Thursday, 26 February 2009

competition time

There are 35 hairdressers in St Jean de Luz, 11 chocolate shops, 15 bakeries and 19 linen shops. That equates to a hairdresser for every 371 people, a chocolate shop for every 1,182, a bakery for 867 and linen shop for 684. Needless to say it should be a rather competitive little town, but it isn't. Rather than fight for customer footfall, businesses exist side by side differentiated exclusively by their owners and staff.

What is more interesting is the volume of estate agents that compete for business. There are some 72 agents who claim they cover the town. That equates to one agent per 181 inhabitants, or one agent per 45 households (assuming an average four occupants per household). Now I am not one who would ever sympathise with realtors but that is one tough real estate market.

Forty years ago there was only one agency, Agence Luzienne. It is still run by the Rodriguez family who given their pedigree need not worry about the melee of new entrants. They stand proudly alongside the other established traditional enterprises of St Jean de Luz who compete on personal reference rather than syrup and are infinitely more likely to outlast 'le crise'.

Basque of the day:- competition :: lehiatze