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Business Comment

David Prosser: Retail is more resilient than we think

Outlook Already, a clear pattern of Christmas on the high street is beginning to emerge. The strongest retailers, it seems, managed to cope with the horrible weather and consumers' fears of austerity, but their weaker rivals have been hit hard.

Here's the good news, however. Having been through three years of difficult times, the retail sector is in relatively good shape. All but a handful of the larger shop chains have battened down the hatches, reducing debt, shedding jobs, identifying supply chain initiatives and concentrating hard on margins. Moreover, the weakest names, the likes of Woolworths, have gone already, unable to survive the bleak days of 2008 and 2009.

This year will be tough. But don't be too distracted by the profits warnings, share price slumps and slashed sales forecasts. Most retailers are strong enough to get through this period.