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Thread: Scout shops land grab

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Scout shops land grab

    I saw somewhere that scout shops are closing all trade accounts to commercial businesses, so no more scout uniform from your local school uniform supplier or camping shop or whatever. Justification being the increase in internet shopping amongst other things. Though surely if the shop is not making any sales because it's all online these days they would just stop selling it? I suspect a fair few of them have (had) a soft spot for scouting and did it because they always have and it feels "right". Not all for sure, but a fair percentage. So why is scout shops forcing their hand? Oh, because it forces people to use central scout shop rather than a local retailer, scout shop gets full retail price for an item rather than a trade price. *ka-ching*

    Then within days I get an email offering me 25% off *everything* at scout shops with a code, for a MONTH, including badges (not just the fun ones, all the proper ones too). I'm sure that's really motivational to our local scout shop manager and the badge secretary and the hardworking SASU volunteers that their supplier is undercutting them. This time it's less money for local scouting, and again, more money for HQ.

    Yes, I know, your local scout shop only opens 2 hours a week on a Tuesday lunchtime and it's thirty miles away and blah blah blah. That's not my point though. For those that do have a local scout shop that has premises and 1000s of stock (that they get lumbered with when logos change) and put 1000s into local districts...it seems a bit...not very friendly.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    I saw somewhere that scout shops are closing all trade accounts to commercial businesses, so no more scout uniform from your local school uniform supplier or camping shop or whatever. Justification being the increase in internet shopping amongst other things. Though surely if the shop is not making any sales because it's all online these days they would just stop selling it? I suspect a fair few of them have (had) a soft spot for scouting and did it because they always have and it feels "right". Not all for sure, but a fair percentage. So why is scout shops forcing their hand? Oh, because it forces people to use central scout shop rather than a local retailer, scout shop gets full retail price for an item rather than a trade price. *ka-ching*

    Then within days I get an email offering me 25% off *everything* at scout shops with a code, for a MONTH, including badges (not just the fun ones, all the proper ones too). I'm sure that's really motivational to our local scout shop manager and the badge secretary and the hardworking SASU volunteers that their supplier is undercutting them. This time it's less money for local scouting, and again, more money for HQ.

    Yes, I know, your local scout shop only opens 2 hours a week on a Tuesday lunchtime and it's thirty miles away and blah blah blah. That's not my point though. For those that do have a local scout shop that has premises and 1000s of stock (that they get lumbered with when logos change) and put 1000s into local districts...it seems a bit...not very friendly.
    Let not forget the harm that this will do to those businesses (often small local businesses). They have stock. Over time that stock will diminish to a point where its not worth them trying to sell it instore because they wont have all the sizes etc available. But they'll still be left with a range of odd sized items which they'll end up having to sell cheaply on ebay to get rid of.

    Scoutshops have always been a nightmare. They refuse trade accounts to groups (however large that group may be) for a start - so it was ok for the small independant school uniform supplier in the village to make a profit by selling uniforms, but not the scout group. As a trading arm of TSA it's priority has always been to raise money for TSA, but that doesnt mean they couldnt have helped groups and districts where possible.

    They also heavily inflated the price of their items. As a group we could buy small batch orders of group clothing, have them embroidered with members names, mark up a profit on it, and still sell them to our members cheaper than TSA seem able to sell mass produced non-personalised stuff. We actively discouraged our members from buying "iscout" clothing or the sectional polos and encouraged group clothing when full uniform wasnt necessary (e.g. during activities / on camp). Indeed our supplier sold quite a good range of technical outdoor gear which our explorers loved to get their parents to buy (group branded) for presents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    Scoutshops have always been a nightmare. They refuse trade accounts to groups (however large that group may be) for a start - so it was ok for the small independant school uniform supplier in the village to make a profit by selling uniforms, but not the scout group. As a trading arm of TSA it's priority has always been to raise money for TSA, but that doesnt mean they couldnt have helped groups and districts where possible.
    To be fair, I could see that getting out of hand, when a big group falls out with district so goes direct and cuts out the district scout shop, or other groups go to the big group to get stuff, and so the big group is profiting from the smaller groups. Bound to cause local politics. And where would they stop? 640 Districts v 7000+ groups.

    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    They also heavily inflated the price of their items. As a group we could buy small batch orders of group clothing, have them embroidered with members names, mark up a profit on it, and still sell them to our members cheaper than TSA seem able to sell mass produced non-personalised stuff. We actively discouraged our members from buying "iscout" clothing or the sectional polos and encouraged group clothing when full uniform wasnt necessary (e.g. during activities / on camp). Indeed our supplier sold quite a good range of technical outdoor gear which our explorers loved to get their parents to buy (group branded) for presents.
    They seem to be on a bit of a DFS model at the moment, there's always a sale on. There's always new lines, it's like fleece a few punters at full price, wait a few months, then put in on sale to shift the rest of it for a smaller profit and make room for more stuff.

    What I want to know is where are they putting it all? Their range has grown like topsy recently. It's huge.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2018 - May 2019
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    To be fair, I could see that getting out of hand, when a big group falls out with district so goes direct and cuts out the district scout shop, or other groups go to the big group to get stuff, and so the big group is profiting from the smaller groups. Bound to cause local politics. And where would they stop? 640 Districts v 7000+ groups.
    Ok - i sort of get that - although its a free market. Not many districts around us had district scout shops, but most districts had at least one large group that would have liked to have run a shop.

    In at least one case I know of, one of the large groups asked the DC for permission to run a shop on behalf of the district (ie ordering in the district's name), on the basis that 20% of the profits went to district, with the remainder going to the group (who were of course going to take all the risk and do all the work). The DC said no.

