It seems that it’s never been tougher to be a retailer as the country faces the prospected of a dreaded triple-dip recession and many High Street brands are forced into administration. With low growth forecasts and an uncertain future, it’s never been more important to mange costs.
What’s the current state of the retail sector?
The figures make difficult reading as the retail sector seems to be bearing the brunt of the economic recession. Early indications are that December 2012 was a disappointing month for sales, with both volume and revenue decreasing by 0.1% compared with November. Sales volumes in December 2012 increased 0.3% against the previous year – with the exception of 2010, when poor weather affected sales, this is the lowest year-on-year growth since 1998. (ONS)
Footfall was also down, with a year-on-year decrease of 1.2% for December reflecting overall decline in consumer demand. The continuing downturn in consumer spending has fuelled the demise of several well-known retailers, with Woolworths already a fading memory and the likes of Comet, Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster all entering administration.
What’s the outlook for the future?
Retailers are facing the prospect of even tougher times ahead as the 2.6% increase in retail rates is due to hit in April. Previous increases have cost an estimated £500 million and April’s increase is expected to cost £175 million this year alone. As a result, half of retailers are expecting to cut jobs.
With 1,400 stores closing across the UK as retailers go out of business, we face the prospect of 19% of our retail premises standing empty. Growth forecasts are modest, to say the least, with the Centre for Retail Research predicting 0.3% retail growth in 2013 and 1.4% in 2014. The demand for online shopping is also hitting traditional retailers hard as online sales grew by 14% from 2011 to 2012, accounting for 13.2% of all retail sales in 2012.
Why you need to manage your print budget
DEFRA estimates that businesses can save up to £23 billion a year by managing resources more effectively. A 2009 report by cebr (Centre for Economics and Business Research) identified potential savings of £2.1 billion in printing costs alone. To companies fighting hard to stay solvent and competitive, seizing control of these costs can provide a crucial lifeline.
When a well known out-of-town retailer needed to save money and reorganise its print infrastructure, it turned to Printware for help. Complicated purchasing processes meant that supplies were sourced on an ad hoc basis from multiple vendors. This lead to an unwieldy admin process, inconsistent pricing and a multitude of stock issues as supplies were purchased in bulk.
The Printware solution
The client needed a system that was easier to manage and more reliable, with transparent costs. It also needed a simpler invoicing system and a fully inclusive service contract, as most repairs and replacements were not covered by previous agreements. By investing the time and effort to truly understand the customer’s needs, Printware was able to deliver a bespoke solution that addressed all of these issues.
Reliable hardware, reduced admin, transparent costs and a fully serviced printer fleet made it possible for the customer to cap its print budget and plan ahead without any unpleasant surprises. Put simply, print was creating a problem and Printware managed to remove the problem.
Taking control of your print infrastructure can save you money and help you operate more effectively as a business – both crucial for weathering the current financial storm. Call Printware today on 023 9262 3300 and find out how we can help you.
by Anthony Morgan