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Oddleg
17-04-2007, 16:58
With Games Workshop Enfield closing on the 21st April Ponders End Wargames Club has decided to offer a membership amnesty to all those looking for a new gaming venue.

In short, that’s a £10 2007 club membership for FREE!!

We have been PEWCing in Enfield, North London since 1997 and currently reside in the United Reform Church Hall, College Court, Ponders End, directly opposite Ponder's End Library, just off the High Road.

We meet every Tuesday evening from 7 until 11 and have a dozen 6” x 4” tables available for use with a wide range of scenery available and even a few Blood Bowl boards!
All GW systems are played with 40K and Fantasy being the most popular with potential opponents at the ready.

We also regularly play other systems including Hordes, Warmachine and a number of historical systems including Warhammer Ancient Battles and a several WWII rulesets.

For more information, including table fees and directions, feel free to visit the club website at pewc.co.uk (http://pewc.co.uk) and to sign up to the club forums.

Almost forgot, your first night’s gaming is also free of charge so drop us a line and we’ll line you up a willing victim!

Aaron
17-04-2007, 19:30
It's a shame that it's closing. Where will I get my paint from now? :(

The game is afoot
17-04-2007, 19:38
Are you serious?
Dan is the manager up there, he is an old buddy of mine from my time in GW as a staffer.
Thats a shame, sorry to hear that.
I fear it's just the beginning.

Crazy Harborc
18-04-2007, 03:19
It's one of the ways companies can keep the profits/dividends at levels that make the investors happy. Not just GW, their suits are just following a trend.

Angelwing
18-04-2007, 03:53
I worked there at its grand opening sale weekend. Pity its closing.

The game is afoot
18-04-2007, 06:39
It's one of the ways companies can keep the profits/dividends at levels that make the investors happy. Not just GW, their suits are just following a trend.

Correct.
LotR was a huge win for them while the sales were running like wildfire, but it attracted corporate shareholders who are seeking their pound of flesh on a regular basis and they have become a millstone around GW's neck.
Borrowing a fairly large chunk of money to pay dividends out has now left them with a debt to service as well.
Enfield will not be the only shop with it's head on the block.
Sutton, Slough, Hammersmith (the very 1st store), Uxbridge and even Richmond in London alone are all struggling to break even against overheads and have been for a long time.

AMBS
18-04-2007, 06:51
I think it should have closed that day Steve left. Or when Adrian left. Either way the specialness about that place had gone by then.

I used to go in there all the time when I was younger and I even turned up to the grand opening that Angelwing worked at!

When I was in there last summer simply to get a brush, some **** was really rude to me before starting a punch up with a courier outside who was dropping off some boxes.
Maybe that's why sales weren't doing so well?

The game is afoot
18-04-2007, 06:59
When I was in there last summer simply to get a brush, some **** was really rude to me before starting a punch up with a courier outside who was dropping off some boxes.
Maybe that's why sales weren't doing so well?

I daresay that attitude certainly wouldn't help matters but I think sales have been dropping for more reasons than an unhappy staff member.
Also, perhaps if the staffing levels were adequate staff might be less stressed and more likely to present a happy face.
More often than not it's the satellite stores in london that are short on staff.
G-dubya Hammersmith only has a manager 2 days a week at the moment and one full timer and one floating part timer between two stores.
Try as they might those guys cannot possibly offer their best customer service on such a bit part undermanned schedule.

Reflex
18-04-2007, 07:05
i wonder why its closing..

not enough people buying product... i wonder why.... cough prices cough...

Wadders
18-04-2007, 08:15
I daresay that attitude certainly wouldn't help matters but I think sales have been dropping for more reasons than an unhappy staff member.
Also, perhaps if the staffing levels were adequate staff might be less stressed and more likely to present a happy face.
More often than not it's the satellite stores in london that are short on staff.
G-dubya Hammersmith only has a manager 2 days a week at the moment and one full timer and one floating part timer between two stores.
Try as they might those guys cannot possibly offer their best customer service on such a bit part undermanned schedule.

