Businesses on edge of ruin from wet summer

  • Retailers are reeling from the effects of this summer’s wet weather.

    Many have taken large hits due to widespread cancellations of shows, events and country fairs.

    More than 70 days of competition have been lost from the British Eventing calendar – including prime selling shows Badminton, Chatsworth and Gatcombe.

    Last week, the CLA Game Fair (20-22 July) was cancelled.

    And the abandonment of the Great Yorkshire Show after day one (10-12 July) also came as a blow to more than 900 retailers, expecting to benefit from the 130,000-strong crowd.

    David Kempsell from First Thought Equine, which manufactures WOW Saddles, told H&H it was the worst year he’d known for business.

    “We usually get 500 new leads from Badminton, so that being off had a huge impact,” he said. “We’re now having to go abroad and look for more retailers and shows there.”

    Gabriella Shaw said her ceramics company has “lost a fortune” due to the weather.

    “It’s horrible – we made stuff specially for the shows and then they were cancelled, so we’re left with all the stock,” she said.

    “And it’s all the incidental costs – travel, staff, hotels. The Diamond Jubilee really saved our bacon. I think we would have gone under otherwise.”

    Julia Andrews from Kate Negus Saddlery has lost out on three events this year and said it’s also affecting her supplier.

    “As I buy all my stock from the UK, I have managed to control the situation, but this has a knock-on effect to my supplier, as I have obviously not been placing my usual orders,” she said.

    And Julia Hornig from Classic Dressage estimates her company has lost “an entire month of turnover”.

    Rosalie Eustace from Timothy Foxx clothing was at the Great Yorkshire Show before it was abandoned.

    “The so we have made a loss, taking into consideration the travel costs etc,” she said.

    “However, as we are also an online retailer, we seem to be making up some of the lost sales through internet orders post-events, which is encouraging.”

    EquestrianClearance.com is also reporting good sales.

    “We have found that many people who may have bought clothing and horsewear on the show circuit have turned to us [online] with events being cancelled,” said director Lorraine Meadowcroft.

    Outerwear and waterproofs have certainly been big sellers and, while some businesses have faced very difficult weeks, we have been very busy and have even had to increase our staffing numbers.”

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (19 July 2012)

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