Business Insights Chat with William Coe, of Coes department stores

In this week’s Business Insight Chat, Ian Fitch talks to William Coe, managing director of Coes, an independent company of department stores, who have been trading since 1928!

This chat offers an incredible insight into how a prominent local business has learnt, and continued to grow during a tough time for retail, and is not to be missed.

William speaks openly about a variety of issues that the business has had to deal with during lockdown, stating that the first lockdown “Couldn’t have been worse timing for clothing businesses”

He speaks candidly about the initial worry over suppliers not trading; how being told they had to cease trading might impact them paying their suppliers; the potential decrease in demand for some of their top products; planning ahead for trends and events (such as weddings) that may never happen; the frustration over how some businesses suddenly popped up as ‘essential traders’; the rollover of stock, and much more.

William also discusses the acceleration that COVID has had on how shop-based retail is adapting to technology and habits, and what this means for the future of the high-street. He offers fascinating insights into what he thinks businesses, councils and the government need to do in order to preserve the high street, including a focus on business rates and VAT; and what can be done to invest in Ipswich in particular.

He also reflects on the positives of the last 12 months, and how he has learnt to ‘fail quickly and learn fast’, and how his team have shown great resilience. He discusses how they improved their online offering, transferring what customers experience in store, online; and how they plan to keep their stores and website working together, and not in competition, post-COVID.

You can listen to Business Insights Chat on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. Subscribe now to make sure you don’t miss out on the next episode with Mark Ferguson from Castle Colour Packaging.

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