Right, How Do I Close My Shop?

(108 Posts)

I think I've pretty much decided that I will close when the lease is up in October.

I've got a total of £20k debt (in loan and credit card) to pay off, as well as bills and invoices until I close.

How do I make sure that all this wonderful stock that no one wants to buy goes before my deadline of 24th October?
How do I close?
How do I close all my accounts? (and yes, I'm pretty sure that I'll have to pay get out fees for phone line and utilities)

I feel fucking gutted.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 31-May-13 15:09:30

Sorry to hear this...

I second MrsKwazii's suggestion. Our local mag featured a local electrics shop that was due to close due to lack of support. It has managed to keep open thanks to the publicity.

Approach some of the new free schools, they might not have their books sorted out? Although I guess being free they might not use the normal range.

Could you do 'Suspended Books' like the coffee (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/24/suspended-coffee-caffeine-based-acts-of-kindness-_n_3145306.html) and people buy a book for themselves and then another for a local charity that can get the books out to those in need. You get paid for both and 2 books go. A campaign on social media might get the message out?

Fingers crossed something works to at least help you shift the stock/debt.

BigStickBIWI Fri 31-May-13 15:10:49

Could you get DH to leaflet everyone on his rounds? (Probably illegal ... grin) telling them that unless the shop gets more local support it will have to shut.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 31-May-13 15:10:58

With link, arrhh

Sorry to hear this...

I second MrsKwazii's suggestion. Our local mag featured a local electrics shop that was due to close due to lack of support. It has managed to keep open thanks to the publicity.

Approach some of the new free schools, they might not have their books sorted out? Although I guess being free they might not use the normal range.

Could you do 'Suspended Books' like the coffee www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/24/suspended-coffee-caffeine-based-acts-of-kindness-_n_3145306.html and people buy a book for themselves and then another for a local charity that can get the books out to those in need. You get paid for both and 2 books go. A campaign on social media might get the message out?

Fingers crossed something works to at least help you shift the stock/debt.

musickeepsmesane Fri 31-May-13 15:22:04

I closed my shop when we moved, couldn't afford the rent in the new town.

You need to do a stocktake. Is your stock worth £20k (at cost)? What is the biggest sale you can have? Can you make enough to cover your costs if you need to go to 50% off? If locals know you are going to close they will wait til the week before and swoop like vultures. You will make a shedload of money that final week.

I got rid of most ignoring boxes in loft for 5 years and then I went round other shops with remaining stock and sold it to them for cost.

Good luck, I still miss my shop. I am flirting with the idea of doing something in my front room - once you have had your own wee shop it kind of stays with you. flowers

PinkPepper Fri 31-May-13 15:23:42

I have no advice at all but I wanted to say I'm sorry to hear this. I often enjoyed reading about your shop.

MrsKwazii Fri 31-May-13 16:00:54

When my sister was a make-up rep she would take a stall to the local council offices at lunchtime and sell to the staff in the canteen area. She had to give 10% of her takings to the Chairman's Charity but did quite well out of it.

Or stalls at local summer fetes? Depends how much they'd cost though I suppose, and if you had cover for the shop too.

MrsKwazii Fri 31-May-13 16:07:45

Or a voucher deal with the local paper - buy one book and get another half price? Or a deal with the local NCT that they promote to members?

Want2bSupermum Fri 31-May-13 16:18:35

Couple of things to consider:

1 - Can you sublease your space or speak to your landlord about ending the lease early - ie June 30th - 15th would be better. I do this on a regular basis. Once you tell the landlord you are looking at claiming bankruptcy as there are no assets to repay creditors they will start being a little more flexible.

2 - Inventory - Assume it is all books from the posts. Do an item by item count of what you have. Put it in a spreadsheet so you have it in detail - Author, title, cost and quantity. List on Amazon, Ebay and also see if you can set up at schools. Now you know your cost, get quotes for a consolidator to buy your stock. Send them the excel spreadsheet (without your cost prices of course!) and try to neigotiate with their offer. Expect them to offer you 50% of your cost but aim for 75-80%.

3 - Start applying for jobs now. You need a job to tide you over and provide income to repay your debts. Speak to your creditors and see if they can lower your interest rate on the debt. Job wise - this is a short term gap to provide income while you figure out what your next step is.

Don't beat yourself up. You tried something that very few people try to do and the vast majority of people who go into business see at least one of their babies pass. I work in the reorg business and have seen a business die and the owner go on to be successful in another business they have started or career they have gone into. Don't wallow in your own self pity. It doesn't accomplish anything. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn from the experience.

BigStickBIWI Fri 31-May-13 16:47:00

Aww. She's allowed to be sad, Want2bSupermum!

"Could you get DH to leaflet everyone on his rounds? " done done done (he's only got 400 rounds, and other posties have also helped, but they're allowed to help if they choose to and not to take the piss - which means that Christmas catalogues is more than enough)

"Approach some of the new free schools, they might not have their books sorted out? " - have done that - I do a mailing out to all the schools every term or so (fed up of them ignoring them quite frankly)
All the new free schools in this area are academies made out of existing schools. There is a company (one-man band) that supplies secondary schools and I've teamed up with her (because it's cheaper for her to buy books from me from my supplier than it is for her to buy the books directly) in the last few months. I might keep doing that with her when she closes. (it won't be a "wage" though)

I'll look at your suspended books thing

music My stock is worth is worth about £40k at cost. I will still have the overheads to pay until I close as well as selling the stock. can't afford to do less than 30% discount really (probably even 25% is maximum) in order to pay for everything that needs to be covered.

