I confess to being a long-term fan of Richer Sounds. It all started in 1988 when my business partner Clive Grant and I came across them compiling our second edition (we’d missed them in the first) of The Retail Rankings.
A benchmarking research tool we brought to the market was sales densities - no one else covered them then and they gave us a key point of difference analysing the Top 500.
We calculated Richer Sounds’ figure and could not believe our eyes: For 1987/88 we recorded £2,613 per sq ft - double our previous highest.
Naturally it featured prominently in our press release, Julian Richer picking up on the resulting publicity.
It turned out he cherished an ambition to be in the Guinness Book of Records, so our figure gave him the opportunity - and it worked. Julian gave us one of the plaques he had made. It said ‘Richer Sounds - judged to be Britain’s Busiest Retailer… for achieving the highest sales per sq ft of any retailer…’
Julian became a sought-after retail guru, consulting for some of the nation’s largest retailers on staff motivation. Giving top achieving shop managers the use of his Roller was one ploy. Richer Sounds has had its ups and downs since, of course, but crucially, like all good retailers, has evolved: from hi-fi separates into home cinema, then flatscreen TVs - and picking up Empire Direct’s pieces.
Retail Week Knowledge Bank has just updated its profile of Richer Sounds. For the record, we have arrived at a latest sales density of about £4,900 per sq ft, excluding an allowance for online sales.
Come to think of it, Julian, how about telling us your actual proportion of online turnover, so we could be more precise?