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View Full Version : Is the Scout Association right to sell the Outdoor Shops?



Richard
28-10-2004, 12:48 PM
The Committee of Council has agreed to the sale of the twenty-seven retail branches of Scout Shops Ltd. (Outdoors).

The Scout Association received a very attractive offer from The Outdoor Group Ltd. (owners of Blacks and Millets) to buy our retail branches and we believe that removing the retail branches from the Scout Shops business will enable us to concentrate on our core business and customer, the Scout Movement. This will enable us in future to offer a higher level of service to our Members.

This move also reduces a financial risk for the Association. It is a fact that the outdoors retail market, on the High Street and on-line, is becoming increasingly competitive, and we have a relatively small retail presence. To stay competitive the alternative would have required a major investment into our retail business and that would have been hard to justify when Scout Shops' core service is to our Members.

We are however proud of the fact that we have developed a shop network that is successful enough to be sold on to The Outdoor Group. This is a significant achievement, and is a credit to the outstanding work of Scout Shops Ltd. staff, both in the individual shops and in Lancing.

Arrangements are being put into place to support Scouting locally, where Scouting needs are serviced by our retail branches. Scout Shops Ltd. will be directly contacting Members in those areas over the coming weeks.

We hope to keep staff redundancies to minimum, by transferring shop staff employed by Scout Shops Ltd to The Outdoor Group. We are retaining our sales and supply operation at Lancing, where we now will fully concentrate on meeting the Movement's needs.

Over the coming months we will be consulting with the Membership to look at the products and the range of services that we could deliver to provide an increasingly better service to the Movement.

We will continue to provide updates on our progress as the project is implemented.

John Asplin
Chairman, Committee of Council

Richard
28-10-2004, 12:50 PM
Frankly, I don't think its that bad an idea, it will let Scout Shops Ltd concentrate on Scouting, original idea I know.

I was more impressed with the latest Scout Catalogue that has came from Outdoors/Scout Shops. I recently used the internet ordering service from Lancing and was impressed by the speed.

Scott
28-10-2004, 01:21 PM
I dont't see why its a particularly bad thing...

Scott :)

Craig
28-10-2004, 01:34 PM
Providing we still get out Privledge card i don't mind :)

marcus
28-10-2004, 02:07 PM
In Sheffield we have a large independant Scout and Guide Shop ("SGS Outdoors" is similar in size to an Official "Outdoors") so it doesn't affect us. My concern would be that the company might do what FAS did a few years ago and phase out stocking uniform - then where would we be?

gar2k2000
28-10-2004, 02:08 PM
I purchased my uniform from beavers to scouts at our local scout shop, which had very limited opening hours and was a bit of a pain. I mail ordered my explorer shirt from outdoors and recieved it very promptly in the post. Good choice!

Richard
28-10-2004, 03:02 PM
In Sheffield we have a large independant Scout and Guide Shop ("SGS Outdoors" is similar in size to an Official "Outdoors") so it doesn't affect us. My concern would be that the company might do what FAS did a few years ago and phase out stocking uniform - then where would we be?

I think this is where we have a major problem in some areas. In my neck of the woods, we rely totally on Edinburgh Outdoors as does South East Scotland.

My reading, is that they have sold the shops and they will become blacks and millets, whether or not they will stock Scout items is completely up in the air, I doubt it.

David
28-10-2004, 03:08 PM
i dont think that it is a bad idea that the SA sell outdoors but then there is that risk of where will we get our uniform form? a shop that only open a couple hours a month???

i think that they will probably still sell uniform, i hope, if not then i guess we will have to look else where

WideMonk
28-10-2004, 05:18 PM
Im not sure how we'll be affected because other than driving 30+ miles to the one in Sheffield Marcus is refering to, ours is exactly that.. opens for 3 hours once a week, and not during the school holidays.

call me a cynic but i think the SA is gradually making it harder for leaders to operate efficiently. Namely the adult appointment process, new restrictions surrounding CRB and now this, a potential for our source of badges/books/uniforms to be relocated miles and miles away.

