An article on the BBC News website by Shelia Cook earlier this month revealed that many antique shops are struggling financially because of increased online competition and rising high street rents.
Dealers faced with higher costs, including Olivia Gerrish, who is the owner of the Antique Jewellery Company, have closed their shops and trade solely online. This can work for small items like jewellery which can easily be returned if unsuitable, but most people want to inspect large items such as furniture before buying.
Some auction houses have online sales. Bidders can view items at the auction house or have a good knowledge of what they are buying.
Dealers have responded to high street rent increases by moving from shop front ground locations to first floor locations that cost less to rent. Dealers have increased sales by specialising in a period or look. This is sometimes achieved by mixing antique and more modern pieces together that complement each other.
Many dealers have increased trade by investing in quality websites that display their stock and encourage people to visit their shops.
Online antique retailing and rising rents are a challenge for antique dealers, but by adapting their business model, they are able to maintain a profitable business. Most antique furniture buyers do not want to shop online, preferring to inspect antiques before purchasing. People in Lancashire buying antique settees, antique sofas, late Victorian furniture and more, can inspect items and be helped and advised by knowledgeable staff.
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