retra Conference 2013: The Opportunity Within

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retra President, Andrew O’Gorman, opens this years annual with some hard hitting facts and thoughts for both independents and manufacturers.
With 320 delegates present this is set to be another well organised, informative conference. Hannah Dedman reports

This year’s conference has been headlined as ‘The Opportunity Within’, as Andrew discusses the recession still taking its toll on electrical retailing, independents need to make best use of what is available. We have lost 111 shops since last this time last year and the causes? Supermarkets taking over towns and offering complete departments dedicated to home goods/products and they mop up with consumer impulse purchases, additionally offering new deals each week which the sole trader cannot match. Independent retailers have benefits for knowledge and training and must utilise this to their advantage. Amazon allowing ridiculously low prices has been a nightmare for independents but have increased fees to 15% which is positive as this makes selling via the web channel less impactful as there is no real gain. DRL still take advantage of the indie showrooms and independents are also fighting the wholesalers.

Andrew then moved on to the manufacturers branding them a “wolf in sheeps clothing” for fighting against the indies by selling direct via their own websites with better offers and showing stock rather than making it available to the retailers to re-sell. Some also sell via QVC. Retra are happy to bring the manufacturers who work against the independents to light and as a retailer you can contact them and they will publish the results so you remain anonymous and don’t lose relations with the relevant sales reps. 

Many members have however seen growth by taking up opportunities where others have gone and working smarter. More from the conference to follow.

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