MrsK - school fetes are a waste of time round here - they give me a stall, right next to a second hand book stall selling books at 10p each! then they wonder why I don't get more sales on the day! hmm
even when there's not another bookstall, parents send their kids in with a couple of quid, they don't want to pay shop price for a book (for favoured schools, I will put special prices on, but that makes the books so close to Cost that there's absolutely no benefit in doing it)
and yeap, no cover for the shop!

SuperMum - can't sublease space, not allowed in contract. no point ending the lease early, I need time to sell the stock (and there are a couple of events in the summer coming up) besides which, I don't actually want to close, so closing early would just be too much to handle, emotionally.
Inventory changes every day, so would be a total waste of time. I have a database (an Epos system) so I know everything that comes in and everything that goes out - I don't need a spreadsheet.
I don't want a job - I've got a 17mo that I want to be with. If I got a job, I'd just be paying out for child care.
I want to be upset. I have put my entire life-savings into this shop (not to mention every ounce of passion and love that I have)

done NCT stuff, do an ongoing buy-one-get-one-free.

I don't want tips on how to save my shop, i just wanted to know what kind of sale prices i should do, when i should start my sale, how the hell i'm going to repair that roof and paint the rain-stained walls and ceiling hmm

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 14:05:25

Could you barter with a local tradesman or two? Some of your books in exchange for some work from them?

Oh I'm so sorry to hear this, Dh came in some time ago with DS who managed to rearrange your books, he thought you had a lovely independent shop, we'll all be so sorry when we have no independent retailers left.

them work for me you mean?
there's an idea...

thank you Dreams smile

MrsKwazii Sat 01-Jun-13 19:53:16

Just wanted to say again that I'm so sorry you're at this stage. It must be gutting ((()))

musickeepsmesane Sun 02-Jun-13 13:45:48

That is a lot of stock. Sounds like you will manage to at least break even. Are you able to put larger discount on the games? If memory serves there is not a lot of profit margin in books. How long have you been open? Can you sell the entire business as ongoing? I am making the assumption that you don't make enough to take profit/wage? I am also assuming that you will probably lose some of your initial investment? If not, it sounds like the business will become viable eventually. Is there a possibility that you could advertise the business for sale? That is what I did, never sold the business but sold the lease. Then I started with small discount sale in my final month, worked up to the big closing down 50% off. You will need to figure out a strategy for your sale. You will figure out the best the way to do that.

I am sorry you are closing, I love independent bookshops. How about an evening with friends, wine, coffee and paintbrushes to get rid of the waterstains?

Abra1d Sun 02-Jun-13 13:52:25

How about doing a kind of pop-up bookshop? So set up at different places at certain times of the year: summer holidays, Christmas, etc. Or would that be difficult because you'd have to keep hold of the stock?

I feel for you, I really do. And it f.cks me off when people use bookshops as a shopfront and scan in barcodes to get the books more cheaply from Amazon. Seriously unclassy behaviour.

Sorry you are in this position. Have you talked to the wholesalers to see if you can negotiate more than your 5% returns allowance? Maybe Have a chat directly with your rep. If you explain that you are closing and are in debt they may also take back the unpaid for stock from them rather than risk not being paid for it. Also approach the BA for advice (if you are a member) I'd start a sale at 20% off to get things moving, and get your returns sent back asap. Personally I'd try to clear everything even if that means making a loss on it rather than have masses of stock sitting round in boxes for years, but that depends on how proactive you would be at shifting it in the future. I know I'd box it up and never get round to doing anything with it.

the margin (with books, it's worked out as discount on RRP), is approx 40% (so a £5 book would have cost me £3)

With the toys and games it's closer to 50% (but that's not including VAT) - I'm VAT registered, so in theory I should be able to get money back on that.

Yup, no wage at all.
I will have been open 5 years in November.
I made a profit in the 3rd year, but then the budget that killed all of the chains had just been announced, and after that I was just throwing money away. I made a £6k loss last year. (after a £3k loss the previous year)
Problem was that the £3k loss year, I had put quite a bit of money into stock, so if I'd not had such bad sales that year (they dropped by over a quarter), then it would have been okay. And I don't know why, but last year, they didn't pick up, and although I starting spending a lot less than the previous year, it all just caught up with me.
and yes, all of my original capital has gone.

I am getting in touch with my reps today to cancel all New Title Orders.
But I'm going to keep my accounts open from my suppliers, because I will try to do those book sales in playgroups etc( like usborne at home) - yes, Abraid - a pop-up shop might be a good idea - they do little stalls in our local shopping centre.
I don't mind if I have stock left over at the end - it's all children's, so it will be good for DD's book collection as she grows wink
I just need to take enough in those closing down months to pay the debts and any outstanding bills.

it's about 6000 titles.
(it does include the toys)

"How about an evening with friends, wine, coffee and paintbrushes to get rid of the waterstains?"
good idea smile

annoyingly, I've got about 3 events coming up this summer where I'll be selling books (one of which is not children's books, so I'll be using a large part of my July-Sep returns allowance on that, if it's not successful)

Poledra Mon 03-Jun-13 13:01:39

Noooooooooo! Nickel, I'm so sorry it's come to this. No useful advice, just some sympathy for you sad

thanks sad

I knew it would have to, I just hoped it wouldn't.

it just wasn't enough sad

I've set the closing date as 12th October, but I'm going to keep open as mail order.

happyAvocado Mon 03-Jun-13 14:00:23

I feel sorry for you having to close your bookshop.
Would it be impossible to create an online bookshop with the stock you have?

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