2023…Could be a (or not so) Great Year ….?

My Customers will, soon, start asking me the perennial question…How do you think the new year will be? I am very succinct and precise. It could be good or bad. That’s it in a nutshell.

There is a footnote to this response that is not always obvious as depending who the customer is, I do not include this is in my ‘six word ‘ financial forecasts.

I am very clear in my own head ( as if anyone is any doubt ??)

  • I am not a financial analyst
  • I am not a retail analyst
  • I am not a market analyst
  • I am not an analyst

But I am frequently asked this question at the beginning of the year by customers, colleagues, Julia , A few friends ( very few that confined, in that I only have a few , very few. To extend my audience I have asked Aristotle ( our dog) and his canine response is I am only interested in three things

  • Walking (currently it is -5 degrees but that doesn’t bother him )
  • Food
  • A massage

As long as my face and the sound of my voice assures him, that is the only interest he has in the coming year.

Stormy Monday Blues – T bone Walker -Lately Eric Clapton

There is undoubtedly a number of gloomy indicators out there , especially for the first three months.

Cost of energy,

continuing Ukraine crisis,


interest rates ,

consumer confidence,

industrial unrest,

and a lot of uncertainty within the World at large.

Good day Sunshine -The Beatles

So what’s good about 2023

  • Inflation appears to be peaking and below what was forecasted
  • Interest rates whilst still rising are predicted to be well below original forecasts
  • Sterling has recovered some of its losses
  • Covid does not present the same barrier it has for the last 2 years
  • Fixed mortgage rates have reduced a little
  • The survey of 138 companies, including 50 retailers, found that a net balance of 11 per cent of businesses said sales grew, up from -19 per cent in November (CBI)
  • A Coronation (at least for the Party Sector in the U.K. )
  • Retail landlords are starting to become a little more realistic

This does not detract from it being potentially being very tough, but it should be put it into some of perspective. The total retail sales within the U.K. in 2021 were £421 billion . There were approximately 316,000 retail outlets. If retail sales fall by 3% that equals £12 billion . However, if we look it another way a consumer who had £100 in their pocket to spend freely may only have £97. If you extrapolate that further and look at the total U.K. spend on party (of which it is really difficult to find a true figure) even if was half of 1% of total retail spend which would be a gross over estimate , we are looking at targeting less than 50p of the consumer spend .

There will be many (gross exaggeration) readers who will say don’t be bloody stupid ….that’s only £30 million total party market. It is quite clearly many times that, but the principal is the same . Within our market place our target audience is a very small proportion of their overall disposable income. They will look to have a good time, which is why Glastonbury 2023 sold out in minutes despite the ticket price being £300 (220,000 x£300=£66 million pounds =One Event)

It is down to the entire chain no matter what market, to be creative, pro-active, positive, supportive and all aim for very slightly bigger slice of that £421 billion . The proverbial tills wont ring themselves .

Just to illustrate my analytical skills and give you all lot more confidence in what I write : In March 2020 my analysis of Covid was that it was a very bad cold and would be all over by September.

Twixt the optimist and pessimist
The difference is droll:
The optimist sees the doughnut
But the pessimist sees the hole.

McLandburgh Wilson b. 1892 author

Where have all these New Accounts come from? Part 2!

There are times (at least for me) when something has been bugging me and then the light goes on. Or in this case someone switched it on for me.

Back in July, I posted about receiving loads of new account enquiries and whilst there was some commonality with most of them, apart from major conspiracy theories I could not understand why this was happening. I would love to say it was analytical genius but alas no.

Enablers is the answer. Well, that’s pretty straightforward then, but pretty oblique. Try http://www.enablers.org it may become a lot clearer. Apparently, in Pakistan there is a concern that their talented internet savvy youth are leaving the country to seek better rewarded positions overseas. Therefore, a web site was set up offering Online trading training, more specifically Amazon trading.

The aim is to create 100,000 amazon traders. Part of their training is in setting up overseas businesses, US, UK & Europe in order to earn much needed ‘hard currency’. There is an additional aim and that by creating such a large number of Amazon traders, Amazon will start looking at Pakistan in a different light and invest in an Amazon fulfilment centre in the country. Currently, they are in India but not Pakistan.

Enablers is dedicated to enabling Pakistan as one of the largest eCommerce hubs in the world. Our team has exclusively devoted to helping the people of this country become entrepreneurs and work on international platforms. We aim to create 2 million employmen
t opportunities

enablers.org web site

I have had this confirmed by asking a couple of account enquiries if they have come from Enablers. This, they have happily admitted in addition to saying proudly announcing they have personal mentors.

This is all well and good. Whilst I am quite sure they have been very well schooled in the online trading aspect; I can’t say that is the same for the ‘Business ‘ Training.

We have been trading for some time with major brands…is not a good look when your company has been incorporated for only two months.

We are in a position to place large orders ….is not a good look on approaching a new suppler, it is just not professional.

Having a very generic web site which show three or four unrelated brands and only twenty-five products, is, I suggest, not a good look. It has the complete opposite effect of flagging up suspicious trading.

Poorly constructed emails.

Silly addresses for registered offices eg Oxford Street London

Companies in existence for 6 weeks, no employees and there is a Sales Manager. For an Online set up?

Occasional use of Anglised names when the only employee is clearly not an Angle and the registration actually says they are not.

Bizarre company names … e.g TripleexxOnline Ltd, Mainshoppers Retail Ltd, YYY Sales Ltd (apologies to any real companies, that may have these made-up names, I’m sure you are very successful). They are just not credible.

These are just a few of the examples of either poor training or mentoring or both.

Here is another amazing little fact ….

Since the beginning of this year 728,000 new companies were registered in the UK. Yes, that is 2,200 per day. 220,000 registered to foreign nationals. It cost a grand total of £12 to register a company in the UK (Europe averages about £265).

I do not wish to denigrate a Group of Pakistani entrepreneurs wanting to train, develop, and encourage their talented youth. Yet somehow, I think the Model is over simplified and flawed. So, for those Enabler Graduates who are planning to enter the market check the Cultural nuances of the relevant markets in which you are seeking to trade. In For those suppliers who are perhaps contacted just tread carefully. I am, also not convinced that 100,000 (if that figure is achievable) new Amazon Traders in Pakistan is exactly what Amazon are looking for.