    In the end that group negotiated a deal where they could buy the uniform at a reduced rate from a nearby school uniform shop. Parents could buy their uniforms through the group, but rather than the group taking the whole markup the markup was split between them and the school uniform shop. Once again, scouting missed out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    I saw somewhere that scout shops are closing all trade accounts to commercial businesses, so no more scout uniform from your local school uniform supplier or camping shop or whatever. Justification being the increase in internet shopping amongst other things. Though surely if the shop is not making any sales because it's all online these days they would just stop selling it? I suspect a fair few of them have (had) a soft spot for scouting and did it because they always have and it feels "right". Not all for sure, but a fair percentage. So why is scout shops forcing their hand? Oh, because it forces people to use central scout shop rather than a local retailer, scout shop gets full retail price for an item rather than a trade price. *ka-ching*

    Then within days I get an email offering me 25% off *everything* at scout shops with a code, for a MONTH, including badges (not just the fun ones, all the proper ones too). I'm sure that's really motivational to our local scout shop manager and the badge secretary and the hardworking SASU volunteers that their supplier is undercutting them. This time it's less money for local scouting, and again, more money for HQ.

    Yes, I know, your local scout shop only opens 2 hours a week on a Tuesday lunchtime and it's thirty miles away and blah blah blah. That's not my point though. For those that do have a local scout shop that has premises and 1000s of stock (that they get lumbered with when logos change) and put 1000s into local districts...it seems a bit...not very friendly.

    Can't say that I have heard this but I wonder how many commercial businesses do sell Scout Association / Scout Shops stuff.

    Just that places I have seen it sold along side school uniform it tends to be the licenced stuff (David Luke etc) so unless they stop licensing stuff too then I can't see a difference here.

    Even then what if everyone just buys a shirt of the same colour as the licence covers the use of emblems etc.

    I do agree though re stock and badges that are dropped without much if any warning.

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    IF it helps, the official scarf/ necker supplier has always been Warrens. I have no reason to think it is anybody else now so you can save a fortune by going direct to them. NB, send them your scarf. necker in the post on your first order to match the colours. https://www.mwarrens.co.uk/necker-picker

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveb123 View Post
    Just that places I have seen it sold along side school uniform it tends to be the licenced stuff (David Luke etc) so unless they stop licensing stuff too then I can't see a difference here.
    If memory serves they already removed licensing over a year ago (I am 99% certain at least David Luke is no longer allowed to produce Scout Uniforms)

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    As a leader I've only ever bought my uniform online, partly because although we have an independent outdoor shop in the city centre that stocks official uniforms, I work elsewhere and rarely head that way when its open. However I'm a fairly consistent size and can therefore order reasonably reliably online.

    Where I think they are missing a trick if this goes through is that the sizing for youth uniforms doesn't correspond with what parents are used to. The parent of an 8 year old Cub will be used to buying all his/her clothes in age sizes - they'll know that their child is on the small size so needs a 6-7 or has a prop forward for a parent so needs a 9-10. In their wisdom Scout shops sell on absolute measurements and then imperial ones at that! So the parent now has to work out what size in inches their child measures at and order that. OK not the biggest deal but its not that helpful and when faced with those sorts of queries we'd send them in town to try them on and get them there (as they wouldn't be any more expensive). I can see I'm going to have to gradually collect a range of sizes of old uniform tops for kids to try on so their parents know what size to order.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    IF it helps, the official scarf/ necker supplier has always been Warrens. I have no reason to think it is anybody else now so you can save a fortune by going direct to them. NB, send them your scarf. necker in the post on your first order to match the colours. https://www.mwarrens.co.uk/necker-picker
    You can probably save even more by going to one of the other necker suppliers out there. We never bought neckers from Scoutshops - think we used onestopscouting or MBC.

    Likewise group nametapes - there's various suppliers online - often cheaper than Cashs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    You can probably save even more by going to one of the other necker suppliers out there. We never bought neckers from Scoutshops - think we used onestopscouting or MBC.

    Likewise group nametapes - there's various suppliers online - often cheaper than Cashs.
    i shopped around in 2008 with samples and the quality of other suppliers wasn't up to snuff (onestopscouting were particularly awful at the time was my abiding memory) or as near as dammit the same price. 12 years later, things might have changed but my new groups's onestopscouting scarves are nowhere near as nice as my old group's warrens ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    Likewise group nametapes - there's various suppliers online - often cheaper than Cashs.
    Wait! What? There are other nametape companies than Cash's? [confused]
    Ian Wilkins
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    i shopped around in 2008 with samples and the quality of other suppliers wasn't up to snuff (onestopscouting were particularly awful at the time was my abiding memory) or as near as dammit the same price. 12 years later, things might have changed but my new groups's onestopscouting scarves are nowhere near as nice as my old group's warrens ones.
    Now you mention it i vaguely recall having issues with onestop - I think our neckers must have come from MBC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    You can probably save even more by going to one of the other necker suppliers out there
    Save yourself the effort and go to Warrens, they're great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    If memory serves they already removed licensing over a year ago (I am 99% certain at least David Luke is no longer allowed to produce Scout Uniforms)
    Well if things get too stupid with HQ all we need to remember is that members are ENTITLED to wear uniform so I guess that each group or section could decide what their uniform if any was the order of the day.

    So no national 'enforced' uniform but a local decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    If memory serves they already removed licensing over a year ago (I am 99% certain at least David Luke is no longer allowed to produce Scout Uniforms)
    Looks like you are correct as they now only do school and Guide stuff.

    Not sure if there were other companies but I guess they went the same way if there were.

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