the Business Forum and
the Economic Partnership
in Brighton & Hove
Homepage    BCRP Intranet    Funding    Events    Knowledgebase    Links    About us     Contact us
Key projects



Workforce development 


Business &

Property &
Development sites




Consultation opportunities

Brighton & Hove Business Forum
8-11 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, BN1 1EE
Tel: 01273 735442
Email: info@brighton

© Brighton & Hove
Business Forum

News - 10 November 2004
A cold Christmas in store

Retailers need to batten down the hatches

Consumer confidence is ebbing away in an uncertain world. Retailers generally need to prepare for a tough Christmas and a tough New Year.

Higher interest rates, the turnaround in the housing market, higher petrol costs and talk of increased taxes to cover the government’s projected spending deficit have combined to sap the confidence of the consumer on a dramatic scale.

BRC/KPMG retail sales monitor figures show that last month was the worst of the year for retailers despite the fact that traditionally October half term signals the start of Christmas. At the same time Experian’s consumer confidence index shows a decline almost across the entire country with only the Midlands showing any signs of optimism. Depressingly for Brighton – consumer confidence is at its lowest in the south-east.

Looking to 2005 disposable household income after essential household expenditure is set to decline for the first time in six years. Utilities including gas, electricity and water bills are all expected to increase significantly. This results in a figure of 28p being available for discretionary spending for every extra £1 earned. This compares unfavourably with 38p last year and 50p in 2002.

Big ticket items like cars, furniture and white goods are likely to suffer the most but all areas of discretionary retail and leisure are likely to suffer a downturn.

The retail consultancy Verdict is the lone voice offering any glimmer of hope for the Christmas trading season with a forecast of nearly 4% growth on 2003. On balance it seems highly unlikely that Christmas in Brighton will buck the overall trend for 2004, which has been a difficult year for retail generally and especially for the independent sector. In addition the price war between Asda and Tesco is likely to increase the market share of the big two supermarket chains. Traders that do not have the cushion of large cash reserves and/or a sympathetic bank manager need to batten down the hatches and concentrate on keeping overheads to a minimum. Any tenants that have a rent review in the next six months need to be aware that there will be no evidence to support a nil increase (“upward only” rent review clauses preclude a decrease in the vast majority of leases) and it is essential that they get professional representation. Uniform Business Rates will rise in April 2005 by 12.5% and all business associations should be thinking about exploring mass appeals against the increases using local property consultants who know the city.

Read related items on:
National economy
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
British Retail Consortium

Browse our business Knowledgebase or search by keyword


16 May 2018
Can you help us help rough sleepers? Search for a venue to provide shelter
15 May 2018
New Research Reveals Cost of Opening A Business in Brighton: £6,000 11 May 2018
Tech firm SaleCycle to open new office in Brighton, creating 30+ new jobs 4 May 2018
Get involved - National Numeracy Day This 16 May 1 May 2018
Barclays' High Growth & Entrepreneurs Awards 2018 launch to celebrate start-up leaders in the UK 30 April 2018
Barclays launches major drive to help SMEs tackle Cymbercrime 24 April 2018
An evening with Chris Fox, Lib Dem Peer 24 April 2018
"A triumph of innovation" 13 April 2018
Brighton city Centre Vacancy Rates continue to buck national trend 12 April 2018
The Ivy in the Lanes Set to open 2 May 2018 11 April 2018
Free Dr Bike Service Returns 20 March 2018
Brighton named most entrepreneurial city AND second best for student happiness according to Fresh Student Living 19 March 2018
A Meeting with Chris Fox, Lib Dem Peer - Why Business Matters 14 March 2018
Better Business for All Event with BEIS 7 March 2018
Brighton celebrates women in tech as Spring Forward festival returns for a fourth year 6 March 2018
Six months of success for BTN BikeShare 2 March 2018
Sustainability in Action masterclasses for Sussex businesses 2 March 2018
Doing Business in China comes to Brighton 1 March 2018
Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce presents: Protecting your brand- a guide for fast growth businesses 1 March 2018
Long haul passengers boost local economy and jobs, according to new Gatwick report on the 'Visitor Economy' 28 February 2018
Save time reporting crime 27 February 2018
Warren Morgan Resigns from Brighton & Hove City Council 23 February 2018
Brighton Technology Company, Paxton Ranks in Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For 23 February 2018
Greater Brighton's Commercial Property Database 22 February 2018
SE-ASSIST - Launch of Loan Capital in Greater Brighton 19 February 2018
House Price update Q4 2017 19 February 2018
What would you do in a crisis? 19 February 2018
The investment journey for high growth entrepreneurs 9 February 2018
Make Change Count 2018 - helping rough sleepers in Brighton & Hove 8 February 2018
Brighton Technology Company Paxton Announces Recipients of New Scholarship Programmein Association with the University of Brighton 8 February 2018
Cyber London Accelerator Invites Summer 2018 Entries 8 February 2018
Innovate UK Launches Strand 2 Emerging and Enabling Technologies Sector Competition 8 February 2018
Success In Sussex As Food And Drink Heroes Crowned Winners 8 February 2018
UK Games Fund - Fourth Round Open to Applications 8 February 2018
Innovate UK & Prince's Trust Launch Young Innovators' Programme 6 February 2018
Brighton & Hove Food Partnership launches 'Kit Out The Kitchen' crowdfunding campaign 2 February 2018
Brighton & Hove Council and Crest Nicholson win £15m government funding to kickstart King Alfred project 1 February 2018
Could a Utilise Plus Programme grant help you? 1 February 2018
Shoreham Port Facilitates Huge Operation