The Irish shopper has been exposed to a plethora of new retailing brands over the past decade, or so. Some of these, such as Lidl and Aldi has been sufficiently successful that embedded rivals were forced to aggressively adapt their offering.
One facet of the shopping experience that the Irish consumer will not tolerate is that of being price gouged. Last Thursday, I visited the recently opened single outlet of Howards Storage World at Carrickmines, Dublin and purchased a 35L storage box with wheels for €15.25. This afternoon, when I visited Dunnes Stores at Cornelscourt. I noticed a 36L version of this box for €8, so I have been gouged €7.25. The promoters of Howards Storage World need to realise that Irish consumers will respond with vigour if they believe that they have been unfairly ripped off in their stores. A €7 price gouge has a cost in terms of collateral reputational consequences and goodwill.
This business has Australian origins and apparently operates on a franchise basis. Apart from Ireland and Australia, there are outlets in the Middle East, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg.
The Dublin branch I visited is in a newly developed complex, the car park of which was so empty on recurring visits, as to sadly convey a foreboding sense of doom.
A neighbouring Australian business in this complex, Harvey Norman is apparently recording staggering losses in its 14 Irish stores. This does not surprise me as Harvey Norman seem devoid of empathy with their Irish customer base. The promote radio advertising, featuring the accent of a barrow-boy moron which is so utterly awful as to be gut wrenching so the Irish customers vote with their feet and go to the beach or make daisy chains! These dudes need to realise that when the Irish furniture what they purchase is a reflection of their identity and the aspirations of very few are found in the social demeanour of a barrow boy!