A photo of the editor, Alistair Forrest

Here to help

It can be tough keeping a positive attitude in health food retailing.

Costs have increased everywhere in your business yet you still have the same percentage profit margin you had 30 years ago.

A margin that doesn’t change when the minimum wage goes up and staff across the board expect their salary to increase proportionately. Or when you join the online and social media bandwagon and discover the additional costs of staff and software.

Add in pension costs, increased NI contributions and Health & Safety expectations.

Then advances in cashless payments, intelligent tills and retail technology come along and demand your money like the latest toy your children expect at Christmas.

All this, and you’re expected to compete against Click & Collect and express home delivery while your customers want to shop at night and on weekends and bank holidays.

But the health store owner/manager is nothing if not resilient, and here at Better Retailing Magazine we’ll do everything we can to help you triumph in (apparent) adversity. Health food retailing has long shed its brown rice and muesli image and vegan, plant-based and free-from diets are now mainstream.

Don’t see this as increased competition from supermarkets and online cowboys, but instead take the opportunity to innovate in tandem with your suppliers, emphasising local and ethical values, and hang your hat on the peg of unrivalled training, knowledge and expertise.

Beat them, but don’t join them – slashing prices or increasing RRP may look tempting but it’s a slow death. We’re more than survivors, we’re innovators.

Alistair Forrest

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