Woolworths Collapse not the fault of recession

Retailing giant Woolworths this week called in the administrators as they could not see a way forward for the business.

The country is hitting hard times at present and retail is one of worst hit sectors with public spending well down on last year as the recession and credit crunch takes it toll.  However the collapse of woolworths should not be confused with the recession, sure it didn’t help but this collapse is down to nothing more than poor product buying and bad management.

The truth is that Woolworths have been in trouble for over 5 years, customers have no real reason to go into their stores anyone.  Back in the day, Woolworths had its place on the highstreet, you went to the Butchers, Fruit and veg man etc and Woolworths for everything else, gardening tools, sweets, CDs, Pens etc etc etc but with the raise of companies like Tesco and Sainsbury you can get all of this stuff along with your weekly shopping and if searching for a sole item in town like a CD you would have been more likely to go to a specialist store such as HMV.

All is not lost though, Woolworths in the 80s spend an absolute fortune researching and buying the best locations on the high street, these sites are now worth a fair bit of cash, even in todays climate.

The administraters will now seek to sell of the valable parts of the business, the retail stores for me are the most valauble assets, selling the 800 odd lease agreements to big retailers could go a long way towards clearing the £350+ Million debt the company has wracked up.

In other news this week, MFI have had to pull the plug and are currently selling off stock and knock down prices to clear the stores.

I would say by the end of 2010 we will be looking at a very different high street in many ways, big companies are not safe at present with hugh outgoings and warehouses full of cash tied up in stock.

It really is time for a small local business to thrive, they can make changes quickly to save the future of the business and apply changes that are suitable to their own town.


Communication is Critical

The following reminds me of the time when I was working for John Caudwell when he banned company e-mails, branding them a waste of time, instead he suggested we should spent more time on the phone and ‘walking to the post office’ hmmmmm The ban only lasted three months, anyway here is a email I was just sent, very amusing….

A magazine recently ran a “Dilbert Quotes” contest. They were looking
for people to submit quotes from their real-life Dilbert-type managers.
These were voted the top ten quotes in corporate America :

“As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building
using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday,
and employees will receive their cards in two weeks.”
(This was the winning quote from Fred Dales, Microsoft Corp. in Redmond
WA )

“What I need is an exact list of specific unknown problems we might
(Lykes Lines Shipping)

“E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be
used only for company business.” (Accounting manager, Electric Boat

“This project is so important we can’t let things that are more
important interfere with it.” (Advertising/Marketing manager, United
Parcel Service)

“Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule .”
(Plant Manager, Delco Corporation)

“No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We’ve been
working on it for months. Now go act busy for a few weeks and I’ll let
you know when it’s time to tell them.”
(R&D supervisor, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing/3M Corp.)

Quote from the Boss: “Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say.”
(Marketing executive, Citrix Corporation)

My sister passed away and her funeral was scheduled for Monday.
When I told my Boss, he said she died on purpose so that I would have to
miss work on the busiest day of the year. He then asked if we could
change her burial to Friday. He said, “That would be better for me.”
(Shipping executive, FTD Florists)

“We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going
to discuss it with the employees.”
(Switching supervisor, AT&T Long Lines Division)

Carphone Warehouse – What a waste of time

I used to make light of the fact that Carphone Warehouse was useless, For this assumption I had no basis other than the fact at the time for 5 years I was a Phones 4u General Manager.  However today dispite my problems with T-Mobile I decided that I quite fancied a Google G1 so put in a call to T-Mobile to order one, alas none in stock but you can visit your local Carphone Warehouse store and collect it there.

No problem, off I trot with my IDs into Carphone Warehouse in Lisburn, The sales assistant asked me what I wanted and made no attempt to tell me a price or anything before asking for my ID, to which my credit card was not acceptable (dispite being told on the phone, that would be all I would need) But he confirmed that once I returned with my passport I could find out the top secret price and get myself a G1.

2nd Visit – ok so I return with my passport and after 1 hour of two people pissing around with the till I am told, we do not sell the G1, really ? cause I could swear Im holding one that you brought out from your back office? Oh yea but that is not for upgrading customers, just new customers !!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH Could you not have told me this an hour ago? No sir how was I meant to know that ? Maybe because it is your job !!!! I leave.

Now I know Phones4u staff get the image of being pushy, but I know for a fact that every member of staff in Phones4u know exactly what phones are available on which tariffs, they get it drilled into them every day in daily briefs and conference calls.

I’m sorry Carphone Warehouse, I have never bought a phone from you before, and I never will !

Labour government are way off !

In a bid to get us ‘spending again’ the Labour government have from Monday reduced the VAT payable on goods and services to 15 % – Excellent, well not really.

From talking to people, it seems that people don’t actually have that much disposable income anymore, so even if the VAT was reduced to 10%, people can’t afford it !

The reason people have no money is because fuel bills are through the roof, I think what the government should have done was to reduce the FUEL tax not the VAT.

A reduction in fuel tax would mean

  • People would have more money in their pockets to spend
  • Retailers would spend less transporting and making goods
  • Thus prices would come down

A 2.5% reduction really is not going to make much of a difference to the price you pay anyway, things are priced at say £49.95 cause it looks like an attractive price, and I think things will stay priced at that sort of pricing, I cannot imagion a new flat screen TV is going to be priced at say £787.42 and lets not forget many of lives essentials like food and books, are not taxed anyway!

Do your homework next time boys……… before you really break the economy for good !

Living in the country? You will need a 4×4!


Town folk, or townies as we country folk like to call them like to criticise and slam us 4×4 drivers, but the truth of the matter is, some of us need them !

Take today for example, I am driving round the road to my friends house and hey-ho a felled tree, most people would turn and drive a different route, Handy to have a 4×4 tho………

15 minutes later and the road is clear! Another reason why I am Keeping my 4×4 ! deal with it !

Magpie : Make money from twitter, good idea ? or an easy way to lose followers ?

I noticed a tweet yesterday from @laptopforhire stating

@jowyang I went to their site to learn about it. Now I hope it dies a quick, profitless death.

The company he was referring to was Magpie, a company that use’s your twitter feed in order to push advertising related tweets to your followers.

I had a quick look around their site, entered my twitter name and straight away told on screen

You are going to have sooo many coins! become a magpie today you could be collecting up to $67.32     per month.

Interesting enough i read on,

1. You define a tweet frequency at which you will accept magpie-tweets for your Twitter account. Given your current tweet rate permits it, our service will try to find a matching magpie-tweet and twitter it.

2. Magpie-tweets will contain the hashtag (what?) “#magpie” and thus be readily identifiable from your other tweets.

3. For each sucessfully delivered magpie-tweet you will be rewarded in cash. Remuneration depends on the number of your followers and the popularity of the magpie-tweet’s topic.

hmmmmm I started to think about this, I could in the middle of a conversation about anything at all and the person I am twitting with randomly says BUY BANANAS FROM BANANA.COM #magpie.  Interesting.

This is a good idea in theory however for the sake of £30 per month, I would rather keep the followers I have.  For a while now people have been trying to make some money from Twitter, inc Twitter themselves.  I personally don’t think this is the way to do it.  Twitter works well because there is no or little advertising being thrown at people, apart from the odd act of shameless self promotion about new blog posts or where their band is gigging next, but I don’t think anyone really minds that.

The long and short of it is, If you don’t like what someone is saying, you don’t have to follow them.  I would rather lose a follower because they don’t like me, than like what I’m saying but stop following due to advertisements coming though my feed.

Your no one if your not on twitter !

Sad, very sad however very very true.