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My cash flow has dried up and we are at a standstill. How do I continue in this retail enviroment?

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We have been retailers for 13 years and have grown from nothing to a $9 million-dollar business selling footwear and apparel. Our costs for rent and miscellaneous in our stores have risen from 18 percent to 30 percent sales to rent ratio. We have about $1.1 million in inventory and about $1.6 million in debt. We have no secured debt on our business and are struggling to survive. What are our options to continue?
If you can, buy a building, which is the preferred way to stay in retail long term. If that's not possible, reduce the inventory of your slowest-moving items by 25 percent. Also, look to cut back expenses where you can, but focus on top-line growth to boost your bottom line.

Do you have a database of customers? Can you create one and then start marketing to it? Can you go online and have people sign up for newsletter updates or create an e-commerce site so customers can purchase items from your current inventory?

Can you go back to your current suppliers and renegotiate terms? Anything that will help cash flow while you work on increasing sales will help you stay in business, as will finding a new location, buying a building or even going back to your current landlord to renegotiate your lease.

All the best.
Brad Sugars

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