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CONDEMNED TO REPEAT….                                                                        Home Goods Retailer

It is a well known aphorism – indeed a truism – that those who don’t learn from his-         HGR Team
tory are condemned to repeat it. Or to put it another way – a definition of insanity is
repeating an identical action over and over and hoping that just the once you will get            Publisher and Editor-in-chief
a different result! Business is full of such examples and the business landscape is                       Contact: Ian Hughes
littered with the wrecks of once thriving enterprises. These were once leaders at a
time when there was much certainty. When the dollar had its place and we all knew                 Tel: 011 728 6593 | 082 553 8154
where the mighty rand stood in relation to it. When manufacturers had thriving                           E-mail:
operations, knew their market and cultivated strong and mutually rewarding relation-
ships with their primary customers – retailers, dealers, the trade. Call them what you             National Sales & Marketing
will but these manufacturers/suppliers understood only too well that it was primarily                    CEA Recruitment
through these channels, retail channels, that consumers could access their products.
                                                                                                       Contact: Cherry Swanson
  So suppliers cultivated strong relationships with these customers, marketed to                  Tel: 011 463 1177 | 082 780 7976
them, cherished them, spoiled t hem, used them as sounding boards for consumer                     E-Mail:
demands. And this relationship formed the basis of the partnership which provided a
viable and mutually profitable business model, because in turn retailers would market                    Contact: Pippa Hughes
and advertise these products to their customer base. Suppliers and retailers critically                     Tel: 082 552 2675
understood the absolute necessity of marketing their products to their respective
customer base. Today this industry, large as it is, is fractured, disparate and dysfunc-                Admin & Accounts
tional in many ways. The long established and successful business model which had                        Contact: Pippa Hughes
thrived down the ages and ensured the prosperity and profitability of both parties has
been destroyed. In its place is an adversarial relationship in which retailers are directly                 Tel: 082 552 2675
and increasingly importing what they wish to sell and the supplier base, gravely
threatened, has shrunk.                                                                                         Design
                                                                                                       Contact: Taryn Haley (9IT)
  Almost in retaliation so called ‘concept stores’ belonging to leading suppliers are
opening in shopping centres and malls. These are invariably the global brands which                         Tel: 071 602 4553
can afford to advertise and market their products directly to consumers – and cut                       E-Mail:
out their once vitally important retailer customer. So we have retailers who have cut
out their local suppliers and import directly, generally from the Far East, and suppli-      Copyright on all editorial in Home Goods
ers who by virtue of their concept stores have eliminated their primary customer, the        Retailer is owned by the publisher and
retailer. It is haphazard, it is frequently vicious and it is dog eat dog. And the casual-   reproduction without permission is
ties mount. And although it is anarchic, yet there are shining beacons of brilliant retail   prohibited. The opinions expressed in
practice which have confounded the norm. OK Furniture, Hirsch’s and Tafelberg in             Home Goods Retailer are not neces-
the Cape are classic examples of the best ret ail practice whereby their suppliers are       sarily the views held by the editor or
looked after and in return suppliers ensure that these customers get the best and the        publisher. We reserve the right to edit
latest. And all backed up by massive marketing spend. Today in this desperate retailer       – for purposes of space and clarity – all
environment of doom and gloom, these three retailers demonstrate what is possible            editorial material and letters submitted
by adhering to the basics, and doing it superbly.                                            for publication.

                                     Ian Hughes

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