I can understand why a lot of adults have had enough and left because of the red tape etc

On the other hand, it could mean that our shop actually improves its opening hours etc. Like i say, i dont know how it will affect us so we'll have to wait and see.

Oh well, enough of my moan.

Daniel
28-10-2004, 08:23 PM
well i dont think i would be affected as we use a local sports shop which stocks the uniforms.

Not sure how other people would be affected

shiftypete
28-10-2004, 08:26 PM
This is a terrible idea Outdoors is one of the only places to get Uniforms, Kneckers and so on for Scouting AND be able to get equipment for activities at the same place ie one trip not two. The staff are also always really helpful and knowledgeable and many have actually been in Scouts as well. I just don't understand the logic of selling the shops unless they are making a loss which I don't believe thay are it is not as though The Scout Association needs the money.

gromaticus
29-10-2004, 07:45 AM
The word monopoly comes to mind... all the major players in the High Street owned by one company.

This will lead to redundancies, less choice, and higher prices.

As for the "it wont affect me" comments, remember "thinks of others before themselves" one of the basic ethos of scouting

phil_cole
29-10-2004, 08:54 AM
I'll admit to being one who is sitting on the fence on this issue.

If selling the shops removes a financial risk to the Association, that's probably good.
BUT, if selling the shops makes it much harder for the majority to purchase the supplies required to run their section, that's not good.
In Southampton, we had Blacks, Milletts and Outdoors all on 1 street, within about 1/8th of a mile (a dangerous street for my wallet to be seen on). The differences between each wasn't too great, but Outdoors was a little better for some 'travel' type clothing and was the only one of the 3 with the likes of catering sized pots/pans, mallets etc. The YHA shop/ Field & Trek iss also just round the corner...

If the SA/Outdoor Group give us some assurance that we will continue to be able to purchase badges, uniforms, books and other equipment easily, and preferably on the high street, I'd be happier. Until then, I'm a little worried how well Scouting is going to be supported through the Outdoor Group/Outdoors online.

Phil

Daniel
29-10-2004, 08:58 AM
I have never been to an official shop so i dont realy know how big they are, what the sell, and if they are popular, so realy i cant comment on this.

enkleboot
29-10-2004, 07:23 PM
will the mail order and internet order srvices still be available do we know?

Richard
29-10-2004, 09:26 PM
Yes absolutely, here is an email I extracted out of the Information Centre

Dear Richard,

Thank you for your email.

I will try to answer your points in turn.

1. We are only selling the 27 retail branches – other Scout Shop Ltd. activity will continue and grow. The profits from this activity will continue to be passed over to The Scout Association on the same basis.

2. No Scout Stock will be sold at the new shops.

3. The Blacks Group currently offers 10% discount to Scouters.

If you have any further Questions please contact us on 0845 300 1818.

Kind Regards
Andrew Thorp

Craig
29-10-2004, 09:33 PM
Yes, i think thats the main idea of it now, to mail or internet order everything.

Richard
29-10-2004, 09:43 PM
Yeah the problem is I sent everyone to Outdoors in Edinburgh, now where do I send them the internet, mail order, yeah that'll work

David
29-10-2004, 11:10 PM
make it harder when u would like to try stuff out before you buy it

Craig
30-10-2004, 08:53 AM
Well, yuo runi t through the group or troop... They place an order with you, you purchase it, they give you the money. That could be one possibility.

shiftypete
30-10-2004, 10:00 AM
Yeah because Leaders don't have enough to do with out becoming Uniform Suppliers as well as everything else.

Selling the shops is just a such a bad idea because at the moment The Scout Association is getting an annual income from the business and it will lose this as well as a vital service to the movement all for a one off payment that they do not NEED as the SA unlike many groups gets enough money through Membership Fees.

gromaticus
01-11-2004, 05:07 PM
So no more uniform sales after 6th Nov... thats what I was told today

We should remember that not everyone has access to internet or mail order shopping and strange as it may seem some people still like to deal in cash!


In Colchester for instance the nearest uniform suppliers will be located at Witham (10 miles), Clacton (15 miles) Chelmsford (20 Miles). The decision to sell the shops seems to have been made with very little thought being given to the consequences.



