Show speakers look at how to survive economic slump

Independent retailers need to ensure that they remain independent by not turning to the high street for inspiration, and ensuring they continue to keep in touch with what their customers want, according to Mary Portas, presenter of BBC TV series Mary Queen of Shops.

Speaking at the Summer Fair trade show in London last week, Portas said too many independent retailers tried to compete with high-street retailers. Similarly, independent garden centres should try not to compete with the likes of Wyevale and Dobbies.

Portas said an estimated 17,000 businesses would fail this year, with a further 20,000 pushed into insolvency.

The way to beat the downturn is through experience, service and specialism. Shopping will become less about the products and more about the experience, she said.

Independent retailers need to specialise and educate customers about their purchases, said Portas.

Retail and consultancy business Eco Age founder Nicola Giuggioli used Summer Fair to urge retailers to become more eco-friendly. He said: "Whoever doesn't follow this route is condemned. Customers are even more informed than we are. Sustainable business is the future and there is an opportunity to make money out of it."

Juliet Warkentin, content director of online research and trend analysis company WGSN, said that despite the decline in consumer spending, people still want change, so retailers need to find a way to offer change cost-effectively.

She said: "Customers are going to want something that's interesting and they're going to want something inspirational, but they are going to be watching their money. And that's where retailers are going to have to be careful."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.