Saturday 20 January 2018

I'm barely making a living from my shop business

Feaergal Quinn
Feaergal Quinn

Q: I run a small grocery shop with sales of approximately €3000 per week. We are not making a profit and barely taking a salary. I am looking for some direction.

A: While I am not entirely clear from your email of the demographics of the area, etc, I can only conclude from the level of sales that you have that you are not in a mainstream area and that business has dwindled over the last number of years.

This is not uncommon for small independent grocery shops since the recession started.

I am normally quite upbeat and try to encourage any retailer to grow their sales and there are lots of things that I could suggest which might be appropriate to help with this process. However, your sales are so low that the best advice I can give you is probably to say that I am not entirely sure that your business is viable, or ever will be.

I know that sounds very strong, but in my experience when sales fall to a level this low, it is usually an indicator that they are irreversible and even if you doubled the levels of sales it would probably still be difficult to make a decent living out of it.

A lot will depend on your own personal circumstances and if you enjoy what you are doing and if you can survive without taking any substantial salary from the business, then as a lifestyle business it is probably okay to continue trading. You do have to consider your standard of life and my experience of independent grocery shops is that you are open from dawn to dusk every day, seven days a week. You also have to take this into account.

It may also be worth considering what other uses could be made from the building, eg could it be rented out to a service business like a beautician or hairdresser or could it even be rented out as office space to some local business. It will be very much a personal decision but based on the information you have sent me, regrettably I would suggest that you need to consider closure as a realistic option.

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