Just as a thought how much is the sale worth to the Association? By my reckoning it must be in the multi-million£ region and also what’s happening to the proceeds?

Richard
01-11-2004, 09:02 PM
So no more uniform sales after 6th Nov... thats what I was told today


Who told you that, I wasnt under the impression that things we moving as fast as that

gromaticus
02-11-2004, 07:54 AM
The staff in Colchester Outdoors yesterday afternoon

Richard
02-11-2004, 09:56 AM
Thanks for that, I have heard similar elsewhere, now I'm very annoyed that the change is happening so quickly, when we have relied on Outdoors in Edinburgh for decades, consequently there is no local Scout Shops, run by areas.

Aaaaarghhhhhhhhh

Waxy
02-11-2004, 10:59 AM
Theres always Glasgow Scout shop if you are desperate Richard

Richard
02-11-2004, 11:11 AM
Yeah, I know about that, though I really cant see parents travelling through to Glasgow to get a Cub jumper!

Waxy
02-11-2004, 12:55 PM
True :new_tomat

Richard
02-11-2004, 04:36 PM
Edinburgh Outdoors is stopping selling Scout goods from 11th November, the stocks are quite low and they are getting no more in.

To say we are irrited by the abruptness and short notice is an understatement.

Walsallwizard
03-11-2004, 12:48 PM
The selling of Outdoors has probably been made by an account; unfortunately, some accountants are only concerned with money issues.
Looking at the larger scene the Scouts will lose a public outlet but how many people know that Outdoors is involved with the SA I didn't.
If Outdoors is making a profit selling it will only bring in a short term amount and the reinvestment of that I doubt will cover the long term loss of continued financial return from Outdoors.

marcus
03-11-2004, 11:54 PM
It's railway privatisation all over again!

Richard
04-11-2004, 12:29 AM
Nah its not I seem to remember the government of the day running a consultation, as well as it being in their manifesto (I think).

What we have is the CofC making major decisions without any consultation, this sounds extremely familar.

Can the Scout leader on the ground do much about this, nope. The thing is we voted the Tories out, can we do this with the CofC....................................??????

Not a chance.

Craig
04-11-2004, 07:04 AM
I guess you people got the e-mail from Outdoors last night?

Confirming that Priviledge cards will no longer be accepted after Nov 11th, and that the stores will have no new stock after Nov 11th.

www.outdoors.ltd.uk has solely become TSA's Online Catalogue.

So its definately gone now.... Thank goodness for Strood District (not my District, District Over) Scout Shop, looks like thats where our custom is going now...

WideMonk
04-11-2004, 08:55 AM
OK, I just had a look at that site (thanks for the link Craig).
Uniforms, Neckers, woggles... fine - but where is the huge list of badges.
For instance, if I go on cub camp, theres a potential for cubs to earn at least 2 badges, maybe a 3rd for older cubs (Nights Away, Camper & Outdoor Challenge).
The activity badges, staged badges, group awards, joining in, moving on... collectively those 5 badge types for just the 3 youngest sections cover a whopping 142 badges.

Richard
04-11-2004, 10:01 AM
The theory is that you should order the badges through your Badge Secretary. Unfortunately at the moment, only the badge secretary can order packets of 25 badges, of one type, direct from Lancing as the appointed badge secretary. This means that Districts and Counties/Areas end up hold stocks of badges that are hardly used.

However, any appointed badge secretary, can sell badges to warranted leaders, so a local Scout Shop could sell you badges.

http://www.basecampglasgow.com for example is Glasgow Scout Shop, who we are going to be starting to use as you can order single badges online / or phone and get them sent to you. I must warn you I've never ordered from there, yet, but I'm going to have to.

