There are fears that high street shops could be about to fall like a pack of cards. Wolworths, MFI, The Pier, Click and countless small independents have collapsed. How many others are close to the brink?
Sales fell in all merchandise sectors apart from food and drink in November so the picture is not looking too good.
According to the British Consortium sales in clothing and footwear, furniture and big ticket home wares fell below last year in spite of (or maybe partly because of) heavy discounting. For the three months to November sales were down 2.1% overall.
Retailers have got themselves into a bad habit of discounting before Christmas. This is the one time when people are happy to pay full price, even in these difficult time, as they are buying gifts in general and don't want to look like a cheapskate. But it only takes one retailer to cut prices and that starts a chain reaction.
January will be even tougher as shoppers will be looking for a discount on the discounted prices. They might as well just give the stuff away.
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British Retail Consortium