Its always been like that, minimal staff - bleeding the staff dry and they will always have staff cos alot of people who wargame are attracted to the benefits and giving all their wages back each month in lead weight (if they still do that)

clovis
18-04-2007, 08:22
They are closing sores all the time, and opening new ones all the time( for more than 10 years). If an area is dry of new players then they will close the shop( no new players less sales). GW sales have declined since 2005( though they are bakck on track since last quarter 2006. There is more competion, veteran players have left(some of them to competion). But it's not only GW who has faced problems recently, in general the industry is suffering. Rackham sales have declined also in the last years. There are ups and down( that's life)

Alfie
18-04-2007, 09:29
Thats a bummer. I am slowly collecting an Imp Guard army and was planning on starting actually playing.

They always seemed pretty helpfull when i went in.

I might take up Oddlegs offer (if he doesnt mind) and go to the pewc.

Edit: Also might now spend more time (and money) on warmachine (and potentially Hordes).

Gareth
18-04-2007, 10:21
Wow, i live in North Chingford, and i never knew you guys were there!

I'll have to pop over for a game or 2 soon. You're just down the road.

Oddleg
18-04-2007, 10:26
As everyone has said it's a real shame that the shop is closing.

Despite what might have been some patchy bits recently a lot of good guys have put a lot of effort into that shop, and more importantly the gaming community over the years.

That seems like the real loss here.

The way i understand things is that the rent was increased substantially following the redevelopment of the local shoipping area. No surprise really.

With the shop AND the company not performing financially i don't suppose there was much choice for GW really.

However, giving the staff and customers a total of two weeks notice is excessively poor form. In an attempt to save face GW has done the local community a massive dis-service in my opinion.

Anyway, there's and old boys get together tonight and i will be in attendance myself.


I might take up Oddlegs offer (if he doesnt mind) and go to the pewc.

Please do Alfie, everybody's more than welcome.


I think it should have closed that day Steve left. Or when Adrian left. Either way the specialness about that place had gone by then.

That really is very kind of you. Adrian really was a great guy, i hope he's doing well wherever he is.

Steve.

Des
18-04-2007, 10:48
It's all a bit sad really.

It was bad form to give such paltry advance warning. The staff had been led to believe that the store would perhaps be moving location within the town, but no one had any idea they were going to be out on their ear. I'm led to believe they had just recorded their best results for a 2 year period, so one could understand their bemusement.

JT-Y
18-04-2007, 11:54
Its a shame to see it close.

However my personal feelings are that if many of the regulars from GW begin to attend PEWC it will be better for them.

A GW is a very insular enviroment in which to game, and sadly GW doesn't honour its comitment to promote local clubs, which exist for the benefit of hobbyists remember.

Good luck Steve.
And to all Enfield's regulars who didn't know about PEWC, get along and there and you'll really discover why our hobby is so great ;)

clovis
18-04-2007, 13:28
what is PEWC?

Horus84
18-04-2007, 13:31
However, giving the staff and customers a total of two weeks notice is excessively poor form. In an attempt to save face GW has done the local community a massive dis-service in my opinion.

Unfortant yes, but you have to consider GW estates department probally only found out about a raise in rent at a very late date; prior to having to close. Therefore giving them little time to find a suitable replacment location and let everyone know (inc staff).

JT-Y
18-04-2007, 13:43
what is PEWC?

Ponders End Wargames Club.

Read the first post Clovis :p ;)

Sai-Lauren
18-04-2007, 14:46
It's one of the ways companies can keep the profits/dividends at levels that make the investors happy. Not just GW, their suits are just following a trend.
Or - for a slightly less "GW are teh EVIL" viewpoint...


The way i understand things is that the rent was increased substantially following the redevelopment of the local shoipping area. No surprise really.

GW has decided it's not worth renewing the rental agreement - exactly as happened at Slough a couple of years back.

And for another of the stores TheGame... mentioned Hammersmith is nowhere near where GWs first store was, it's relocated twice since ;) .