The issue is you local badges, which you will have to get from your local badge secretary

Waxy
04-11-2004, 10:08 AM
Dare I say some of their stuff is cheaper than outdoors???

shiftypete
05-11-2004, 12:01 AM
This was obviously in the pipelines for longer than we realise as we were told by Leeds Outdoor shop about a Month ago that they had none of our Groups kneckers in and had no idea when they would be getting any. Why do ordinary Scouters get no say in a major desicion such as this surely the shops are the property of all the members of the Association and as such should not be sold without a majority of members agreeing to the sale. Just because CofC has the power to sell without such a majority doesn't mean they should use it when selling the shops affects alot of members. :mad:

gromaticus
06-11-2004, 12:14 PM
Why do ordinary Scouters get no say in a major decision such as this surely the shops are the property of all the members of the Association and as such should not be sold without a majority of members agreeing to the sale?



Maybe we should ask the CofC why?

shiftypete
09-11-2004, 08:52 PM
I emailed the info centre to express my dissapointment and dissatisfaction at the sale of the Outdoors shops and ask them the reasons behind the sale, here is the reply I recieved

We are only selling the 27 retail branches - other Scout Shop Ltd. activity ill continue and grow. The profits from this activity will continue to be passed
over to The Scout Association on the same basis.

Selling the retail branches reduces the financial risk for The Scout
Association. It is a fact that the outdoor retail market, on the High Street and bon-line, is becoming increasingly competitive and we have a relatively small retail presence. The alternative would be a major investment in our retail business that we would find hard to finance and justify to our Members.

Uniform can be obtained by any one of the following five ways:-
· Visit the Outdoors web site at www.outdoors.co.uk and buy online.
· Phone the Outdoors Sales Office on 01903 766921.
· Fill in the order form at the back of the 2005 Scout Directory and send it to
the Sales Office at Outdoors, Lancing Business Park, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 8UG.
· Visit surrounding District Scout Shops.
· Visit surrounding appointed retailers selling the Outdoors label uniform.

In the absence of the Outdoors branches there will be areas of the Country that will benefit from a new local District Scout Shop to distribute uniform and raise funds for the District. If you think your District or County will benefit from this arrangement please email [email][email protected]/email] or >write to our Sales Office.

Scout Shops Limited contributed 85% of its profits to The Scout Association in the last financial year (2003-04) this amounted to £628 737.

We are still in the final stages of negotiation with the Outdoors Group Ltd. and at the final sum, which is currently commercially confidential has still to be determined. The actual amount to be paid has not been agreed yet as it depends upon a final valuation of the stock and other assets etc. The final amount however will relate to the current market value for the assets being acquired, additionally The Outdoors Group Ltd will be taking over a number of liabilities.
The net result is a small profit in our books of some £200,000 from the sale
however against this costs of restructuring the remaining businesses will need to be allocated.

Kind Regards
Andrew Thorp

Scout Information Centre

Richard
10-11-2004, 10:07 AM
I have one Cub who needs a Cub Jumper. Now normally I'd send them in to Outdoors in Edinburgh where the'd try on the jumper and buy it for £10.

If you buy 1 jumper online it costs more due to delivery:

100675C Cub Sweatshirt 1
1013861 - - -: Size 26 1
£10.00 £10.00
Subtotal £10.00
Shipping (Excl [email protected] 17.5%) (ANC (POD)) £3.83
VAT £0.67
Total £14.50

Nearly 1.5 times the price!

This is terrific news for our Parents and Cubs, pay nearly 1.5 times the price

David
10-11-2004, 04:59 PM
i think that what u will need to do is to buy in bulk as that way ti will probably end up cheaper. then they just buy them from u.

Graham
10-11-2004, 06:15 PM
Don't we have enough other things to do without worrying about buying shirts, and then sizes and then selling tjem etc...

Mark
10-11-2004, 08:39 PM
I asked the information centre how new YP could buy uniforms. I was informed that they should either buy online or by phone. I was then informed that DCs had either been contacted or would be contacted soon with a view to setting up a District based uniform shop. This was news to my DC!

Some school uniform shops may sell Scout uniforms, I shall try to find out which ones do in my area.

Richard
11-11-2004, 09:50 AM
i think that what u will need to do is to buy in bulk as that way ti will probably end up cheaper. then they just buy them from u.

