Category Archives: market comment

Market Comment March 2020

Court Guinness resurrects an old column he used to write in which he takes an opinionated and sometimes irreverent view of what he sees in the market place.

In this issue he looks back at the start of 2020 and looks forward too.

We are now out of the EU. The big issues and potential disruption is to follow. I still think this is the most helm-less project I have ever seen and I have seen so many badly run projects in my time.

The last edition of Market Comment was written 2 days before a general election, well this edition did not want to be outdone so comes to you written from a cubicle in  the Accident and Emergency department at Warwick Hospital in the UK! I wonder what will be managed for next edition, the back of a nuclear tank or hopefully somewhere more relaxing like the beach or more likely my desk, we can hope!

We have seen some softening of property and business values this year and I think this may continue. Market Comment is always one of the last things to be written in this magazine. I always try and make sure it is as up to date as possible and that I can try and predict things going forward.

Continued on next page

The smaller end of the deals market is strengthening and I am seeing a growing number of possible sales for the following 12 months in the sub £100k bracket.

The other thing that has amazed me is the number of the more unusual and exotic deals that are doing the rounds. I was a bit too late or a £14 million pharma company but both an oil rig and a car ferry have crossed my desk and there was a possibility of a requirement or professional footballers to be advertised on these pages!

It has come to the point in retail where I am now so appalled at the state of the sector and its knock on effects that it has almost become comedic. Physical retail needs change and I do not see many people interested in effecting this change and keeping the high street as a vibrant, busy place.

Now on to the death of the independent contractor from the 1st of April owing to the stringent reintroduction of IR35. Clients are dumping contractors unless they go on payroll or to umbrella companies and contractors are hanging up their boots and saying “I quit!” The Trade House is receiving about 100 enquiries a month from independent contractors leaving the sector. Government’s interference in enterprise is to blame. They are interfering in much the same way with private residential landlords but that is a another story for another day. The removal of Sajid Javid as chancellor means things will probably get even worse for every business in the country.

Let us now move on to the concept of the side hustle. This is now a serious thing, so much so that I have decided that side hustlers should have their own dedicated section in this magazine.  This will grow in future issues. On a serious the concept of the side hustle is one to be commended and one that is showcasing the creativity and ability of side hustle owners and operators and this is to be commended. I often bang the drum on small business marketing and how poor some of it is but I do have to credit some of the side hustles I have seen for the effort they have put I to marketing. I do honestly believe that this sector will start to change the rest of the small business sector in terms of marketing.

Lastly on a housekeeping note I shall be running some “meet the readers events” in 2020 and I would be delighted to see as many of you as possible at these events.

You will also note that I brought forward the publishing o this issue from March to February 2020. We will publish every other month now until the end of the year. I am recruiting for staff to help me return to a monthly schedule.

Please note that I am delighted to  hear readers views about this column or any other aspect of this magazine.

I look forward to speaking with you all again on a regular basis between now and the end of the year.

Happy dealmaking !

Regards

Court

Market Comment December 2019

Court Guinness resurrects an old column he used to write in which he takes an opinionated and sometimes irreverent view of what he sees in the market place.

Continued on next page

In this issue he looks back 2019 as a whole and looks forward to 2020.

So lets looks back on 2019. Retail, Property prices lowering, politics and the lovely Brexit. Add in to that mix other matters close to many our readers hearts and it has been a bit of a turbulent year.

We have seen some softening of property and business values this year and I think this may continue. Market Comment is always one of the last things to be written in this magazine. I always try and make sure it is as up to date as possible and that I can try and predict things going forward. As I write we are two days from a general election in the UK. This makes 2020 very, very hard to predict indeed. I think that rent values will soften especially in retail—there is too much vacant stock. The Trade House does not take political sides even if I would like it to. I will however stick my neck out and suggest an 8% drop in value across the board using  this editions adverts in this magazine as my baseline, regardless of sector or deal type.

When the retail rot ever stop? We are getting to the stage of at least one major retailer a month causing attention grabbing headlines. This is becoming an international issue that impacts on so many. All parties need to come together now to ensure that retail led public realm does not get lost forever

Let us now move on to the concept of the side hustle. This is now a serious thing, so much so that I have decided that side hustlers should have their own dedicated section in this magazine.  This will grow in future issues. On a serious the concept of the side hustle is one to be commended and one that is showcasing the creativity and ability of side hustle owners and operators and this is to be commended. I often bang the drum on small business marketing and how poor some of it is but I do have to credit some of the side hustles I have seen for the effort they have put I to marketing. I do honestly believe that this sector will start to change the rest of the small business sector in terms of marketing.

Lastly on a housekeeping note I shall be running some “meet the readers events” in 2020 and I would be delighted to see as many of you as possible at these events.

Please note that I am delighted to  hear readers views about this column or any other aspect of this magazine.

I look forward to speaking with you all again on a regular basis in 2019

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2020.

Happy dealmaking !

