In the autumn of 2009, I attended a conference in London where at least one speaker declared the end of the high street as we know it, the certain death of all independent and small chains of retailers.But fast forward to this year’s Entrepreneurs’ Summit and the mood was very different. Up on stage were two of Britain’s best-known retailers: Dame Mary Perkins of Specsavers and Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse. Contrary to disappearing, these two businesses are positively thriving. They are not alone. The Sunday Times Rich List is peppered with retailers: Galen and George Weston of Primark; Sir Philip and Lady Green of Arcadia; Matalan’s John Hargreaves; and River Island’s Bernard Lewis. The same goes for manufacturing. It’s by no means easy out there. Over the past two years, my own company has bounced along the bottom, to put it in fairly polite terms. But this was mainly down to staff issues and the fact that my own head wasn’t in the right place. The recession was only partly to blame for our struggle. Now, with my own focus and positivity back, plus a great team and fantastic products, we have completely reversed the depression of the past two years in a matter of a few months. If this country continues to moan and indulge in double, double toil and trouble, we will indeed end up with a tragedy. Sure, it’s a tough world but enough of us up our game, stay focused and treat the customer with respect, I’m convinced we’ll succeed in reversing the economic trends.
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