Small Retailers Fly High While Comet Crashes Down To Earth

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A leading independent electronics retailer sees sales soar while the high-street giants struggle.

Simply Electricals independent electronics retailer

The staff at Simply Electricals store in Bolton believe expert product knowledge and great customer service is the key to the groups success

Good product knowledge and service with a smile goes a long way and the public appreciate it.

The electrical industry was rocked recently by news of Comet going into administration. The electrical chain closed its stores briefly last week to the public while staff were informed of potential job cuts and the overall future of the company. To compound things, Comet has now been forced to launch a liquidation sale to try and clear out stock before it has to begin permanent store closures.

Like Comet, many other high street retail giants haven't had the best of times over the last couple of years, but it's the independent retailers that seem to be coping better with the recession than the big boys. Michael Gilmore, Director of Lancashire based Simply Electricals, was keen to give his view on recent events and what's keeping the smaller stores afloat.

"It's been tough for everyone since the credit crunch kicked in. I've been in the industry for twenty years and have seen how it's changed; it's been a struggle for all. It was no surprise when I heard about Comet as I could see at least one of the major chains going under some time ago. Their overheads are huge and a fall in sales is always going to be catastrophic for them."

What then, is helping the smaller independent stores to survive in these hard times? Michael added.

"I think people are beginning to realise that big isn't always better and are turning to their local companies to see what they can offer. Good product knowledge and service with a smile goes a long way and the public appreciate it. They don't want pushy sales tactics from staff only interested in their commission. We will never match the larger chains for prices but paying that bit extra is worth it long term and consumers are realising that."

Michael concluded, "The recession is far from over but I can see a few glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel."

Simply Electricals, with stores in Bolton and Rawtenstall, was crowned Best Small Independent Retailer earlier this year at the Independent Business Awards.

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David Ingram
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