People buy from People says Big Red’s John Reddington

“People buy from People” was the key message to independents from Big Red Sales director John Reddington at last week’s Retra Conference in Newcastle.

John – a previously unbilled speaker – stepped in at the eleventh hour when marketing consultant Richard Hammond was unable to attend due to illness. Referring to an earlier presentation from Gfk”s Nigel Catlow about an increase in online sales John told a packed audience: “Despite some of the retail statistics that have been presented to us I still believe that a big percentage of the retail spend is handled by the silver surfers, and I still believe that those people prefer to shop where they have an experience and an involvement rather than just tapping on a keyboard.”

And to illustrate his point he referred to a previous long past national retail conference where the then CEO of Dixon’s had told delegates he was going to close down Dixon’s high street stores as they weren’t profitable compared to Internet retailing. Immediately after Charles Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis told the conference his organisation’s philosophy was to open more stores adding, “We believe in people selling to people”. John continued: “So Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s fast forward to 2012. John Lewis’ retail growth and statistics are the shining light in the multiple electrical outlets retail whereas the other multiples are all having a torrid time.”