In the news today, a survey (admittedly, of only 8,000-ish people) lists WHSmith as the worst retailer, for the second year running.
Which doesn’t surprise me – to be honest, the only thing that ever surprises me about WHSmith is that they continue to keep trading. They’ve been in my retail dead pool for about a decade now, and they keep stumbling on.
Personally, I rarely (if ever) darken the doors of a WHSmith. They simply don’t do what I want to buy, there are plenty of places that are cheaper/better, and (to me) most of the stores look dull and dirty. I’m not saying they are dull and dirty, but they look it – again, to me.
The most recent example of this was a couple of weekends ago, I was in a place I’d not been before, and they had a big WHSmith store. But from the outside, the lighting inside was so dull that it looked as though the store wasn’t actually open. Just grim.
The thing that interested me in the story was this :
Every week we serve three million customers in our 600 UK High Street stores
That doesn’t seem like a very big figure, to be honest. So I worked it out.
3,000,000 divided between 600 stores is 5,000 customers per store. Per week. Which isn’t much.
And then you average it out over the seven days of the week – I’ll round it up to the nearest whole, as .25 of a person is ridiculous – and you get 715 people per store per day. Which really isn’t a lot. I can’t see how those numbers all the stores to break even, let alone make a profit.
I truly don’t understand how they stay in business