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Another inevitable victim of bigger rivals muscling in

By Donald McFetridge

Published 16/04/2015

News that the well-known retailers S&R Electrics has ceased trading is yet another blow for the high street.

Increasingly, local, well-established retailers of this size and scale who have had great success in east Belfast and in Newtownards for 40 years are finding it more and more difficult to compete with their larger rivals like Currys and Dixons.

Unfortunately, unlike the high street behemoths, S&R Electrics did not have the buying or purchasing muscle of such large-scale operators in order to negotiate procurement terms which they would then have passed on to their customers.

Nowadays, even retailers like Argos have also entered this sector and they too have taken trade from not just S&R Electrics, but from other similar-sized electrical retailers right throughout Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

This is as a result of a trend referred to as retail convergence where retailers who were once famous for particular product categories are now "trespassing" on the doorsteps of specialists such as S&R Electrics.

Another example of this is the supermarkets who - in attempts to grow market share - have also been exploring different product categories, including electrical.

It's as easy and cheap to pick up a flat-screen television when you're shopping in Tesco as it is to pick up your groceries and this too has affected specialist retailers in several categories. Mobile telephones are another example of retail convergence where the supermarkets have arguably made significant in-roads to the territory of the principal operators in that sector.

Online retailers have also made it more and more difficult for retailers like S&R Electrics to compete solely on either price or convenience.

The demise of S&R Electrics is a sad portent for several other retailers operating in a sector where Sam no longer seems to be "Yer Man".

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