Austin Reed and BHS – both once pillars of the high street have called in the administrators.
Whilst they are both very different businesses and management controversies aside, it strikes me that they both made the same fatal mistake – they did not pace with the ever changing landscape of retail.
The constant threat of new competitors, the Moss Bross, M&S and TM Lewin or Charles Tyrwhitt to mention just a few. The battle to keep margins down. You simply need to signup to Charles Tyrwhitt email newsletter to witness the almost daily barrage of emails that entice you into the online shop.
And the unstoppable march of the internet that has made clicks & mortar a very different proposition.
Moving with the times in terms of style has also been mentioned as a criticism against both retailers. Charles Tyrwhitt acts more quickly towards the demand for new styles.
There was an interesting quote from Graham Soult, retail consultant at Souls Retail View.
“Many of the remaining retailers on the UK high street that have failed to move with the times, or that have lost their raison d’etre, have already been culled – either years ago, like C&A, or certainly since 2008 (JJB, Borders, Zavvi, Ethel Austin and the like).
“So, BHS is the last of a pre-digital generation, in a way.”
In further news, BRC have released the latest data in the number of full-time retail jobs. It would seem that the first quarter of 2016 edged down by 0.9% year-on-year.
Most likely this links to the drop in outlets of 0.5% compared with the same quarter in 2015.