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December 31st, 2007 at 11:25 am

Retail Pricing and Who To Dance With

As is “normal” at this time of year, both our regular mail and email all seem to have new pricing information.

There is no question that all our suppliers to the independent shops, the “Brick, Click or DownLoad LSO’s” have been doing all they can to hold prices in all niches of the NeedleArts. Considering the escalating costs for production, delivery, customs and the new hoops created by HSA; it is VERY REASONABLE that our suppliers need to put increased prices in place.

This is about PUBLISHED Pricing and I truly believe it to be a serious disservice to the Independent Brick, Click or DownLoad Retailer when a price increase does not include a raise in the published Suggested Retail Price as I have seen in several received in the last 30 days.

This creates a perception problem for Retailers and it should be “addressed” immediately.

Consumers “assume” that Independent Brick, Click or DownLoad Retailers pay “only” 50% of MSRP.

Consumers rarely take into account (although some do) the many other expenses related to making these products available in the independent Brick, Click or DownLoad Shops for the convenience of the consumer/needlearts hobbyist. The more reasonable will often comment that they understand and are willing to accept a small percent over Suggested Retail for this convenience and availability.

Nor, is this about peripheral costs such as postage or shipping, which must be taken into account over the long term to know if the calculations are correct and if the increased sales generates enough cash flow to justify the some revenue loses.

This is about the appearance of a supplier undercutting the Independent Retailers by creating a situation where their direct sales give the consumer the impression that the Retailer is (notice IS not MAY) be “gouging”.

When a supplier is also offering their products directly to consumers, I believe it is imperative they not do so in a many which will be harmful to the industry in general and to the Independent Retailers specifically.

At a time when the “mega stores” are visible reducing their offerings for Sewing/Quilting & NeedleArts, our industry interests lie, as they always have, in supporting the Independent Brick, Click or DownLoad Retailers who continue to keep products for the NeedleArts readily available to the Consumers.

No matter how these products are delivered, Brick, Click or DownLoad, if the supplier is going to offer products directly, or through a partnership with their retailers such as the Shop-A-Tron network, it is imperative that their published prices do not require the Retailer to be guaranteed a lose for the costs of delivering the merchandise.

And, yes as a spinner and weaver of many decades, I do understand that when a product is produced in what can only be called a very labor intensive manner such as many fiber craft items often are, or in small production runs rather than in huge mega factory situations, the “discount” may not be full keystone – BUT THE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE CERTAINLY MUST BE AT LEAST KEYSTONE and the really good guys will make sure their published pricing does allow for the additional overhead related to running an independent NeedleArts Business.

The simple fact is that if we do not work together to make it profitable for us all to stay in business, then everyone loses, and most of all it will be the consumer who suffers when the products they love and want are no longer available.

I do sincerely hope that those several companies who prices lists for 2008 I recently received will rethink and republish appropriate “suggested retail”

Best Wishes for a Peaceful & Profitable New Year

 

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