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Monday, 29 July 2013

Thanks Mr O'Neill, but it's never been so good since Walker was elected

The JEP has made quite a feature of the thoughts of Mr Tony O'Neill the MD of Sandpiper and his belief that the high street will be 25% empty in the next five years, but I mean, really?

Yes I know Jersey people love to avoid placing the blame squarely on the main culprits when these problems arise, the very same people they look to for solutions, have you guessed who it is yet? The States of Jersey.

Regaled on a regular basis by tales of Jersey in the 1980's a time when the shops opened from 9am to 9pm throughout the Summer, when it was nigh on impossible to walk down King Street during the day and when turnover in a day was enough to buy a house.

So what happened? The answer is simple Frank Walker listened to his Civil Servants.

Tax has risen from 20% income tax with very generous allowances and 5% social security with next to no Impots and user pays charges were non-existent. Today tax will shortly be 21% with most allowances phased out and no inflation linking for thresholds, social security is 6.5%, GST is 5% (and due to be increased the year after the next election), landing fees, Impots which have been relentlessly increased at more than inflation, virtually every time you are forced to use the government's 'services' there is an additional charge. The regulatory burden is now immense, regulations and undertakings, ITIS, employment laws. The taxes have taken money straight from people's disposable incomes, relentlessly forced up prices and made business a risky and unprofitable venture.

Internet shopping is not the way of the future. Back in the 1980's there were hundreds of mail order catalogues there is very little real difference between these and Ebay/Amazon or any internet site. It quite simply is NOT a better way to shop or shops would have closed when the mail order catalogues were at their height.

The Tourism industry was destroyed by the government; they changed the licensing requirements in too short a space of time to allow hotel operators to adjust to the new standards forcing them to convert to lodging houses or sell out to built accommodation. 2 million people each year would come on holiday spending a year's worth of savings on their two weeks; numbers were still high until the government interfered.

The most amusing thing is that the JEP has a centre page spread telling people to shop online, but then who is going to advertise in the JEP if there are no local businesses to advertise? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Now I do agree with Mr O'Neill that UK chains will not be in Jersey, oh well, what a pity, never mind, good riddance to bad rubbish. Mr O'Neill is not a retailer he is a company MD who would probably not be able to work the floor in one of his own enterprises preferring to sit in a office generating his income off the backs of his slaves (or employees if you prefer).

A proper retailer deals directly with his customers. As long as you are willing to do the work yourself there is a living to be made. Jersey businesses simply need to change their focus, forget selling in Jersey, concentrate on the internet - sell your goods at lower prices in store (and there is no reason why local customers should have to pay the same price as is on Ebay, after all you do not need to post it or pay Ebay fees) and local trade is an additional string to your bow rather than your main focus.

The crunch is coming an awful lot of internet retailers are late paying bills as prices are driven down by all the recent bankruptcies, survive the next couple of years and prices will be higher online than they are in store as business models shift or are put out of business.

Now if the government would stop trying to blame anyone and everyone but themselves for the complete idiocy that they have caused over the past 33 years then we may get something sorted, but I gave up long ago looking to government to solve my problems, I am an adult, I will sort it out all by myself.