The demise of Retrowarez.com Limited and associated eBay ID DrSteveW
There has been a lot of criticism over the eBay ID DrsteveW, and a lot of accusations, speculations and wild rumours have been circulated. Regrettably though the company Retrowarez (who were behind DrSteveW and a number of eBay Ids), through a series of circumstances beyond the company’s control is, at the time of writing, in the process of being liquidated.
Retrowarez hasn’t had an easy time of it in recent months. The DVD and video games industry has been afflicted with a number of dilemmas, many of which were difficult to recover from. There’s a bit of history behind this, so bear with me.
This all starts with Woolworths. Back in the VHS era Woolworths was a major player in home entertainment retail and as a result of their increased turnover, volume of sales and the like Woolworths ran their own wholesale operation supplying home entertainment products to other retailers. This company was called Entertainment UK, or EUK as it was commonly referred to by most DVD companies.
It’s worth noting at this point that EUK was owned by Woolworths (Not by the Woolworths group, Woolworths parent company), which is why EUK went under as it was a Woolworth’s “asset”. Tesco was supplied with DVDs by EUK. Tesco decided the “price wasn’t right” and moved to a company called Handleman UK (who are owned by the Walmart Group and not surprisingly supplied DVDs to ASDA). EUK lost 40% of their business overnight.
How did EUK deal with this? Simple, they bought two other companies. One called Total Home Entertainment (THE) and Bertrams (book wholesaler). THE had the account for Sainsburys. EUK then laid off over 700 staff at THE and eventually sold off THE’s Newcastle Under Lyme premises.
This action was the first domino in a long line of dominos waiting to topple over. The only major wholesaler left (apart from EUK of course, and they wouldn’t deal with with just “anybody”) was S Golds in London. With this reducing of the wholesale market and supply chain there were now too few suppliers offering the same old tired product over and over.
Zavvi also went under (as anyone who has read this so far probably knows) owing a lot of money to a lot of companies, but very noticeably to our main and favourite supplier Pinnacle Vision in Sidcup. We soldiered on as best we could and tried to deal with the backlog that was forming behind us.
I myself injected many thousands of pounds into Retrowarez so we could purchase stock from non traditional sources at higher prices but the final straw came with the demise of the fulfilment company we used to despatch the bulk of our stock.
With our fulfilment company out of the loop we have thousands of items of stock literally “stuck” in their warehouse and the administrators aren’t “letting it go” anytime soon. So basically we found Retrowarez up the proverbial creek without the proverbial paddle.
Essentially we lost over 20 out of the 26 suppliers (DVDs, Games, books etc) that we regularly used in under a year through no fault of our own. The DVD industry is not a great industry to be in right now. So we got to the “enough is enough” stage and the company had little cashflow left and as the company’s single biggest creditor (via the director’s loan account etc) I simply couldn’t put myself on the line as well as the company. I have to live as well, and pay the mortgage etc, like everyone else.
So it was time to call it a day, and we opted for liquidation. I realise there’s some disappointed buyers out there and not everybody has their DVD and/or a refund. HOWEVER, their issue is with Retrowarez as a company and not with me personally and some have understood this quite clearly. As one buyer who called me stated “there’s always a risk when you deal with a limited company, they are LIMITED for a reason”.
To those of you still want to criticise me/Retrowarez/etc I say this to you “it could be you next year, then the boot will be on the other foot and you will understand”. If there was no facility for limited liability companies in law then there would be a lot less companies, nobody would want to start a company without some “protection”.
To those of you who have contacted me and asked of my well being (I have had some very serious health concerns in recent years) I thank you, and I thank you for your concern. We are all well, Karen, David and Rose have all found new positions, and I myself am job hunting .
There are also other reasons for our demise, which are eBay related, but I will discuss eBay in a separate article as this is getting a bit long winded now.