Friday, 1 May 2009

Music in May

I have added more titles to the website this week, in cornet, trumpet, flute and french horn.

On the negative side, I have had to increase prices of some strings for violin, viola, cello and double bass. This is the third time this year that I have had to adjust these prices - it's all down to the drop in the value of sterling, as strings are imported in either euros or dollars. This time the price increase is in the region of 10%.

The fall of our currency over the last year has added significant costs to all retailers. It's not just the price of the stock, but also the delivery charge. A proportion of my stock comes from Germany - prices for music are set at a particular point in time, but as they are charged in euros, they now cost more in sterling than they did a year ago. I can't sell them for more, though - well I suppose I could, but wouldn't have many customers buying them, would I? Most retailers stick to the RRP for books, so we can't pass on the true cost, instead we take a hit.

As for delivery charges, as you might expect delivery from Germany is not cheap. In December 2007 it was under £8, now it's over £11. Again, a cost which cannot be passed on.

Added to that some items have become more expensive for other reasons too - clarinet and sax reeds have gone up by 50% in the last year - some of that is due to supply reasons rather than just the economy. I don't deal in instruments, but those retailers who do have got the same problem there - huge inflation in prices.

All in all it's a difficult time for retailers - if your local music shop ceased trading recently, this is one of the reasons why.

Yesterday we had the news that Kemble pianos would cease production in the UK later this year - a sad day for a long standing business. Unfortunately most instruments now are made in the far east, and that looks likely to continue for some time to come - it is quite simply more economic for companies not to produce or be based in this country.

Having said all that, let's be more upbeat - music is a great hobby and relatively cheap compared with other entertainment. More and more people are playing instruments and making music together, long may it continue!

I will be closed for the bank holiday (thought you can order online 24/7 as usual) - have a great weekend and enjoy the good weather!

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