The news that one of our sectors largest employers is seeking a rescue deal in order to stay afloat is alarming. Regis UK, the firm behind hairdressing chains Regis and Supercuts, is planning a CVA (company voluntary arrangement) to restructure their costs. Lower footfall, higher pension costs, increasing rents and the apprenticeship levy have all played their part in the action the company is taking.
At present, there are no plans to close any of their 220 salons or make any of their 1300 staff redundant thankfully. But if a company like Regis is having to confront this challenging climate it hardly bodes well for the rest of us. Regis is a company with a rock-solid history and is under the superb and faultless stewardship of MD Jackie Lang (someone I’ve known and respected for many years and have been lucky enough to work with). For such an organisation to be taking such measures it illustrates just how tough our market is at the moment.
It would be really beneficial if we could confront our challenges together, but that won’t happen properly all the time we are unregulated. At a recent industry event, I witnessed the usual banter on how busy people were, how well they were doing, etc. But the real people I respect as friends in the hair and beauty business tell a different story. They acknowledge the challenges we face and we talk properly about what possible action we can take, like campaigning to decrease business rates. If we all united a bit more we’d be far more effective in turning the tide – maybe campaigning for legislation to decrease the VAT rate and copy Ireland’s system (9% on services, 23% on goods) which would benefit us enormously.
For those salon owners who are inclined to pretend all is well there are also those who are refreshingly honest and who demonstrate a much more informed understand about what’s happening to not only our sector but the British high street. How sad that we don’t have the forum to get our heads together and lobby for change…