I have been rather quiet on here recently because life has thrown a curve ball and I really haven’t mentally been up to blogging.
The bailiffs turned up on my shop doorstep earlier this year and that was a clue as to what lay ahead. I haven’t ever had dealings with a bailiff but these were High Court Enforcement Officers which means you have to let them in to do their job. You simply cannot refuse.
I can’t go into much detail obviously as this is work but suffice to say that me and my staff member were, at points, wondering if we were going to have any stock left at the end of the day! Head Office were trying to negotiate terms with the landlord who was, naturally, unrelentant in his desire for full payment. In the end the company paid in full and our doors were open for trading again.
The next month, we were informed that our salaries would not be paid in full on the day they were due. We were told that a percentage would be paid on the due date, the remainder the week after. Unacceptable but what can you do when you know the company doesn’t have the money. It’s better to have some than none at all.
Also, just as our remainder payments went through, the company announced it couldn’t afford to pay the weekly staff on time either; they too would get their pay late.
The next month we had a repeat performance of both scenarios.
During this time, our deliveries have dwindled to a box or two, literally, of stock to replenish existing stock. If we are lucky, it might contain one new item of clothing and/or homeware.
There is promotional discounts on roughly half the stock and very little sale left, in my store at least. My stock room is devoid of clothing stock, just a few shoes left; I do have a tiny bit of homeware I can replenish with but not a lot.
To say I am being creative with the shop floor to keep it looking ‘fresh’ is an understatement. Fortunately I do not have bare shelves yet but if the situation continues, it won’t be long before I have to contemplate removing hanging rails off the shop floor and just have product on the walls. I can’t cope with bare walls.
So here’s the problem. The company has no operating capital at the moment, or at least it doesn’t appear to have, so it can’t afford to buy new stock. Without stock, fresh new-to-the-customer stock, we aren’t getting the footfall and thus very little money through the till. Without that, we can’t buy new stock. Or pay wages/salaries on time, or pay landlords their dues. The Ubiquitous hamster wheel.
A loan is supposed to be forthcoming but that hasn’t materialised yet; the company is on the brink of administration which the loan would help prevent. We have until the end of this month to find out IF the loan is actually going to materialise and therefore if we have jobs. Or will we fall like so much of the high street?
I am a little stressed at the moment as you can imagine.
Yet despite all evidence to the contrary, I don’t feel utterly despondent. Not yet at least. It could be though that I am just burying my head in the sand. We shall see.