If it were about cutting costs Windsor would never have opened with Maidenhead, Reading and Staines stores fairly close, one of Maidenhead or Reading would have been closed (likely Maidenhead, seeing as Reading has just moved locations in the last year or so), and Plaza/Oxford Street would be gone long ago.
Who knows, GW may open a new and better store somewhere else in Enfield, or somewhere close.

Admittedly, I'm not in intimate contact with the stores accounts, so I couldn't tell you which stores are doing well, and which are barely keeping their heads above water, but to be honest, I doubt many people outside of the head of GW retail and the area managers know that kind of information either. ;)

If the staff aren't being relocated (as Slough's were), then they certainly have my best wishes.


But it's not only GW who has faced problems recently, in general the industry is suffering.
The industry? Try the economy.
Inflation's gone above 3% (and considering the measure used doesn't include house prices, inflation is actually a lot higher than the 2 to 2.5 % Gordon Brown's specified it should be kept to), meaning interest rates are going to go up again - hitting people's mortgage payments and affecting the amount of money they have available to spend on luxuries and leisure.

Son of the Lion
18-04-2007, 15:57
The industry? Try the economy.
Inflation's gone above 3% (and considering the measure used doesn't include house prices, inflation is actually a lot higher than the 2 to 2.5 % Gordon Brown's specified it should be kept to), meaning interest rates are going to go up again - hitting people's mortgage payments and affecting the amount of money they have available to spend on luxuries and leisure.

Spot on. And with pay increases for most jobs lagging significantly behind even Mista Brown's (quite frankly insulting) estimate of inflation, it's not looking good. (Not sour grapes by the way, I'm rather overpaid at the moment.)

Sorry. On topic - The first time I set foot in a GW since being away (Adelaide last year sometime) was the Enfield one about two weeks ago - There was one rather harrassed and tired looking staff member and a bunch of excitable youngsters crowded round a table shouting at each other and being obnoxious. No one seemed to be buying anything and the place had even less atmosphere than your usual GW. Still, I hope they do move the staff on somewhere else - losing your job for something beyond your control is never fun.

The Ape
18-04-2007, 18:16
Unfortant yes, but you have to consider GW estates department probally only found out about a raise in rent at a very late date; prior to having to close. Therefore giving them little time to find a suitable replacment location and let everyone know (inc staff).

Or more likely, their estates team f*cked up. They would have known if the rent was going to rise as it would be in the terms of the lease...

Crazy Harborc
18-04-2007, 20:32
IMHO, it's more likely GW will let go the employees when closing stores. That way that way employees who have recieved or are do to receive pay raises don't. New/replacement employees will start at lower pay.;)

punkfish
18-04-2007, 23:06
I went in tonight and found out the bad news. I've been going to Vets night at Enfield for the last two years and I've met a great bunch of people there.

Tonights Vets night was really really good and the mood was really upbeat, despite the shock that most people were understandably feeling.

I never knew about the Ponders End Club and I will be attending it to see how things go. It's just down the road from me (I only live on the Hertford Rd) and if I can get a game and meet more people then crack on.

I'll be at Enfield on Sunday with the gang and hopefully we'll have a good day and then start a new era.

Anyone fancy taking on the Blood Angels 5th Company??

Vulvol
18-04-2007, 23:54
Or more likely, their estates team f*cked up. They would have known if the rent was going to rise as it would be in the terms of the lease...

But not by how much: only the fact that the rent may change is stipulated within lease documents.
The process behind changes to rental levels in the UK is complex and can be drawn out over a period of months or quite often years. The power rests firmly in the hands of the landlords. If, in a case like this, developments force the rental to a level at which a store will become permanently unprofitable no matter how good the staff are, the only sensible business decision is to get out at the lease end.

The game is afoot
19-04-2007, 06:28
The amount of rise would not necessarily be in the lease but there would be a roll over period in the lease where the leasee, in this case GW has the opportunity (a three month window each year) to take a small incremental rent increase and stay at the location.
Almost all GW rental shop leases in the UK are identical in format.
This is not an error by estates.
They used that excuse at GW Ealing as well.
GW has purposely let the window lapse.
This means they stay at the location until the lease period signed the previous year runs out and then a new lease is offered by the landlord, and it's usually going to be a 'lot higher' than the peppercorn increase of an old existing lease.
So GW move out and invariably do not return.

