GLOOM and/or OPPORTUNITY: Audiophile retailing in the current economic gloom

Previously published here in 2017

It’s impossible, however hard I try, to remain immune to the financial crisis gripping the UK. Of course it’s tempting, and yes I have been sorely tempted, just to sit back in the comparative warmth and security of Stereonow, warm in both the physical and the financial sense, and try and let it pass me by. Not very responsible I know, but then again the survival instinct runs strong here.

Happily, and I hope not in the least smugly, I'm not owed money by anyone and I don’t owe any of my suppliers any money either. Certainly a fortunate situation to be in when compared to a few other audio retailers I guess. Interestingly, unlike the previous credit crisis a few years back, there are virtually no ‘Chinese whispers’ I'm hearing along the lines of “xyz's bounced a cheque” or “xyz’s laying off staff” – or unhelpful innuendo like that. Or maybe there are and I'm just too far under the radar to be included in the gossip.

I’d prefer to believe, possibly naively but hey – am I immune to naivety? – that this time around there is a greater sense of industry responsibility than hitherto. Less gloating, less schadenfreude if you like. It’s also tempting to believe that those retailers still around (far fewer than during the ‘Black Wednesday’ crisis years back are financial more robust than previously. I’ve no way of knowing and only time will tell.

Given all this, it strikes me I have 3 options. These are in no particular order of importance (a) do nothing, sit tight and ride out the storm like a cork on a troubled sea or (b) progressively sell slow moving items and turn that investment in demo and sales stock into cash or (c) invest in additional demonstration items in the belief that a sensibly strategy is to spend money during a downturn.

I’ve opted for the latter, believe it or not. I'm doing this because of the twin commercial axioms (or proverbs if you prefer) that I live by. These are (a) ‘in every opportunity there is danger and in every danger there is opportunity’ – and (b) there is one indisputable common denominator that links the bad times and the good times – and that is that neither of them last forever!

I'm auditioning a few carefully considered additional product lines to supplement the ones I already proudly represent. These potential additions are very low profile lines. I'm not interested in acquiring new lines as a knee-jerk need to generate profit quickly. There’s no need and no desire here for that.

I’m taking a risk and of course with these new suppliers (if we choose to work together) and they are taking a risk with me too.

Meanwhile life and demonstrations go on as normal at Stereonow and I'm pleased to say, so do sales.

Thank you.

Leave a Reply