James Moore: Sunshine that hides clouds over retailing
Outlook: Consumers are still shying away from big-ticket purchases
Tuesday 14 July 2009
So it seems that the hot weather has offered planet retail a breath of fresh air. Yesterday's figures from the British Retail Consortium reflected the sunny weather that Britons basked in last month, with almost every sector reporting increasing sales.
Almost, that is. It is interesting to note that consumers are still shying away from big-ticket purchases. Lots of food and booze for the barby is being sold but no one is thinking much about new cookers, or new sofas, washing machines, or major household items that involve substantial financial commitments .
Before anyone starts talking about those fabled green shoots, it is worth talking to the people who are called in to sort out the mess when retailers go wrong. Their telephones are still ringing off the hook. In fact, enquiries about the services of restructuring specialists have been increasing over the past couple of months. It is true that no one is talking about a return to the carnage of December and January, when there was a sale on the shares of virtually retailer on the stock market, and it seemed that a famous-name chain was going to the wall every other week.
However, there is still pain to come. The brutal truth is that too many retailers have too many underperforming shops in too many bad locations. Unemployment is rising rapidly and confidence remains desperately shaky.
The sunny weather might be persuading people to splash out a bit, if only to provide some relief from the all-pervasive ecnomic gloom, but they are being cautious. Add to that the effect of the weak pound on imports, and impending VAT rises in January, and it looks the like the new year will be anything but happy on the high street.
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 5 UK weather: 'Coldest night of the year' tonight as freezing temperatures plummet to -10C
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
iJobs Money & Business
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...