Contact us | Membership Enquiries 0800 028 0245 | Search


Sign up to our award-winning newsletter to receive tangible advice and insights, delivered to your inbox every fortnight.

Back to Bira member magazine
CEO office opening at the bira offices in Birmingham 2018
By bira

CEO Alan Hawkins wants you to calculate the real cost of discounting

As we approach Black Friday, CEO Alan Hawkins wants you to keep hold

FIRSTLY,  A BIG thank you for all the members who came to the opening of our new offices. I must single out Stewart Munro of Marchmont Hardware, our Scottish president, who is not very well, but was still determined to make the journey from Edinburgh. He was unaware we had singled him out for our highest accolade, bira honorary membership, and what obvious pride he displayed on receiving it.

Our new building and the improved old one were much admired at the launch event . Now the team and I must show that they work better for you members.
Last month I mentioned that for many of us the next, or Christmas, quarter is vital to our financial wellbeing. During that period, of course, is Black Friday, that annual should- I-or shouldn’t-I-join-in bonanza. This year it is on 24 November. I admire a prominent Hereford-based bira member who told me that instead of discounting he used the budget to increase marketing, which resulted in record sales. The Black Friday fuss is not ultimately about price; it’s just that the media are whipping up consumers into spending mode and ways must be found to win your share.

You all know your own business model and many retailers buy in deals to justify the lower prices during Sale events like Black Friday. I would caution you, however, against over-discounting stock that you will have to replace at your normal buy-in prices, especially as presently many retailers are taking a margin hit rather than passing on wholesale price rises to their customers. I suspect  there are many more price hikes from suppliers to come.

The table I present on page 5 shows how many times at a discounted price you must sell an item to make the same overall margin as at your original price. I admit to speaking here as an accountant. Sales and marketing have many facets, and getting customers to deal with you, with their repeat business and addon sales, all have their place, not least in moving slow and obsolete stock to improve cash flow. But just realise what you are giving away. Some of my figures may surprise you.

This November/December issue of bira is the last before 2018, as we hope you will be too busy selling things to read anything during December. You can always check if you are feeling lonely or need some vital business information.

The magazine in its new 10-times-a-year format has been going for just over a year; this is issue 12. Early in 2018, we will be conducting some market research with members to make sure we are on track, but, as ever, you are always welcome to write or email in anyway. We always love to hear from you.

In the bira Member Magazine November/December edition:

Trade news for bira members – Indies boost high street shop numbers; online sales grow fast: theft costs £800m

There’s no place like home – Some 150 guests toasted the success of bira’s new and improved head office

The Future of Retail is here – Book your places at bira conference and awards 2018. The date to note is 10 May

Health stores in new bira deal – The bira family grows again as the National Association of Health Stores joins us

Robert Smart hits 50 not out – York’s menswear king celebrates half a century of trading in the city centre


This is your bira magazine, so share your news, views and ideas with like-minded retailers by contacting us at All contributions will be gratefully received by us.

retail membershipassociate membership - Copy



Back to Bira member magazine

Popular Articles