From Anthony Le Poidevin.
I HAVE complete sympathy with the Island retailers, that they feel badly let down by Jersey Post and Economic Development.
I am at a loss to know what is going on here. A few weeks ago we were being entreated to buy local, and banners and posters appeared to remind us. Now Senator Maclean, the Economic Development Minister, who was responsible for that campaign, seems to have changed his mind.
Jersey Post, owned by the States, seem to have his enthusiastic support to flood the Island with catalogues from the likes of Argos to encourage the population to shop on-line in the UK.
Senator Maclean says that local retailers will have to rise to the challenge and make their prices competitive. What rubbish. The playing field just isn’t level. Local shops are not in
general able to buy in bulk. In most cases they have to pay rent, they have to pay Social Security, GST, rates and other overheads.
On-line retailers have fewer overheads and, through buying in quantity, they are able to negotiate generous discounts from their suppliers, thus in turn cutting their retail price.
Although Senator Maclean obviously has little experience of competition and the market place, he must not be surprised if Jersey shops are forced to close, shop assistants become a burden on Social Security, and GST and tax revenue from retailing is reduced.
When Jersey Post delivers my Argos catalogue I shall put it straight into my nearest post box that they might return it whence it came. Perhaps others might wish to do the same?