This is almost exactly the same scenario as when they closed GW Ealing two and a half years ago. They were in Ealing Broadway Mall, they let the window for renewal lapse and shut down a few months later. The manager was shifted and one other staff member, me. The rest left the company.
5 months before Ealing closed GW Uxbridge opened up.
There were some disgruntled parents after the sudden closure as their kids had to travel a lot further to get their games in.
The excuse given was that estates messed up and forgot to renew... yeah right.
Interesting to note, several months before Enfield closes, Covent Garden opens up.
Essentially they are closing down stores that are less busy in quieter areas, doing less numbers, and opening up new stores in busier locations.
Covent Garden is is a busy location in central London and the shop there is very small but the location is always busy with tourists and the rental is VERY high in that central area of London.
The store is rather tucked away though.
In regards to GW Uxbridge, it has been not been making a profit for over a year now. The mall rental is too high and they are struggling to have a vets night. It's a cool battle bunker but... the mall shuts early on the late night (8pm) and that is no good for vet gamers and the rent is too high for a store that cannot fire on all cylinders. There is no access to the store when the mall is shut.
So vets nights are dead and the attractive battle bunker upstairs is almost always empty.

GW are attempting to consolidate their retail profile in the UK.
This falls into line with two years of continuos profit loss.
This means stores which have been failing to meet the break even point are coming under heavy scrutiny and increased threat of closure.
GW UK have already cut staff to the bone so now they have to look at cutting away the rotting branches in the retail chain, and keeping those that are still earning.

JT-Y
19-04-2007, 06:59
GW are attempting to consolidate their retail profile in the UK.
This falls into line with two years of continuos profit loss.
This means stores which have been failing to meet the break even point are coming under heavy scrutiny and increased threat of closure.
GW UK have already cut staff to the bone so now they have to look at cutting away the rotting branches in the retail chain, and keeping those that are still earning.

I'm afraid to say, but having watched the company carefuly these last few years, what is described is exactly what I have predicted.

The company itself is still pretty strong, but it is retail that is weak and as retail is the main selling point that leads to some very real problems. Ergo it is the retail arm that needs to undergo the most changes.

I'd expect to see more such closeures in the future, and more high profile new stores opened to increase high street presence.
Cutting staff was never a good idea as it could leave the door open to some bad press which GW has always managed to avoid thankfully.

I hope that implementing changes for the good in future will become acceptable to them, and hope that they do invest in high street locations as that can only bring in more new custom.

Incidentaly, can anyone enlighten us on what is to become of the current staff in Enfield?

The game is afoot
19-04-2007, 08:06
I haven't heard what the manager Dan is doing as yet but unofficially I wouldn't be at all surprised if he was relocated to Hammersmith where he ended his capacity as a full timer to become a manager around a year ago.
One of the full timers may be going to Harrow but the other is likely to be made redundant without pay because he hasn't worked a full year. Shame because he could be used at Hammersmith.
Hammersmith is currently sans manager since Geoff left to finish his degree.
Enfield was Dan's first store in charge.


I hope that implementing changes for the good in future will become acceptable to them, and hope that they do invest in high street locations as that can only bring in more new custom.

They absolutely must have high profile shopping areas for new stores because the pre-Internet footprint of the UK GW retail chain is hooking up walk in custom through the Intro games, and signing them up to beginner programs.
Failure to achieve this is tantamount to the death of the retail branch.

JT-Y
19-04-2007, 10:29
Thats a good thing then. Simply making all staff redundant after a closeure would not be a good indicator.

I understand the importance of good locations. Too many of the current GW's are out of the main shopping areas so attract little passing trade.

I can name several in the UK where the town centre itself has migrated over time and leaves the stores in even worse locals than originaly, and most stores in the UK were in satalite locations to the main shopping centres to begin with, to reduce costs.

