By Clare Rayner
This week has been another busy week with lots of tweets from independent retailers about what they are up to. My Google alerts continue to pour in, with more and more stories from around the UK about what different retailers, areas and towns are doing for Independent Retailer Month (IRM).
One retailer, who I know well, has done a brilliant job of appearing in various press articles – that’s The Dressing Room in St Albans, run by Deryane Tadd. Deryane’s boutique is immaculate – beautifully presented, with a fresh, clean interior that makes the garments she displays so creatively look all the more striking. Deryane is a passionate supporter of independent retail and has certainly been getting lots of attention this month! She’s also one of my guest bloggers for a “blog-a-day for Indie Retail” – and in her feature, which will publish at 10am on July 28th 2011 through The Retail Champion blog, Deryane shares her top tips for indie retail success that she has learned from her six years of trading.
In terms of how the month is going, obviously word is spreading, but as a first time campaign in the UK we’re eager to continue to build more and more support. That said, with retailers showing their support from Cornwall to Dunblane, and even across the water in Belfast, I’d say we’ve certainly got great coverage across the UK. I hope that after the end of July we can continue to connect with retailers all over the UK in order to plan ahead for Independent Retailer Month 2012, for which I am already planning some exciting stuff!
This week my top tip for retailers comes from the conversations I had with the participants of the second free online retail surgery session (the final session of the three takes place on Monday 25th at 8:30pm, any retailers interested in a free online discussion forum should register here.
This week we talked about stock planning. Stock planning and management is the key to ensuring you are always in stock of the items customers want, but never overstocked. My advice was to use a simple spreadsheet to track average weekly sales by line and plan how much stock to buy and when, to always be in stock and never carry residuals. Supplier minimums were raised as an issue, so the second tip was to arrange meetings with suppliers, to show them the forecasts and ideal stock plans, and to work with them to try and agree a better approach to buying than in large quantities – some may be willing to help, and those who do accommodate smaller more frequent order quantities will certainly be benefiting your cash flow.
Next week is the final week of Independent Retailer Month and I hope that lots of the planned events and activities are a really resounding success – I’m particularly keen to hear from the lovely people at Birds Yard in Leeds, who I mentioned in my Retail Gazette diary update last week – they are combining the celebrations for their first birthday and Independent Retailer Month with a big event next Friday – so hopefully that goes really well for them, and, I hope that all the events that are taking place are very successful.
You can read the final entry of Clare Rayner’s Independent Retailer Month diary on Retail Gazette next Friday.