September 2020

A retail resurgence O 8

ver the past month or so, retail has seen a bit of a resurgence as consumers have enjoyed getting back

out and about and making up for lost time. Money that would have otherwise been spent elsewhere (on summer holidays for example) was saved up and appeared to be burning holes in people’s pockets – good news then for electrical retailers up and down the country! If consumers were unsure about splashing out

on a new TV or upgrading their washing machine at the start of the year, the lockdown certainly helped them identify what they wanted to spend their money on and they didn’t appear to waste any time when shops reopened. This is what Stuart Cook, the Chief Executive

of the CIH buying group, was talking about when I interviewed him for this September issue of ERT.

On that note, you may have already seen in this issue that the ERT Awards will take place slightly later this year – on 3 December. Given the unprecedented challenges the retail sector has faced so far this year, we took the decision to move the date of the Awards to better suit everyone in the industry. Things have been tough, but we

believe now, more than ever, it is vital that the hard work, innovation and ingenuity of independent electrical retailers and manufacturers/suppliers is recognised and celebrated. It’s a great shame we cannot all

meet in person again this year – although this is something we are getting used to – so we’ll bring the ERT Awards to you via a virtual live- streamed platform. Entries are still open for both

retailers and manufacturers – and will remain open until Friday 2 October. So submit your entry now for a chance of winning! For more information and to enter, visit:

Email the editor at What do you think ? He said he couldn’t believe how busy his

members’ shops were after the restrictions lifted and there has been a real demand for local retail, that one-on-one personal service, a u-turn back to what independent retail was all about years ago. You’ll also see from page 26 this month other

retailers sharing similar stories of booming business. Lyn Knight from Abbey Appliances reported that her phone didn’t stop ringing once she reopened and that customers were buying all her shopfloor stock because they were desperate. However, people might be feeling a little

flush at the moment, but is this a false economy? There are grave concerns across the industry that the high we are experiencing at the moment will come to an end. These thoughts are definitely shared by the retailers I spoke to this month.

Of course, no one knows what to expect or

what to plan for. As I write this, more regions across the country are going back into localised lockdowns and I think a lot of people fear the upcoming winter months. The famous, ever- frantic pre-Christmas period this year could be very, very different to what we’re used to; items will still need to be purchased, but if people aren’t keen on their usual high street shopping spree, could most of their spending move online? Should retailers upgrade their virtual stores in preparation? Or perhaps make their physical stores safer and more inviting than ever before? Offer consumers something they cannot get online. This is the topic of our Experiential Retail feature this month on page 28. Whatever happens in the coming months, let’s just hope to end the year on a high…

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