It has been another interesting month in the embroidered workwear and leisurewear market. There is no escaping the effects of Brexit no matter whether your input materials come from the Far East or from the UK. The price of our key garments is rising and the price of running the business is rising. We will do our best to remain competitive but…
I read this week that Tesco sent a warning shot to the large corporations that supply them telling them to justify any price increase proposals as a result of “Brexit”. Of course the publicity stunt was played out on Marmite some weeks ago and like the product it was a love hate outcome. Some thought that Tesco won the day, whereas others thought that the supplier had made a point to Tesco that they cannot control pricing.
Away from the public eye, although not in the public interest, smaller UK businesses are having price increases imposed on them on a daily basis by the large importers, multinational corporations and “Services Cartels”
Already in the garment industry we have received “mid-year” price increases (in October) from those garment importers from the Far East, many of whom it seems don’t agree supply prices ahead in dollars because they would prefer to face the risk of currency fluctuations!!
One accepts that, as the New Year commences, there will be a review of prices for the 2017 contract supply of polo shirts, sweatshirts and jackets etc, for the business and leisure market. However, the current, “mid-year price increase” situation is blatant profiteering in a market where there is no strong industry body and the smaller business are disadvantaged competitively.
Our award for brass neck price hike of the month goes to Scottish Power, our electricity supplier, who has informed us that our rates will rise by over 25% from this month. Why? … Well… Brexit of course was the reason given over the phone. Both the supply rate and the day rate are rising steeply. In their defence, they claim that they are one of the top three competitive suppliers in the UK and that although inflation is below 1% and that their average supply price to ”larger users” is averaging 10%, because we are a small user of their supply, we have to bear the 25% increase.
No embarrassment from this company, I assure you.
Now, I’m not a expert on these matters, but following on from the Banking crisis, where the government did not bring the financial market to book on behalf of the consumers, we look like having a Brexit crisis. If you believe that Brexit vote was a reaction to the impotence of Government, then I can only see sweeping unrest to follow. Those in Government who bury their heads in the sand at present are denying the reasons for Donald Trump’s election as President of the USA.
If there is anyone out there in the ether who would like to contact me from either Scottish Power or from the Department of Cartel encouragement at Whitehall, I would welcome their views.
Meantime, as proud small business owners, we will overcome the red tape, the banking charges imposed because the interest rate is too low. We will overcome the escalating prices of services and interim raw material price hikes borne out of the uncertainty created by the mismanagement by our elected representatives’ of European exit. Most importantly, however, we will continue to delight our customers. Because like tens thousands of fellow small business owners around the UK, to survive, never mind flourish, we have to remain competitive and provide a real service to our customers ….. a culture which is apparently an anathema to many of those larger companies who are ruled by “Dividend Culture” and protected through competition restriction.
Along with many other progressive small businesses, what we do have in our favour is the ability to be flexible, creative and to know our customer requirements. We will remain competitive in the supply of embroidered sweatshirts, polo shirts and jackets to our business and leisure customers.
There, I feel better already! And not a price increase to our customers in sight.
Happy Brexit to all our customers.