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 - 2 January 2011

Retail crisis

Don’t be fooled by the post Christmas sales: the December trading period was a disaster for most retailers and 2011 will be one of the toughest years on record for the high street.

John Lewis is one of a handful of retailers that had a reasonable Christmas but most expect trade to be between 5% and 10% down on 2009 and many will probably wish that it was only 10% down. 

The coming year will probably see an enormous shakeout for both multiples and independents as the combined effect of a rise in VAT, an increasing number of unemployed, inflation adding to everyday living expenses and stagnant disposable incomes take their toll.

In addition, a widely predicted fall in house prices may well be the straw that broke the camel’s back for households already under pressure. None of this is likely to encourage consumers to go shopping.

Some retailers went into the Christmas period already weakened from poor trading in 2010. Game, JJB and Clinton Cards are all going to be under pressure next year and it seems unlikely that two HMV stores will survive in Brighton city centre [Western Road and Churchill Square] when a lot of the market for DVDs, CDs and books has gone online. Last month the group that owns HMV and Waterstones reported a pre-tax loss of over £43m after a 6% decline in sales.

Similarly JJB Sports only staved off going into administration by raising an emergency £31.5m from shareholders on Christmas Eve and 2011 will be the most perilous year in its history [see earlier stories]. A slew of high street names announce their results in January including Next [5th], Clinton Cards [6th], Debenhams [10th], Marks & Spencer [11th], Dixons, Game, Halfords, Mothercare and Tesco [13th] and WH Smith [26th] and they will be scrutinised closely by analysts.

The smaller independents, the mainstay of Brighton’s retail offer, will be similarly weakened by the loss of business due to bad weather after a generally weak 12 months of trade. For many it will be a case of devising a business plan that simply keeps them alive during 2011 until a pick up improves their fortunes. Being located in Brighton, which continues to attract visitors, is probably their biggest asset but they will be relying heavily on good visitor numbers during the summer.

It is vital that, in the meantime, they revisit cash flow forecasts to examine every overhead in detail and negotiate as much breathing space as they can with every creditor including landlords, HMRC, and suppliers.

On February 1st the Business Forum, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, is running a training session on how to survive a rent review which will also include details of how to negotiate rent reductions with landlords. For details visit the Chamber’s website. The session is free but booking is essential.

Read related items on:
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants

Browse our business Knowledgebase or search by keyword


23 May 2018
Gingerman Restaurant Group to Open Restaurant at Hanningtons Estate Brighton
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?