One in particular now resides in the all night take away district due to the council actively relocating the shopping centre over the past 18 years, towards the train station at the other end of the town, so that much of what once was the town shopping centre is now the nightlife area.

18 years, thats another point. The length of time some of them have stood and the universaly unkempt appearance means they attract even less interest. I can't think of many other retail chains that will leave a store in its original fittings for that length of time. I personally wouldn't enter a shop that was dirty and smelly (GW's notwithstanding for the simple reason that I'm already a hobbyist and know whats inside) just to see what was in it.

Very few modern shoppers will look around backstreets when they can get everything they want on the high street.

Yes, retail wants a big face lift and tummy tuck...


...to match its false tits!
LOL, sorry couldn't resist :p

OrlyggJafnakol
19-04-2007, 10:41
JT-Y has raised a point here that I had not thought about, even though it is strikingly obvious. Many GW stores look, well grim, the one in Colchester being (IMO) particularly dark and cramped.

I lived in Exeter for four years during my uni days during the late 90s. The GW store moved at least three times during that period, each time to a slightly larger store. I remember being impressed each time they moved.

I wonder if there are just too many GW stores now, especially here in the UK. The internet has changed the way we shop and independent clubs are (IMHO) superior to GW stores (I understand that this may not always be the case).

Do they really need all these shops? I would prefer fewer GW stores but make them larger, more like Warhammer world so they are worth the visit. Perhaps theme them around different parts of canon. I'd love to see an Imperial Palace type store.

PMTN
19-04-2007, 21:59
AH can't believe GW enfeild is closing down, i used to go there all the time, they had some great staff.... sometimes, it will be sad to see it go.

i think im going to have to check out this new club, ofcourse after my exams are over.

can anyone send me some details about it if they go. It would be appreciated. Actually scratch that i looked at the website, looks like a few of the old faces, are heads of the group looks good.

http://www.pewc.co.uk/ <- for anyone who wants it.

regards.
steve

The game is afoot
19-04-2007, 22:09
It's particularly unfortunate timing when you take into account that Enfield shopping area has been undergoing a major face lift and during that time the high street stores have suffered but it's over now and retail volume has lifted again.
Right when G-Dubya close the doors on Enfield.
Unfortunate timing.

Sai-Lauren
20-04-2007, 12:53
It's particularly unfortunate timing when you take into account that Enfield shopping area has been undergoing a major face lift and during that time the high street stores have suffered but it's over now and retail volume has lifted again.
Right when G-Dubya close the doors on Enfield.
Unfortunate timing.
Which makes Enfield more attractive to retail companies, meaning the landlords can charge higher rents.

I can see GW will have looked more at past results than future prospects when determining whether to pay the higher rents and keep the store there (so it is kind of bad timing), but it would still be interesting to see how many other companies with stores in the same area - both independant retailers and chain stores - are closing down or relocating as well.

EvC
20-04-2007, 19:18
GW have put this up about a "closing party" for the store:
http://uk.games-workshop.com/features/hobby-centre/hobby-centre.htm

I like the way they don't include the closest and most convenient gaming club (PEWC) in their recommendations, did you guys have a falling-out with GW or something?

Spacemunkie
20-04-2007, 20:53
They'll need to shut a good deal more shops if they want to keep their heads above water...

richred_uk
20-04-2007, 21:12
I kind of know this is a dumb question, but will they be doing what most closing down stores do and have a sale?

Spacemunkie
20-04-2007, 21:25
LOL!

Errr, I doubt it....

yabbadabba
20-04-2007, 21:28
I like the way they don't include the closest and most convenient gaming club (PEWC) in their recommendations, did you guys have a falling-out with GW or something?

If I remember right you have to be a GCN club to be promoted by GW. It has a lot to do with insurance and CRB check guarantees I think.
I don't know if PEWC are GCN, but if they are not then a GW store coudn't promote them.

Shame Enfield has to close. I knew a lot of good staff who have worked there over the years. Good luck to the staff and customers.

Oddleg
24-04-2007, 10:18
Originally Posted by EvC

I like the way they don't include the closest and most convenient gaming club (PEWC) in their recommendations, did you guys have a falling-out with GW or something?