Regards

Court

Market Comment November 2018

Court Guinness resurrects an old column he used to write in which he takes an opinionated and sometimes irreverent view of what he sees in the market place.

In this issue he looks back on the month of October 2018.

I can say with some certainty that October 2018 has been one of business Octobers in business. Not only were there lots of opportunities to speak with readers of this magazine and advertisers old and new, there were also a number of things to get excited about. In addition there was for me a home and office move from Surrey to Warwickshire.

The first thing to talk about this month is retail. Physical retail is going so badly wrong on so many levels. I blame some  landlords for intransigent and not helping their tenants by sticking to the letter of the contract, some flexibility will go along a way. I blame some landlords for being too quick to go for a residential conversation. At the end of the day if a high street goes so does a community. Now that is a shame. I have written elsewhere about making retail an experience. I think retail  as a business wants to do this however I do not believe they have buy in from the property people or the finance people! If retail can change for the better then it is better for everyone.

While we talk about getting people through doors, pub landlords must stand up and take some stick from me this month. News has been reaching me of some hideous and in some cases unjustifiable rent increases recently. Again is a part of a community as much as a retail unit. Pubs have had a tough time in recent years we can see this by the number of closures of pubs. Give your tenants a break! It will be worth it in the long run! The odd percentage point here or there, yes but 20% +? Computer says no!

I now move on to freelancers and independent contractors who are foaming at the mouth after the budget announcement that the tax system of off payroll working (IR35) will not be extended to the private sector just yet.

For many years IT contracting was my trade. That aside this industry has had since 1999 to clean up its act, to change its modus operandi and to move with the times. Writing this one day after the Autumn 2018 budget I have already seen so many contractors bleating on email and social media about this. The problem is that the industry does not want to change. This is a bad thing for projects up and down the country and some need to shape up or ship out!

Aside of this negativity this October has been a lovely month aside of the negativity above. Its lovely to see the property development guys being so active in the run up to the festive season, deals regularly being struck and plans made revitalise properties previously unusable. I note a great deal valour going into these projects too with some developers clearly unafraid to push the boundaries—in a good way!  I hope we see more this sense of adventure in years to come. It is actually a good thing for business as a whole and an excellent thing for the sector itself.

Ins pite of daylight hours drawing in November does look like it will be an excellent month for dealmaking with many people looking to get a large number of deal before  the Christmas party and festive season starts with aplomb.

I look forward to speaking with you all again next month!

Happy dealmaking !

Warmest regards

Court

You can read Market Comment in The Trade House Magazine November 2018 edition.

An interactive version is below.


Current Trends Week Ending 15/04/2018

One thing I love about running The Weekly Deals Free Sheet is the wide variety of new people I get to connect with, speak with and spend time with every week. We invariably chat about their business requirements be it expansion, disposal, mergers, acquisitions or new pastures entirely. One thing this week however has been the large number of enquiries from businesses requiring new capital, new financing, angel or VC finance or in some of the worst cases a more expedient than is usual disposal. The trend amongst disposals is for these businesses is to be sold at a fraction of their market value. At the time of writing I have had 33 such enquiries in the past week alone.

This sort of event leads my enquiring mind into looking for the root cause of such an event.

Could it be that we really are back in a recession? Could the lovely Brexit be having more of an effect than we first thought on the small business? Could it be underlying market change? Could it also be a stubborn sense of “I know how to run my business better than anyone else” that is a common theme amongst many small business owners?

Certainly this is most difficult one to analyse. However if I look at the first three of my suggestions above they have strong possibilities. I would have to say that issues surrounding Brexit causing recession like symptoms if not a full blown recession would sit favourite with my previous experiences around the time of recession. Underlying market change, well things change and people change, the way we do things, the way we work and the way e behave changes constantly on a global scale.

This leads me on to my final suggestion. The stubborn sense of “I know how to run my business better than anyone else” that is a common theme amongst many small business owners. If we combine this with underlying market change and maybe even as much as strong hints of Brexit and recession then, yes, this is the strongest possibility to my mind. You see many small business owners are reluctant to make changes to the way they do things on the basis of “I have always done it this way”. Even if that way does not keep pace with the market or changing customer needs, wants and demands. This can have onward effects to a business, a loss of customers, a loss of a share of a market, a failure to capitalise on business opportunities which in turn could increase turnover or decrease operational expenditure.

33 requirements for new finance or an emergency disposal in one week is very heavy going. So my bets are going on a strong combination of all four of my headline reasons for this sudden upsurge. One thing for sure is that if this trend that has started continues, it offers some lovely opportunities for small business “buy to build” opportunities as well as opportunities for finance providers to increase both ROI and fee income. For those of a “predatory” nature this is only a blip at the moment but it could offer some excellent opportunities. If this trend continues this could have further repercussions on the general market. This is a subject I will cover in more detail on these pages should the need and want arise.

One thing is for sure I am very interested and taking a keen interest in how this current situation plays out.