Yeah its obvious I'm going to have to do something like that, of course I dont do enough!

chrisp
11-11-2004, 10:39 AM
Looks like although the SA is closing 27 retail branches, now hundreds of mini 'outdoors' shops may well start to appear in the boots of leaders cars! :cool:

marcus
11-11-2004, 12:32 PM
Well that may be ok for Scout Groups with capital to invest in uniform, but what about Scout Networks and new Explorer Scout Units that have no money to put into buying in stock of uniform!

Mark
11-11-2004, 06:02 PM
IMHO it might work for some large Districts (i.e. those who already have a District shop) but for most it will either tie up funds in holding stock or more importantly divert an already limited adult resource to run the uniform shop.

I'll not be flogging uniforms from the back of my car!

Mark

gromaticus
11-11-2004, 08:34 PM
i think that what u will need to do is to buy in bulk as that way ti will probably end up cheaper. then they just buy them from u.
What a good idea you have got there!......... I'll just add it to the list of things to do

shiftypete
13-11-2004, 12:13 PM
:mad: The more I think about this the more annoyed I get. They just havn't thought through the consequences properly. Never mind actually consulting members who will be affected. :mad:

phil
05-01-2005, 02:13 AM
Shout about Scouting? 2007? Why have we removed a "window" on the high street, just when we are trying to increase the public awareness that Scouting still exists?
The windows that Outdoors shops had are now a lost opportunity to fully promote Scouting, as Hommer would say Doh!

Richard
05-01-2005, 09:01 AM
Shout about Scouting? 2007? Why have we removed a "window" on the high street, just when we are trying to increase the public awareness that Scouting still exists?
The windows that Outdoors shops had are now a lost opportunity to fully promote Scouting, as Hommer would say Doh!

If only they did promote Scouting, in the last few years, its as if there was a policy not to promote Scouting!

mikep
13-04-2005, 10:52 PM
I'll admit to being one who is sitting on the fence on this issue.

If selling the shops removes a financial risk to the Association, that's probably good.
BUT, if selling the shops makes it much harder for the majority to purchase the supplies required to run their section, that's not good.
In Southampton, we had Blacks, Milletts and Outdoors all on 1 street, within about 1/8th of a mile (a dangerous street for my wallet to be seen on). The differences between each wasn't too great, but Outdoors was a little better for some 'travel' type clothing and was the only one of the 3 with the likes of catering sized pots/pans, mallets etc. The YHA shop/ Field & Trek iss also just round the corner...

If the SA/Outdoor Group give us some assurance that we will continue to be able to purchase badges, uniforms, books and other equipment easily, and preferably on the high street, I'd be happier. Until then, I'm a little worried how well Scouting is going to be supported through the Outdoor Group/Outdoors online.

Phil
I must agree, sitting on the fence. Manchester had all the big players along Deansgate, including the "Outdoors." In our District the local agency opens at the district HQ every week, & at Beaver & Cub Leaders meetings. The agent is also our badge sec, & we can e mail our orders to him. I suppose it's convienient that Allan is our group secretary & will bring items to our meetings. Other groups might not be as lucky. However, a big drain on "our" money by expanding the stores isn't a good idea. As for buying uniform from local retailers, they all charge there own mark up ontop of the official price.

AaronWiles
29-05-2005, 09:50 PM
Originally Posted by phil
Shout about Scouting? 2007? Why have we removed a "window" on the high street, just when we are trying to increase the public awareness that Scouting still exists?
The windows that Outdoors shops had are now a lost opportunity to fully promote Scouting, as Hommer would say Doh!

As for the fence bit well, I've fallen off a few times thinking about the wonderful shops that "were" Outdoors (R.I.P.). I was a constant visitor to the wonderful Outdoors store in Harrow (West London), convenience... oh yes, and not just for the leaders but parents to.



The problem being now that Outdoors has been sold is it is very difficult for both leaders & more so parents to get simple things such as uniforms. I for one was not very pleased that Outdoors has been sold off, I just hope this proves to be the right decision.

David
30-05-2005, 09:58 AM
The store in Harrow, i have spent alot of time there since i was a beaver (now an explorer).