If I remember right you have to be a GCN club to be promoted by GW. It has a lot to do with insurance and CRB check guarantees I think.
I don't know if PEWC are GCN, but if they are not then a GW store coudn't promote them.

Shame Enfield has to close. I knew a lot of good staff who have worked there over the years. Good luck to the staff and customers.

No falling out or anything but you do have to be a GCN club to be promoted by GW. No problem with that, it's a responsible move by GW to know what clubs they're promoting, especially to minors.

We aren't simply because we felt that the main fiscal cost, public liability insurance, wasn't worth the potentially limited recruitment potential. We're a weeknight club catering for young adults and upwards, ie 16+.
Even when i was the manager at Enfield the direct benifit to the club was relatively limited.

My former colleagues were more than happy with me handing out club flyers at the last vets to any adult gamers. In fact it was really nice for me to be there on the store's last vert night.

The game is afoot
25-04-2007, 07:24
Which makes Enfield more attractive to retail companies, meaning the landlords can charge higher rents.

GW had a long term roll over lease at Enfield, it's standard in their long term rental stores in the UK. They get a window each year of two months to renew the existing lease at a peppercorn increase.
If they do renew the rent cannot increase above a small margin.
They chose not to do so.
When the window lapses without a renewal, BAM, the runs it's course to the end of it's 12 month period then the lease expires and a new lease can come in with a big fat new rent level.

The last time this occurreed was in the Ea;ling store and GW tried to smokescreen it with rumours about errors in the 'Estates' Dept. but it was just a smoke screen. An error that gross in magnitude would mean heads on the block but there were none and there are none again this time.
GW are downsizing slowly and quietly so they don't alert the shareholders and create a panic selling situation. Smart.


They'll need to shut a good deal more shops if they want to keep their heads above water...

Thats the truth. Several of the greater London stores are not making the breadline let alone a profit.

LoerdofallJoy
25-04-2007, 07:56
I used to live round the corner from the Enfield store. I was there for 2 years until about a year/ 18 months ago now.

To be frank, the shop was absolutely terribly run. The staff simply didn't act in the friendly, helpful manner which I expect from GW staffers these days. Many times I would walk in look round the shop, stand at the counter waiting to be served until one of them looked up from the modelling they were working on and ambled over.

They weren't all as bad as that, but I certainly wasn't the only customer in the shop at the time, and most of the time they still paid no attention to anyone.

Contrast this to the previous store I frequented, Harrow, others I used at the time, Colchester, Chelmsford and Chelmsford, and the one I frequent now - Derby. All the staff at these stores are/were helpful and pleasant, actually greeted customers and were interested and knowledgeable about all the gaming systems.

Some friends who worked/ used to work for GW at the time were, to a man, appauled by what they saw in there.

In short, I expect that the lease problem may have been a blessing in disguise!

Sorry if that bums anyone out, but it's the truth I saw.

LoaJ

Rich 123
25-04-2007, 09:38
I have to agree with LordOfAllJoy. I used to live in the area for a couple of years (about a minute walk from the shop for one year) and when I went in it had a pretty lacklustre feel. Doesn't help that I collect marines so, when the staff did pay attention to a customer in the shop, most instantly tarred me with the noob brush, rather than just finding out a bit about what it is in the hobby I enjoy and find that I am not and am an accomplished converter. Odd seeing as they are closing this one, I think the only other nearer one is in Brent Cross and is a pokey little store in a mall.

However, if I'd known there was a Wargames club in Ponders End though that would have probably gotten me out of my shell and into playing some games. I had no idea so many people here lived around the area.

Oh well, I've moved further away since anyway. Good luck with catching people on the rebound though PEWC!
Dicky

KITS AND BITS
25-04-2007, 15:24
its just a shop guys , they have hundreds of them all over the world , besides buying the stuff online and talking to like minded gamres in here (warseer) has to be better than the sales driven chat you get in GW stores , for those of you who only game in the shops , seriously get into someones dining room/cellar/garage/bedroom asap and start your own club , thats what the hobby is about !