But for every pound he saves, you pay him 15 pence.

If you want to learn more, email David on david@fdickinsonfootwear,

call 01229 580654, or visit www


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