The death of the corner shop.

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Praise, Vent & Warnings
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shaun_from_Africashaun_from_Africa Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Praise, Vent & Warnings
I keep hearing and reading about how small shops are closing down at an alarming rate and how this is all to do with the big chains.
Well, if my experience today was anything to go by, my local hardware shop will soon be following the trend.

I needed a couple of small items, a bulb for a microwave oven and a small junction box for fitting a light in my loft.
Instead of driving the 3 miles to the electrical place I normally use, I went to the local hardware store.

Now, I know that they will have overheads and have to make a profit but still, The bulb cost me £2.75 and the junction box was £2.48 (A total of £5.23).
I have just checked on the website of the place I normally use (TLC electrical) and the lamp is £0.60 and the junction box £0.62 (total price of £1.22, or a saving of £4 on two small items).

Will I be supporting local shops again?
Will I hell.
«1345

Replies

  • agrinnallagrinnall
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    The sounds like a shop with a death wish Shaun, my local hardware shop is slightly more expensive than the most reasonably priced large players but is a 5 minute walk away rather than a 15 minute drive through city traffic. They may not have as much choice, and sometimes don't have what I'm looking for, but at least the people working there know what they have, which often isn't the case with the big boys.
  • paddyrgpaddyrg Forumite
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    Save £4, but either with delivery charge, or the time and inconvenience of a drive it may not be as dramatic as it sounds. For instance if it's 15 extra minutes either way then that's £4 at minimum wage
  • shaun_from_Africashaun_from_Africa Forumite
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    I don't take driving time into account unless I'm making a special journey and even then, as I won't be going during my work time, for me, wages don't enter into it.

    Irrespective of the convenience factor, I still think that a 330% price difference is a step too far and whilst they make some money from me today, with prices such as that, they have guaranteed that they won't be getting any more.

    daytona0 wrote: »
    One must also be mindful that the website prices will differ from the store prices, and a store with overheads is LIKELY to price their items higher than online (less overheads when operating online).
    The prices I gave for the items in TLC are from their website but these are always exactly the same in all of their stores.
  • theonlywayisuptheonlywayisup Forumite
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    I don't take driving time into account unless I'm making a special journey and even then, as I won't be going during my work time, for me, wages don't enter into it.

    Irrespective of the convenience factor, I still think that a 330% price difference is a step too far and whilst they make some money from me today, with prices such as that, they have guaranteed that they won't be getting any more.



    The prices I gave for the items in TLC are from their website but these are always exactly the same in all of their stores.

    But surely the whole point IS the convenience factor.
  • shaun_from_Africashaun_from_Africa Forumite
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    But surely the whole point IS the convenience factor.

    Agreed, but surely for most people there will also be a point when the extra cost incurred for the convenience outweighs the benefit of the convenience factor and it's when this point is reached for too many people, the small, more expensive stores lose customers and end up closing down.

    I do most of my weekly shopping at Waitrose but I occasionally buy stuff from my local Co-op. The prices there are slightly higher than Waitrose but I have no problem paying this.
    However, if the Co-op prices were 200% or 300% then it would be a different matter.
  • ratraceratrace Forumite
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    unfortunately the small stores dont have the buying power as the big boys who get the stock a lot cheaper, but from your point as the customer its great as it cheaper i get where your coming from

    Its the same when i buy car parts if i use ecp for parts they are a lot cheaper that the local motor factors who charge more plus i have to wait a few hours while they get them from their suppliers which can be a bit of a pain when your in the middle of a job
    People are caught up in an egotistic artificial rat race to display a false image to society. We want the biggest house, fanciest car, and we don't mind paying the sky high mortgage to put up that show. We sacrifice our biggest assets our health and time, We feel happy when we see people look up to us and see how successful we are”

    Rat Race
  • ARandomMiserARandomMiser Forumite
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    Curiously I often find that the worst for hardware prices are the big chains such as Homebase or B&Q - a local building supplier or shop is often cheaper. I guess it depends on the actual item you are looking for.
    IITYYHTBMAD
  • PennywisePennywise Forumite
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    Please don't fall into the trap of thinking the corner shop takes all that price difference as profit. Your big chain will be buying direct from the manufacturer, whereas the corner shop will be buying from one, maybe two, intermediaries, certainly a wholesaler (who'll be taking their cut of maybe 25%) and maybe a distributor (another firm taking their cut). The corner shop may be paying 2 or 3 times more than a national chain would pay for the same item.

    Also, don't forget, a small shop will have fewer customers/sales, so their "overhead per sale" will be a lot more than a big store that make several sales per minute, not to mention reality that small stores pay a higher business rate per square metre than large stores, and that a retail shop has a higher rateable value than an industrial unit (a so-called High St premium).

    If the corner shop was making huge profits, I'd agree with you, but I know from my direct experience of working with numerous small retailers, the owners will probably be earning less than you, usually less than national average wage, and sometimes, close to minimum wage for the hours they have to put in.

    It's simply not a level playing field. If the corner shop could buy the bulb for the same price as the national firm, you'd have a valid argument, but the corner shop probably pays 80p for something it sells at £1 whereas a national chain could well be paying 10p for something they sell at 30p - do the maths and see who makes more profit!

    It's the price of convenience. If you don't want to pay that price, then you lose the convenience and either have to travel or wait/pay for delivery.
  • shaun_from_Africashaun_from_Africa Forumite
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    Pennywise wrote: »
    It's simply not a level playing field. If the corner shop could buy the bulb for the same price as the national firm, you'd have a valid argument, but the corner shop probably pays 80p for something it sells at £1 whereas a national chain could well be paying 10p for something they sell at 30p - do the maths and see who makes more profit.

    The shop in question has B&Q branded merchandise, Homebase branded merchandise, Kirkland (Costco) branded merchandise etc on their shelves so it looks like they purchase some or all of their stock from wherever they wish.

    Take the bulb I purchased as an example.
    I paid £2.75 and in TLC the same bulb is 60p if purchased singularly and 48p if bought as multiple of 10 so I can't see that they would have paid more than 60p for something they resold for £2.75
    As I said before. I understand that convenience costs extra but surely business must also understand that when times are hard, people will only pay so much for convenience before deciding to travel that little bit further.
  • PennywisePennywise Forumite
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    The shop in question has B&Q branded merchandise, Homebase branded merchandise, Kirkland (Costco) branded merchandise etc on their shelves so it looks like they purchase some or all of their stock from wherever they wish.

    Take the bulb I purchased as an example.
    I paid £2.75 and in TLC the same bulb is 60p if purchased singularly and 48p if bought as multiple of 10 so I can't see that they would have paid more than 60p for something they resold for £2.75
    As I said before. I understand that convenience costs extra but surely business must also understand that when times are hard, people will only pay so much for convenience before deciding to travel that little bit further.

    And consumers must understand that a business needs to charge a certain amount to cover it's costs, which as I have said, are often far higher "per sale" than big stores selling large volumes.

    If corner shops were so profitable, as you seem to think they are, they wouldn't have been closing down in huge numbers for the last few decades.

    Obviously, you don't value convenience or the probably better service of a small independent. That's your choice. But don't start winging when you need something unusual in a hurry that your chain store doesn't stock or that's going to take a few days to be delivered.
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